Sask. argues carbon tax fight is 'fundamentally' about the nature of federalism

Jan Cross
August 4, 2018

The federal carbon pricing system for heavy emitters, softened last week to ease the impact on Canadian industry, could be amended even further this fall as Ottawa looks to address competitiveness fears in corporate Canada fuelled by USA tax cuts, tariffs and environmental policy roll backs.

According to Premier Moe, the government has launched their appeal in opposition of the carbon tax.

"This climb-down by the federal government is a signal that we have been right all along", Ontario Environment Minister Rod Phillips said during Question Period on Wednesday.

The federal government has pledged to "backstop" any province that does not have a carbon price by imposing one of its own, something the Ford government has vowed to challenge in court.

The province announced in April it would take its carbon tax fight to the province's highest court as a reference case, meaning the court will render an advisory opinion on whether or not Ottawa's plan is constitutional. While Mr. Ford has said he is committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions, the Premier and his environment minister have ruled out any use of taxes to do so.

"The federal carbon tax will have its day in court". She said any plan has to be done looking at the environment and the economy together.

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"They should just cancel the carbon tax", said Poilievre.

"Our two provinces are united in the belief that a federal carbon tax is an ineffective policy that will not significantly reduce emissions and will instead make life unaffordable for families, and that it is unconstitutional for the federal government to impose a carbon tax on certain provinces based on their evaluation of provincial climate change policies", the statement read.

He reiterated that Ottawa's carbon tax policy is flawed and won't work in Canada if it hasn't worked around the world. He says taxing 10 or 20 per cent of carbon emissions will likely lower emissions at the same rate while lowering the costs for businesses.

The draft regulations finalizing the industrial component of Canada's carbon pricing scheme are also expected this fall, with the final regulations not expected until the summer of 2019. "Right now, it's too early", said Mathieu Bouchard, president of the Canadian Lime Institute, which represents another sector that may receive special treatment under the shifting plans.

The oil and gas business was not included on the special treatment list.

"This is a sensible decision for both the environment and the economy", said Elgie.

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