The premiers opposing the federal carbon tax remain united and hopeful, despite a disappointing ruling last week.
Ontario’s Court of Appeals ruled 4-1 in favour of the federal government on whether or not Ottawa has the right to force a carbon tax on Ontarians.
Chief Justice George R. Strathy said that because climate change is a national threat, reducing carbon emissions are in the national interest, therefore it was within Ottawa’s power to force Ontarians to pay up.
Ontario is the second province to lose its case on the carbon tax.
Saskatchewan’s Court of Appeal narrowly sided with Ottawa in May on the question of federal jurisdiction on the carbon tax. The 3-2 split decision disappointed many across Canada who hoped to end the burdensome tax there and then.
“We commend the Government of Ontario for their representation of the people of their province. With two split decisions, there is a strong legal argument that this tax is unconstitutional,” Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe said.
Five provinces have sued the federal government in order to stop the carbon tax, with Manitoba, New Brunswick and Alberta all waiting for rulings.
While disappointing, it is clear that the battle is not over yet.
Manitoba, in particular, has vowed to continue with its unique approach.
“We’ll take the time to review the Ontario Court of Appeal Decision. But our own April 2019 challenge of the federal government’s decision to impose an escalating carbon tax on Manitobans continues,” a government spokesman said.
Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister says that his province’s commitment to green energy is being ignored by Ottawa, despite achieving the same goals as the carbon tax claims to achieve.
“This current federal government seems disinclined to give Manitobans credit for the massive investments we have made and are willing to continue to make in green energy,” he said.
“Manitobans have already paid, without the federal government’s help, billions of dollars in investments in green hydro production and green transmission. Yet we get zero credit from this current federal government on this issue so I will not stop advocating for Manitoba’s best interest — we deserve respect.”
The carbon tax, which is being applied to nearly all retail goods, mostly falls on ordinary Canadians to pay as many of Canada’s biggest polluters are exempt. The tax is opposed by most of the provinces and territories.
Until the carbon tax is either struck down in court or repealed by the federal government, provincial governments appear prepared to continue the fight indefinitely.