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Carbon tax is an unconstitutional “Trojan horse”: Alberta Court of Appeal

The court found the tax is “a constitutional Trojan horse” that encroaches on provincial jurisdiction.

In a groundbreaking decision, a majority of judges from the Alberta Court of Appeal have ruled that Justin Trudeau’s federally-imposed carbon tax is unconstitutional. 

The 4-1 ruling was passed down on Monday afternoon. The court found the tax is “a constitutional Trojan horse” that encroaches on provincial jurisdiction.  

Among those who ruled in favour of the tax being unconstitutional were Chief Justice Catherine Fraser, and justices Elizabeth Hughes, Thomas Wakeling and Jack Watson. Only Justice Kevin Feehan dissented. 

“The Act [Greenhouse Gas Pollution Pricing Act] is a constitutional Trojan horse. Buried within it are wide ranging discretionary powers the federal government has reserved unto itself. Their final shape, substance and outer limits have not yet been revealed,” claimed the ruling. 

“Almost every aspect of the provinces’ development and management of their natural resources, all provincial industries and every action of citizens in a province would be subject to federal regulation to reduce GHG emissions.”

Of the three provincial challenges to the tax, the Alberta ruling is the only one to find the Greenhouse Gas Pollution Pricing Act unconstitutional. Courts in Saskatchewan and Ontario found the act to be constitutional in split decisions. The Supreme Court of Canada is expected to hear appeals of these rulings next month.

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney, who promised he would abolish his province’s carbon pricing scheme prior to being elected, tweeted a statement in response to the decision.

“Very pleased that Alberta’s court of appeal has ruled the federal carbon tax to be unconstitutional,” tweeted Kenney.

“We urge the Trudeau government to respect the ruling of the court, and scrap their carbon tax immediately on Alberta families.”

After Kenney repealed the provincial tax, the Trudeau government imposed a carbon tax on the province at the beginning of this year. 

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