Alberta Appeal Court Rejects Federal Carbon Price
The Court of Appeal of Alberta has declared the federal government’s carbon pricing scheme unconstitutional, calling it a “constitutional Trojan horse” that intrudes on provincial jurisdiction.
“The 4-1 decision, released Monday, rejects Ottawa’s argument that regulation of greenhouse gas emissions is an issue of national concern, citing the division of powers in the constitution that gives the provinces responsibility for non-renewable resources,” CBC news reports. “It says the legislation contains no limits on the scope of the federal government’s power.”
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“What is authorized under the act indefinitely into the future and in the sole unfettered discretion of the executive is endlessly expansive,” the judges wrote. “The executive’s authority is also open-ended and largely subjective.”
“Conspicuous for its breadth, the act allows the federal government to intrude further into more and different aspects of lawful daily life, both personal and business,” they added. “Nor is there anything in the act limiting what the federal government can choose to levy in the future both on people and industry. The minimums of today are not the maximums of tomorrow.”
Alberta Premier Jason Kenney declared the ruling a victory and claimed the federal backstop price on carbon is now “illegal” in his province, even though appeal courts in Saskatchewan and Ontario have upheld the federal law. “We expect the Government of Canada to comply with the order of the court today and to remove the federal carbon tax on Albertans,” Kenney said.
But Ecojustice Executive Director Devon Page calls the ruling “an outlier to earlier decisions out of Saskatchewan and Ontario that affirm the federal government’s right to implement national measures to combat the climate emergency.”
“Where does that leave us now?” he adds. “On the road to the Supreme Court of Canada,” which will ultimately have the final say on the federal law after a hearing next month.
“In the meantime, we have a message for governments across Canada: There is no excuse for inaction,” Page says. “A climate emergency is no time to play politics with our future—it’s a losing game that will only harm the health and well-being of Canadians, the environment, and the economy.”