Earlier this month, Saskatchewan’s Court of Appeal ruled in a split decision that the implementation of the federal carbon tax on the province is constitutional and that establishing minimum national standards for a price on greenhouse gas emissions falls under federal jurisdiction.
Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe, who has said the tax hurts his province economically, promised there would be an appeal. Now, the Saskatchewan government has filed notice that it is taking its challenge of the tax to the Supreme Court of Canada. The province’s Justice Minister Don Morgan says the high court will be asked to rule on whether the tax is constitutional and whether Ottawa has the jurisdiction to impose it. Minister Morgan said the province has two months to file a factum to the Supreme Court and “Our government will continue to stand up for Saskatchewan people against what we believe is an unconstitutional tax on their families, communities, and businesses.”
Minister Morgan also noted that if the Liberals lose the federal election in October, there may be no federal tax left to fight since the Conservatives have promised to scrap the tax, saying, “The Supreme Court could say it’s moot, it’s not worth hearing because the government has changed the law. Or they could say, ‘No, this is a matter of import. We want to create a precedent.'”
The federal tax has been imposed on provinces that have not implemented their own carbon levies, including Saskatchewan, Ontario, New Brunswick, and Manitoba. Ontario and Manitoba are also fighting the carbon tax in court and Alberta Premier Jason Kenney’s government officially killed the province’s carbon tax on May 30, resulting in an average 8 cent per litre drop in prices at the pump. Federal Environment Minister Catherine McKenna said Ottawa’s tax would be imposed on the province as soon as possible and Premier Kenney said he has not yet received a formal notice from the federal government on its tax, adding, “If and when we receive that, I will instruct our lawyers to proceed with filing a judicial reference to the Alberta Court of Appeal.”