Edmonton

Alberta asks Court of Appeal to rule on federal carbon tax

Alberta will ask the province's Court of Appeal to rule on the constitutionality of the federal carbon tax.

Federal carbon tax to come into effect on Jan. 1, 2020

A flare stack lights the sky from the Imperial Oil refinery in Edmonton, Alta. on December 28, 2018. (Jason Franson/Canadian Press)

Alberta will ask the province's Court of Appeal to rule on the constitutionality of the federal carbon tax.

Environment Minister Catherine McKenna said last week the federal tax will come into effect in Alberta on Jan. 1, now that its provincial carbon tax no longer exists.

Alberta Justice Minister Doug Schweitzer said Thursday the province plans to argue McKenna's plan constitutes an overreach of federal authority and imposes a one-size-fits-all solution that doesn't work for every province.

"It is important that the government of Alberta is able to provide comprehensive evidence to our Court of Appeal that is within our constitutional right to manage our affairs in a manner that is consistent with our own circumstances," he said.

"And that includes the regulation of greenhouse gas emissions."

The provincial government will file its full legal arguments once the Court of Appeal sets a date for a hearing.

Schweitzer said the earliest date would be in October. The case will cost about $300,000, he said.

Saskatchewan's Court of Appeal rejected similar arguments from that province's government last month. At the end of May, Saskatchewan launched its carbon tax appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada. 

Schweitzer declined to say how Alberta's case will differ from that of Saskatchewan, saying the government lawyers will file a full legal brief at a later date.

Calgary-McCall NDP MLA Irfan Sabir said challenging Ottawa's authority to impose a carbon tax will end up with the same result as Saskatchewan. 

"It's a waste of taxpayer dollars, it doesn't benefit Albertans, it doesn't benefit our industry," Sabir said.

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