Sask. Premier disappointed by Ontario court ruling on federal carbon pricing

Premier Scott Moe is disappointed by an Ontario Court of Appeal ruling that sided with the federal government over the constitutionality of Ottawa's carbon tax.

Saskatchewan to go before Supreme Court of Canada later this year to challenge May decision

Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe says he is disappointed by a court ruling issued by the Ontario Court of Appeal that sided with the federal government earlier today. (Bryan Eneas/CBC)

Ontario's courts have ruled in favour of Ottawa on that province's challenge of the federally implemented carbon tax — the second decision in a row that has gone against Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe's anti-carbon-tax fight.

In a brief statement issued earlier today, Moe commended the Ontario government's "representation of the people" and said the Saskatchewan government will continue to fight the carbon tax before the Supreme Court later this year. 

"Saskatchewan is disappointed by today's split decision from the Ontario Court of Appeal on the federal carbon tax," Moe said. "With two split decisions, there is a strong legal argument that this tax is unconstitutional."

Saskatchewan will have its day with the Supreme Court of Canada in December after the province lost its own carbon tax challenge before the Court of Appeal in May.

The provincial government is asking the Supreme Court two questions in December: 

  • Is the Greenhouse Gas Pollution Pricing Act unconstitutional in whole or in part?

  • In particular, does Parliament have jurisdiction to establish minimum national standards for price stringency for greenhouse gas emissions under the national concern branch of the peace, order and good government power set out in the opening words of section 91 of the Constitution Act, 1867?

Ontario's Progressive Conservative government under Premier Doug Ford, who calls the carbon charge an illegal tax, had argued the act is a violation of the Constitution because it allows the federal government to intrude on provincial jurisdiction.

The Saskatchewan government acted as an intervenor in that court case, and the Ontario government acted as an intervenor in the case heard in Regina earlier this year.

The Saskatchewan government previously stated there will be minimal additional costs associated with its fight against the carbon tax because it is using staff lawyers.

Two more cases, one in Manitoba and one in New Brunswick, have yet to go before the courts. 

In a statement issued last week, Alberta Premier Jason Kenny, said his government is currently preparing its own challenge to the carbon tax.

The federally implemented carbon tax is applied to things like gasoline and natural gas. 

Ottawa imposed the tax on Saskatchewan (and three other jurisdictions) after the provincial government failed to introduce its own carbon pricing program. 

The federal government has argued that carbon pricing is a crucial tool for reducing emissions that cause climate change. 

With files from CBC News, Adam Hunter