Provincial legal teams huddle in Saskatoon to discuss upcoming carbon tax challenge

Attorneys general from four provinces will be in Saskatoon Tuesday to plot strategy for Saskatchewan's Supreme Court challenge of the carbon tax.

Supreme Court of Canada to hear Saskatchewan's challenge in December

Scott Moe addresses the hundreds of people who participated in an anti-carbon tax rally in Regina on April 4, 2019. (Adam Hunter/CBC)

Provincial ministers from across the country will be converging in Saskatoon on Tuesday to plot strategy for Saskatchewan's Supreme Court challenge of the carbon tax.

The meeting will include attorneys general from Saskatchewan, Alberta, Ontario and New Brunswick, along with legal counsellors, to discuss the appeal to the country's highest court.

Under the federal government's pan-Canadian climate framework, all provinces were required to come up with a method to price carbon in order to reduce climate-altering carbon emissions.

"The climate is changing, why aren't we?" read one of the signs held by a student at a rally for the environment in Regina earlier this year. (CBC News/Radio Canada )

On May 3, the Saskatchewan Court of Appeal ruled in a 3-2 decision that the federal government's carbon tax, imposed on provinces deemed not to have sufficient plans of their own, is constitutional.

Saskatchewan, and then Ontario, launched appeals to the Supreme Court.

Alberta, Ontario and New Brunswick have registered as interveners in the Saskatchewan challenge.

Saskatchewan is asking the Supreme Court two questions: 

  • 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?

Saskatchewan's Justice Minister and Attorney General Don Morgan will be in Saskatoon this week for the meeting with his counterparts. (CBC)

Currently, the federal carbon tax applies only to New Brunswick, Ontario, Manitoba and Saskatchewan.

The Supreme Court has tentatively set a Dec. 5 date to hear the challenge.

with files from CBC's Adam Hunter and The Canadian Press


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