Court Of Appeal Rules In Favour Of Federal Carbon Tax
REGINA - In a split decision the Saskatchewan Court of Appeal has ruled the Federal Government’s Carbon Tax - formerly known as The Greenhouse Gas Pollution Pricing Act - is constitutional.
The Court of Appeal issued a 155 page ruling on Friday afternoon with three Justices supporting the constitutionality of the Federal Carbon Tax and two justices ruling against it. The Carbon Tax places a price on carbon produced from burning fossil fuels.
The cost of the tax is about 4.4 to 4.6 cents per litre of gasoline initially but it is set to ramp up as the Carbon Tax increases. The Carbon Tax will start at a minimum of $20/tonne and rise by $10/tonne per year until 2022.
Speaking in Regina following the decision’s release Premier Scott Moe said he was disappointed with the decision and the Province will appeal. The Province has 30 days to file their appeal.
“Obviouisly I’m disapointed with this ruling but it is only one step in the battle against the Trudeau Carbon Tax,” Premier Moe said at the Legislature on Friday afternoon.
“We will be closely reviewing today’s ruling and it will be appealed to the Supreme Court of Canada,” he said adding two justices had provided a detailed written opinion the Federal Government’s Carbon Tax is unconstitutional.
“So there are strong grounds for appeal.”
Moe stated the upcoming Federal election in October should end the Carbon Tax as he expected it to be a ballot question and given three provinces in the last year with elections has seen the winner being against the tax it would likely transfer to the federal results.
“Ultimately the fate of the Trudeau Carbon Tax will be decided in the Federal Election this Fall,” Premier Moe stated.
“The only effectiveness this tax has is ultimately moving jobs out of our jurisdiction into other areas of the world, and we won't stand for that.”
The Province’s stand against the Carbon Tax has supporters in the business community who see it as having a negative economic impact.
Rob Clark, CEO of the Moose Jaw and District Chamber of Commerce, said it is “another wait and see” as the Province is going to appeal the decision.
“We would be in favour to not have a Carbon Tax. It affects a lot of businesses and the ag community,” Clark said.
Clark called the Carbon Tax “as not thought through and we do not have any of the details on how the money is coming back.”
Asked if businesses would absorb the Carbon Tax or pass it through to their customers he said it was up to each individual business.
“You do not want to scare customers away but a business also has to have viability to survive…it’s tough being a business today,” Clark said.
“The Carbon Tax is going to affect everything,” Clark said when it was pointed out it has already starting to affect the price of groceries as an example.
“We are extremely disappointed by the court’s decision on this matter,” said Marilyn Braun-Pollon, Canadian Federation of Independent Businesses’s (CFIB) vice-president of prairie and agri-business in a news release.
“The federal carbon tax is deeply unfair to small firms, which have had to absorb a majority of the new costs, so we are pleased the provincial government will continue to aggressively fight back against the carbon tax,” Braun-Pollon stated in the release.
The CFIB contends 50 percent of the tax collected will be from smaller firms.
In a recent column, MJ Independent Nature Columnist and President of the Moose Jaw Nature Society Kimberly Epp, wrote about the need to change society’s attitude when it comes to carbon and its effects upon Climate Change.
Comment from the Official Opposition was unavailable at press time but we will carry it once it becomes available.
A recent analysis by the Parliamentary Budget Office found claims made by the Federal Government that most individuals would receive more money back than they paid to be correct. The Carbon Tax is also seen as progressive in nature with lower income Canadians receiving the most benefits back.
The analysis predicts the fuel charge will bring in more than $2.4 billion. Another $200 million will be raised from the tax applied to emissions from large industrial emitters, who pay it on a portion of their emissions above a level set by the federal government .
The analysis also found Saskatchewan - with the highest output of Carbon Dioxide per capita - will encourage the highest per household costs at $425 in 2019-2020 and it will increase to $910 in 2023-2024.
“The federal government has stated that the carbon pricing system will be revenue neutral; any revenues generated under the system will be returned to the province or territory in which they are generated. Households will receive 90 per cent of the revenues raised from carbon levy. Based on this assumption, a typical household will receive higher transfers than average amounts it pays in fuel charges. The net benefits are broadly progressive by income group. That is, lower income households will receive larger net transfers than higher income households,” the analysis stated.
Carbon emissions or C02 from burning fossil fuels is said to be the main contributing factor behind Climate Change. A view held by a majority of scientists. It is also a view seen as theoretical and not the driving force by other scientists and opponents who see weather and climate changes as part of a natural cycle.
Saskatchewan had introduced its own carbon plan, Prairie Resilience, which does not price carbon. The federal government's carbon price starts at a minimum of $20 a tonne and is to rise $10 each year until 2022.