Supreme Court set to hear Sask. carbon tax challenge in December

Saskatchewan’s challenge to the federal carbon tax is expected to move ahead this winter.

The Supreme Court of Canada has told the province it has tentatively set a date for the challenge for Dec. 5.

 “We believe that the federal government has violated the constitutional jurisdiction of the provinces through the imposition of the federal carbon tax,” said Minister of Justice and Attorney General Don Morgan in a news release.

“Our government looks forward to standing up for the hardworking people of Saskatchewan against the frivolous and ineffective carbon tax.”

In May, the province lost its challenge against the tax in a 3-2 decision at the Saskatchewan Court of Appeal.

The provincial government is arguing the carbon tax is unconstitutional and falls outside the legislative bounds of Parliament.

The Ontario government also launched its own constitutional challenge, in which the Saskatchewan government was an intervenor. The Ontario Court of Appeal has not released its decision in that case.

Similar challenges are expected in Manitoba and in Alberta, where the recently elected government of Premier Jason Kenney ended that province’s carbon tax last month.

Saskatchewan has introduced its own carbon plan, Prairie Resilience, but its plan does not place a price on carbon.

Under the terms of the carbon tax framework, provinces had to develop policies to put a price on carbon through a carbon tax or a cap-and-trade system.

As a part of the plan, Ottawa said it would impose a tax on provinces that refuse to develop their own plans — at a rate of $20 on every tonne of greenhouse gas emissions starting in 2019, rising by $10 each year to $50 a tonne by 2022.

Saskatchewan’s Constitutional Law Branch must submit its information to the Supreme Court by July 26, which would be 60 days following the notice of appeal.

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