See you at the Supreme Court, Ottawa responds, after Alberta demands carbon tax be lifted

On Monday, Alberta’s top court declared the federal carbon tax unconstitutional.

On Wednesday, the province’s justice minister demanded that the federal government remove the levy and reimburse what Albertans have already paid.

On Friday, the federal government responded: See you in court.

“The Supreme Court will determine if a federal price on carbon pollution is constitutional, a decision that will answer this important question for our country as a whole,” Federal Justice Minister David Lametti wrote to Alberta Justice Minister Doug Schweitzer, in a letter obtained by CBC News.

“Our government is confident that the price on carbon pollution is within federal jurisdiction,” Lametti added.

That differs from the opinion Schweitzer expressed in a letter sent to Lametti two days earlier, in which he acknowledged the looming Supreme Court hearing but said the carbon tax must “nevertheless” be removed in Alberta now, due to the provincial court’s decision.

“Albertans expect the government of Canada to abide by the decision of the court,” Schweitzer wrote to Lametti.

“If you do not respond accordingly to our demands, the government of Alberta will be forced to consider additional legal recourse to ensure that this unlawful tax on Albertans is removed and fully reimbursed.”

Saskatchewan and Ontario courts back federal carbon tax

Lametti noted in his response that the Alberta Court of Appeal’s ruling was a constitutional reference and contained no orders.

He also noted that courts in Ontario and Saskatchewan both sided with the federal government’s position.

“It is for this reason that the upcoming hearing at the Supreme Court will be so consequential,” Lametti wrote.

“However, I am pleased that you raised the question of reimbursement for Albertans in your letter,” the federal minister added.

“As a direct result of the Federal Climate Action Incentive, a family of four in Alberta will receive $888 this year when they file their taxes. … The majority of households will receive more money back in Climate Action Incentive payments than they will pay as a result of the price on pollution.”

The Supreme Court is set to hear arguments about the federal carbon tax in March.

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