September 21, 2020

Carbon Tax Reference Case Being Heard Before Supreme Court

Saskatchewan will be arguing its carbon tax reference case before the Supreme Court on Tuesday, September 22 and Wednesday, September 23.  The province is requesting that the Supreme Court settle the issue of the constitutionality of the federal Greenhouse Gas Pollution Pricing Act.

“We believe that we have strong legal grounds in this case, particularly considering that we’re arguing on the same grounds that saw the Alberta Court of Appeal rule the Trudeau carbon tax unconstitutional,” Justice Minister and Attorney General Don Morgan said.  “We look forward to putting our case forward in Canada’s highest court and settling this issue.”

The federal carbon tax legislation imposes a carbon tax on some provinces but not others based on the strategies each province uses to reduce carbon emissions and mitigate the effects of climate change.

“We have argued, since day one, that the carbon tax is an overreach by the federal government,” Morgan said.  “While the question today is whether each province has a right to choose its own climate change plan, this legislation could have far-reaching consequences for the autonomy of every Canadian province if it is allowed to stand.”

Under the Canadian constitution, the provinces hold the authority to set policy and legislation in areas under provincial jurisdiction.  The federal government does not have the right to override that provincial authority.

“We need a federal climate policy that makes our environment, economies, and communities more resilient to the effects of climate change – not more vulnerable,” Environment Minister Dustin Duncan said.  “We can respond to climate change successfully by creating a sustainable transition that benefits Saskatchewan’s families and businesses.”

The Made-in-Saskatchewan 2020 Climate Resilience Report demonstrates the Government of Saskatchewan’s commitment to building climate resilience in the province.  Initiatives such as the $1 million announced in 2019 for community floodplain mapping provides 20 communities access to modern flood maps and hydraulic mapping.

As well, an additional 81 culverts were upgraded to meet the new provincial flood standard, and Saskatchewan surpassed its 2020 energy consumption target in our provincial government-owned buildings while announcing $26 million in energy efficiency improvements in schools in June 2020.