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Saskatchewan court rules federal carbon-pricing plan constitutional

Environmental groups rejoiced at a Saskatchewan Court of Appeal ruling on carbon pricing that legal experts say strongly affirms the federal government’s essential role in the fight against climate change.

Ian Bruce of the David Suzuki Foundation says the decision paves the way for a unified national program to reduce Canada’s greenhouse gas emissions.

Isabelle Turcotte of the Pembina Institute says the 3-2 ruling emphasizes that climate change is a national threat, even calling it an emergency.

Meanwhile, legal scholars say the court has reinforced the doctrine that the provinces and the federal government share responsibility for the environment.

Stewart Elgie of the University of Ottawa says the federal government can set standards and the provinces decide how to meet them, much as Canada already does in health care and social programs.

Martin Olszynski from the University of Calgary says the Saskatchewan ruling is likely to foreshadow carbon price rulings in jurisdictions such as Ontario, where the arguments used were very similar.

Mark Jaccard, an energy economist at Simon Fraser University, welcomes the decision, saying it’s appropriate the federal government has the power to address a global problem.

The Canadian Press

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