“The division of powers remains key to our federal state,” wrote Chief Justice Fraser, and Justices Jack Watson and Elizabeth Hughes in their ruling.
“The federal government is not the parent; and the provincial governments are not its children.”
Justice Thomas Wakeling wrote a separate decision in favour of Alberta’s position.
During the three-day hearing in December, the federal government argued that climate change is an urgent threat to humanity, and that emissions aren’t confined by provincial borders, making this issue a national concern.
Justice Kevin Feehan agreed with those arguments in a dissenting opinion.
“The act accomplishes the goal of having as small a scale as possible of impact on provincial jurisdiction,” Justice Feehan wrote in his decision.
“Effective and stringent carbon pricing cannot be realistically satisfied by cooperative provincial action, due to the failure, or unwillingness, of a province to adequately address greenhouse gas emissions, with resulting adverse effect on other provinces.
This decision will not have any immediate impact on the carbon tax in Alberta. These findings will now be put before the Supreme Court as it hears an appeal to the decision in Saskatchewan, which the federal government won in a 3-2 majority ruling.
“This is a great victory for Alberta and a great victory for Canadian federalism,” Alberta Premier Jason Kenney said. “We will take this decision with us as we stand up for our allies in Ontario, Saskatchewan and Quebec at the Supreme Court of Canada next month.”
Ontario also launched a court challenge to the carbon tax, the court there ruled in favour of the Liberal government 4-1.
In a message on Twitter, Kenney said he was very pleased with the ruling and urged the Trudeau government to “respect the ruling of the court” and scrap the federal carbon tax on Albertans