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Court of Appeal Sides with Alberta on Federal Carbon Tax

In a 4-1 majority decision, the Alberta Court of Appeal has deemed the federal Liberals’ carbon tax to be unconstitutional.The federal backstop came into effect in Alberta on Jan. 1, and applies to gasoline, diesel and home heating fuels.In its findings, three of the justices, including Chief Justice Catherine Fraser, agreed with Alberta’s argument that the carbon tax interferes with the province’s exclusive jurisdiction to manage its natural resources, as laid out in section 92(a) of the Constitution.

“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

Jason Kenney

Very pleased that Alberta’s court of appeal has ruled the federal carbon tax to be unconstitutional.

We promised to take meaningful action on climate change without punishing Alberta families for driving to work and heating their homes

We urge the Trudeau government to respect the ruling of the court, and scrap their carbon tax immediately on Alberta families

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