The Supreme Court will hear the Saskatchewan government’s challenge of the federal carbon tax on Dec. 5.
The province took the appeal to the Supreme Court after the Saskatchewan Court of Appeal voted that the federally imposed carbon tax is constitutional.
“We’re dealing with the issue of the environment and the carbon tax, sticking up for the people of Saskatchewan which we think it absolutely critical. The other issues that’s there is whether it’s appropriate and whether it’s constitutional for the federal government to levy a tax at different rates,” Minister of Justice and Attorney General Don Morgan said.
“The immediate and the most significant issue for us of course is we think the carbon tax is fundamentally wrong. We think it’s an indication that the federal government does not understand how important the energy sector is to Saskatchewan, how important it is to Western Canada and how important it is to the people of our province and we want to stick up for our citizens,” Morgan said.
The appeal court’s decision was signed by three of five judges on the panel.
“The Greenhouse Gas Pollution Pricing Act is not unconstitutional either whole or in part,” the decision said. It also noted that the sole issue before the court was whether or not Ottawa has the constitutional authority to enact the pollution pricing act.
Saskatchewan, along with New Brunswick, Ontario and Manitoba did not have their own carbon-pricing plan by April 1, and was subject to the federal plan.
Manitoba filed papers in federal court earlier this year for its own challenge. Alberta is also now challenging the constitutionality of the carbon tax in its own Court of Appeal. Saskatchewan plans to seek intervener status in Alberta’s challenge.
The national carbon price starts at $20 per tonne and is expected to rise $10 every year until 2022.
The province says the Constructional Law Branch is working on Saskatchewan’s factum, which has to be submitted to the Supreme Court by July 26.
With files from The Canadian Press