Environmentalists welcome Sask. carbon ruling that affirms federal climate role


"We disagree with the narrow ruling by the majority that the federal government has the power to ensure a provincial minimum price on carbon, and will be joining Saskatchewan in their appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada", the statement reads in part.

A 155-page decision was handed down Friday afternoon.

On Friday Manitoba Justice Minister Cliff Cullen said in a statement to CTV News that the province is standing by its challenge, calling the federal government's conduct unfair and a threat to jobs and economic growth.

"This decision confirms that putting a price on carbon pollution...is not only constitutional, it is an effective and essential part of any serious response to the global challenge of climate change", said McKenna.

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

Court challenges of the act are also ongoing in Manitoba and New Brunswick, and Alberta will likely join the fray under its new United Conservative Party government, led by staunch carbon tax critic Premier Jason Kenney.

In a 3-2 decision, the Saskatchewan Court of Appeal rejected a challenge from the conservative provincial government, which argued the tax could not be imposed by Ottawa.

"The justices may have been split on this issue, but producers are not", Lewis said, adding that in his organization's view the carbon tax will hurt businesses without helping to deal with carbon emissions. This allows the federal government to legislate on matters of national importance that have a "singleness, distinctiveness and indivisibility" that clearly distinguishes them from distinctly provincial issues.

Although Ottawa says the money collected from the tax will be returned to Canadians in the form of rebates, right-leaning parties portray it as a cash grab that will disproportionately penalise car-dependent Canadians living in the suburbs or in rural areas. It argued the federal tax is unconstitutional because it's not applied evenly across the country and oversteps into provincial jurisdiction.

Saskatchewan NDP justice critic Nicole Sarauer said an appeal "probably makes the most sense, to get some clarity on the decision as it was made and have the highest court in our country provide that clarity is probably the logical next step".

Richards wrote that there is no constitutional requirement that laws enacted by Parliament must apply uniformly from coast to coast to coast.

"This series isn't over yet".

"Ultimately, this will be decided by the voters in the federal election".

In documents filed in Federal Court last month, the Manitoba government was seeking a judicial review to quash the federal tax on the grounds it exceeds Ottawa's constitutional authority.

"Though I am disappointed by today's ruling, our fight will continue on behalf of Saskatchewan people - who oppose the ineffective, job-killing Trudeau carbon tax", he said.