TORONTO — The Ontario government is appealing to the Supreme Court of Canada for a decision on whether or not the federal government’s carbon tax is constitutional.
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“In June, we were disappointed to learn that in a split decision, the Ontario Court of Appeal did not accept our position that the federal carbon tax is unconstitutional,” Ontario Environment Minister Jeff Yurek said in a statement Wednesday.
“Despite this decision, we remain committed to using every tool at our disposal to fight against the job-killing carbon tax … That is why we filed our appeal of the decision on the carbon tax to the Supreme Court of Canada today.”
Ontario Premier Doug Ford has spoken out against Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s carbon tax regularly since taking power last summer.
He often calls it “the worst tax ever” and his government is spending $30 million to fight the tax with the court challenge and advertisements.
Earlier: Ontario NDP blasts Ford’s court challenge of Ottawa’s carbon tax. Story continues after the video.
Ford’s government is also forcing every gas station in the province to display stickers that say “the federal carbon tax will cost you.”
The stickers fail to mention that 90 per cent of the revenue collected through the carbon tax is being rebated back to Canadians. Most families are expected to collect more in rebates than they lose to the tax, according to an analysis done by the federal government’s independent budget watchdog.
In Ontario, the tax is expected to cost the average family $256 a year; the same family’s rebate would be $300.
On Friday, Ford indicated that his government might abandon the court challenge altogether if Trudeau wins the federal election in October.
“This carbon tax, it’s not going to be the courts that are going to decide. The people are going to decide when the election is held,” Ford said.
“Once the people decide, I believe in democracy, I respect democracy, we move on.”
Federal Conservative leader Andrew Scheer has said that he will repeal the tax if he wins power.
The provincial governments in Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta are also challenging the carbon tax in court.
After multiple rulings upheld the federal government’s tax, Liberal MPs urged those provinces to drop their challenges.
Conservative premiers are wasting millions of dollars in court “fighting climate action rather than fighting climate change,” Liberal MP Sean Fraser said in July.
Trudeau argues that the tax is key to his government’s climate change policy.
During the court battle with Ontario, lawyers for the federal Liberal government argued that the tax gives people an incentive to reduce their emissions and therefore is a legitimate answer to the potentially devastating impacts of climate change.
If governments around the world don’t cut out carbon emissions completely by 2050, there could be mass food shortages and a spike in floods, droughts and storms, according to research backed by the United Nations.
The panel of UN scientists called for “rapid, far-reaching and unprecedented changes in all aspects of society” in a watershed report on climate change released last August.
With files from the Canadian Press