Pipes are seen at the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain facility in Edmonton on April 6, 2017. (Jonathan Hayward/The Canadian Press)

Feds acting like ‘Big Brother’ on carbon price law, court told

Saskatchewan says the federal government is intruding on provincial authority

A lawyer for Saskatchewan says Ottawa’s carbon-pricing law amounts to Big Brother forcing its will on the provinces.

He tells Ontario’s top court that it’s no coincidence the law only applies in four provinces with Conservative governments.

The court is hearing from interveners today on Day 3 of Ontario’s constitutional challenge to the federal law.

Like Ontario, Saskatchewan calls the federal charge imposed in four provinces on fossil fuels an illegal tax.

Ottawa maintains the law is needed to fight greenhouse gas emissions in those provinces that aren’t doing enough.

READ MORE: Feds could tell you when to drive if carbon price law stands, court told

But Saskatchewan says the federal government is intruding on provincial authority simply because it doesn’t like provincial policies.

“This Big-Brother-Ottawa-knows-best is inimical to federalism,” lawyer Mitch McAdam told the five-justice panel. “You don’t need to throw out the Constitution in this case in order to save the planet.”

The federal Greenhouse Gas Pollution Pricing Act, which levies a charge on gasoline, other fossil and on industrial polluters, kicked in on April 1. While Ottawa calls the levy — currently four cents a litre on gasoline — a regulatory charge designed to change behaviour, Ontario and Saskatchewan call it an illegal tax.

“Consumers are simply told to do one thing: Pay more tax,” McAdam said. “The power to tax is the power to destroy.”

Earlier, a lawyer for British Columbia, which sides with Ottawa, said Canadians elected the federal government to address climate change. The law, he said, doesn’t get in the way of provinces’ ability to do their part.

“Each jurisdiction can innovate,” the lawyer said.

The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Mounties collar suspect after shots ring out in Maple Ridge

Weekend incident on 227th Street leads police to Surrey for one arrest and gathering of evidence

‘Just getting to know Maple Ridge’: local resident discovers historical markers

Belle Morse Park was named after the former mayor who also served as a city councillor

Guard dog trainer looks to take over part of tree farm

An unused horse arena and gravel area on Green Road property proposed for alternate use

Council ponders next steps for Pitt Meadows Official Community Plan

Revising a blueprint for how to keep growing and developing the city has been stalled by COVID

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

Thanks for helping The News to continue its mission to provide trusted local news

Kelowna man charged with harming a hamster

The 20-year-old Kelowna man faces several animal cruelty charges

High tech fish transport system set up to ‘whoosh’ salmon past Big Bar landslide

Fish will spend roughly 20 seconds inside the system, moving at roughly 20 metres per second

Trudeau to seek 10 days of paid sick leave for Canadian workers, says talks are ongoing

Paid sick leave is key to keeping COVID-19 spread under control, prime minister says

Snowbirds jets will not be leaving Kamloops, just yet

The Snowbirds have been in Kamloops since May 17 when a plane crashed killing Capt. Jennifer Casey

COVID-19 checkpoints ‘up to them,’ Bonnie Henry says of remote B.C. villages

Support local tourism economy, but only if you’re invited in

Vancouver Island hasn’t seen a new homegrown case of COVID-19 in two weeks

Island’s low and steady transmission rate chalked up to several factors

Eight people arrested in Victoria homeless camp after enforcement order issued

Those living in tents were given until May 20 to move indoors

Most Read