Ontario Announces Constitutional Challenge to Federal Government’s Carbon Tax

Attorney General Caroline Mulroney, and Environment Minister Rod Phillips announce plans for a constitutional challenge on carbon tax Image Credit: Yahoo News/ CBC News

The Government of Ontario today announced the next step in its fight to defend the people of Ontario from the federal government’s plan to impose a controversial new carbon tax on Ontarians.

Minister of Environment, Conservation and Parks Rod Phillips and Attorney General Caroline Mulroney made the announcement Thursday.  They are seeking to challenge the carbon tax’s constitutional validity at the Ontario Court of Appeal.

“During the election campaign we made a clear promise to the people of Ontario that we would use every tool at our disposal to fight the federal government’s plan to impose a carbon tax on Ontario families and businesses,” said Phillips. “We are keeping our promise.” Ontario’s position in court will be that the federal Greenhouse Gas Pollution Pricing Act imposes an unconstitutional tax on Ontarians.

The decision follows an announcement by Premier Doug Ford last month to intervene in the Government of Saskatchewan’s reference also challenging the federal carbon tax.  The provinces are working to ensure that their arguments complement each other.

“The federal carbon tax will have its day in court. But it is already on trial among the families who will be forced to pay more for gas, home heating and everything else if the federal government gets its way,” said Mulroney. “Our message to Ontario families, businesses and workers worried about the carbon tax is this: The federal government may have abandoned you, but we never will.”  The court challenge will cost approximately $30 million.

Framework for the federal carbon tax was presented in January, 2018 specifying charges starting at $10/ carbon tonne in 2018, to $50/ carbon tonne in 2022.  Environment and Climate Change Minister Catherine McKenna has given the provinces until the end of the year to impose their own carbon taxes.

Ontario’s former Liberal government implemented a cap & trade system.  One of the Progressive Conservatives (PC) campaign promises was to eliminate it, and fight its imposition in court.