Long expected, Ontario’s government took the first step in a legal challenge against the Federal Government’s Carbon Tax Plan. Their primary argument revolves around the claim that the Carbon Tax threatens Ontario jobs by creating obstacles for manufacturing.
“Most of Canada’s progress towards meeting its greenhouse gas emission targets is due to action Ontario has taken without having to resort to a job-killing carbon tax,” explained Rod Phillips, Minister of the Environment, Conservation and Parks. “Ontario is already doing its part and our families, workers and businesses have already sacrificed a lot. There is no justification to punish them further with a carbon tax.”
When it files its factum with the Court of Appeal today, the province will set out the arguments it is making to challenge the constitutionality of the federal government’s Greenhouse Gas Pollution Pricing Act (the carbon tax). Ontario is arguing that the provinces, not the federal government, have the primary responsibility to regulate greenhouse gas emissions and that the charges the act seeks to impose are in fact unconstitutional disguised taxation.
During the recent election, the Ford Government had expressed its intent to use every tool at its disposal to fight the federal government’s plan to impose “an unconstitutional and punishing new carbon tax in the province.” Ontario was recently joined by the province of New Brunswick as part of the coalition of provinces across Canada which oppose and seek to have the federal carbon tax declared unconstitutional.
“Our government cannot stand by and let this unconstitutional tax eliminate jobs and hurt families who are already struggling to get ahead in Ontario,” said Attorney General Caroline Mulroney. “People should not have to pay even more for driving their kids to hockey, for going out to buy groceries or bringing a parent to a doctor’s appointment. The federal carbon tax takes money from families’ pockets and makes job creators less competitive.”
Other initiatives in support of manufacturing and businesses included passing the Cap and Trade Cancellation Act, 2018, “eliminating a costly burden for businesses and making life more affordable for families.” Ontario launched a made-in-Ontario environment plan tailored to the province’s specific priorities and regional challenges and opportunities while striking the right balance between a healthy environment and a healthy economy.
“Our new plan contains solutions that will protect our air, land and water, reduce waste, address litter, support Ontarians to continue to do their share to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and help communities and families prepare for climate change,” said Phillips. “It puts Ontario on a path to meet our target, which matches Canada’s commitment under the Paris Agreement. Most importantly, it does all of this without imposing an ineffective, regressive carbon tax on the hardworking families of our province.”