Court rejects Saskatchewan’s challenge to Canada’s federal carbon tax

Saskatchewan’s highest court quashed a challenge to the Canadian government’s carbon tax, ruling that it was constitutional.

The 151-page ruling by a majority of the Court of Appeal, released on May 3, found that the Federal government of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, acted within its legal authority when it placed a carbon tax on Saskatchewan. The province’s government had argued that this overstepped federal authorities.

“Today’s decision is a win for Canadians and for future generations. It cannot be free to pollute in Canada,” said Minister of Environment Catherine McKenna.

Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe vowed to take the case to Canada’s Supreme Court.

“Though I am disappointed with today’s ruling, our fight will continue on behalf of Saskatchewan’s people – who oppose the ineffective, job-killing Trudeau carbon tax,” Moe tweeted.

Saskatchewan was the first province to challenge the tax. The federal government implemented carbon pricing on April 1 in provinces whose carbon pricing plan did not meet its standards, including Ontario, Manitoba and New Brunswick. Ontario has a similar case before the province’s highest court.

Carbon tax has drawn fire from Canadian trucking industry

Diesel prices have increased by about C$0.20 per gallon (a Canadian dollar currently is valued at US$0.75), bringing backlash from many corners of the Canadian trucking industry. Industry groups have criticized the government for increasing the cost of fuel without supportive rewarded efforts to reduce emissions.

“There is a vast amount of emission-reducing technology already in place in the trucking industry, from wide base tires to boat tails to energy-efficient motor vehicles (LCVs). The issue is that there are currently no incentives in place for companies that are [using] or desire to use this equipment,” Susan Ewart, executive director of the Saskatchewan Trucking Association, said after the organization announced its opposition to the carbon tax.

The tax was among many grievances that send a convoy of trucks from Alberta to Canada’s capital, Ottawa, in February.

The ultimate fate of the carbon tax will likely come from voters when federal elections take place in the fall. National carbon pricing was part of Trudeau’s platform when he and his Liberal Party came to power in 2015.

According to the government, about 90 percent of carbon taxes are being returned to Canadians via tax rebates.

While Prime Minister Trudeau has come under fire from conservatives for the carbon taxes, his party’s support of the Trans Mountain oil expansion has drawn criticism from environmentalists.

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Nate Tabak, Canada Correspondent

Nate Tabak is a journalist, editor and producer in Toronto. He covers Canada for FreightWaves, with a keen interest on the cross-border economic relationship with the United States. Nate spent seven years working as an investigative editor and reporter based in Kosovo. He covered everything from corruption to the country’s emerging wine industry. He also reported across the Balkans and investigated Albania’s multibillion-dollar marijuana industry with a grant from the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting. Nate grew up in Berkeley, Calif. He enjoys exploring Toronto with his wife and is always looking forward to his next meal.

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