-Mac Radburn, Smart Prosperity Institute
Today the Saskatchewan Court of Appeal ruled that the federal Greenhouse Gas Pollution Pricing Act (GGPPA) is constitutionally valid; it falls within federal authority under the “National Concern” power – a branch of the Peace, Order and Good Government power.
The decision confirms that both the federal and provincial governments have authority to legislate over greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Ottawa has the power to set minimum national standards of pricing carbon across Canada, and provinces have broad authority to legislate over the provincial aspects of carbon pricing and climate change more generally.
The Court also found that “GHG pricing is regarded as an essential … element of the global effort to limit GHG emissions”, and that “carbon prices that have been implemented around the world have been successful in reducing greenhouse gas emissions”.
Three of the five judges joined in this majority opinion.
The two dissenting judges found that the federal law is unconstitutional for two reasons: Part 1 of the Act (the carbon price) is a “Tax”, and does conform with the requirements for federal Taxation under the Constitution; and Part 2 of the Act (applying to industry) is regulatory, and does not satisfy the requirements to fall within the National Concern power.
Attached, please find a short summary of the decision, its legal basis, and its implications. It is written by Dr. Stewart Elgie, a Professor of Law & Economics at University of Ottawa. He is an expert on the constitution and the environment, and has argued three cases in the Supreme Court of Canada (successfully) on this issue. He was counsel in this case for one of the intervenors, Canada’s Ecofiscal Commission (which argued that both the federal and provincial governments have authority over carbon pricing and GHG regulation).
Source: Smart Prosperity Institute