Jason Kenney says voters will pass judgment on carbon tax in federal election
The fall federal election will be “an opportunity for Canadians to say that they don’t want busy-body politicians telling them how to live their lives and taking more money out of their pockets,” said Kenney, who was sworn in as Alberta’s premier on Tuesday.
Kenney, a former federal Tory who leads Alberta’s United Conservative Party, made the comments in an interview with Mercedes Stephenson on The West Block.
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On Friday, Saskatchewan Chief Justice Robert Richards wrote in a 155-page decision that establishing minimum national standards for a price on greenhouse gas emissions falls under federal jurisdiction.
Ottawa has the power to impose its carbon tax under a section of the Constitution that states Parliament can pass laws in the name of peace, order and good government, he wrote.
Two of the five Appeal Court justices differed in their opinion and ruled the federal government’s actions are not a valid use of that section of the Constitution.
While similar challenges have yet play out for Ontario and Manitoba, Kenney said he’s always known — “win, lose or draw” — that the case would end up before the Supreme Court of Canada.
Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe said the province would be seeking an appeal, comparing the ruling to Game 1 of the playoffs.
The ruling was applauded by environmental groups and the federal government, which has imposed a carbon tax in Ontario, Saskatchewan, New Brunswick and Manitoba — the provinces that don’t meet Ottawa’s minimum price on carbon — as part of a plan to help Canada meet climate goals.
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The tax has also created a widening chasm between some provincial governments and their federal counterpart.
Federal Environment Minister Catherine McKenna said Friday’s ruling confirmed that the carbon tax is not only constitutional, but an essential part of “any credible plan” to tackle climate change.
WATCH: McKenna reacts to carbon tax ruling
“I’m hoping that conservative politicians, from Scott Moe to [Ontario Premier] Doug Ford, Jason Kenney to [Conservative Leader] Andrew Scheer, will stop fighting pricing pollution — one of the great tools that we have — and start fighting climate change with us,” she said Friday.
Alberta is not currently subject to the federal carbon tax because it has its own pricing scheme set up by the former NDP government. Kenney has vowed to repeal that legislation and implement his own emissions reduction plan.
Asked what his recourse will be if the carbon tax is found to be constitutional at the Supreme Court, Kenney said his government is reviewing the decision in Saskatchewan to determine whether Alberta will launch its own challenge, arguing that the province’s case is different.
— With files from Mercedes Stephenson, David Baxter and Dave Giles, Global News and The Canadian Press
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