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Saskatchewan appealing carbon tax ruling to Supreme Court of Canada

Saskatchewan is asking the Supreme Court of Canada if the federal carbon tax is constitutional.
Saskatchewan is asking the Supreme Court of Canada if the federal carbon tax is constitutional. Sean Kilpatrick / The Canadian Press

Saskatchewan’s carbon tax battle is heading to the Supreme Court of Canada (SCOC).

The province said Friday it has officially filed an appeal notice with Canada’s highest court.

READ MORE: Saskatchewan Court of Appeal rules federal carbon tax is constitutional

Justice Minister Don Morgan said two questions are being raised by the province.

The first asks is the Greenhouse Gas Pollution Pricing Act unconstitutional in whole or in part.

Saskatchewan is also asking if Parliament has the “jurisdiction to establish minimum national standards for price stringency for greenhouse gas emissions under the national concern branch of the peace, order and good government power set out in the opening words of section 91 of the Constitution Act, 1867?”

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“Our government will continue to stand up for Saskatchewan people against what we believe is an unconstitutional tax on their families, communities, and businesses,” Morgan said Friday in a statement.

“Saskatchewan’s Constitutional Law Branch has filed a notice of appeal with the Supreme Court of Canada that will see our case against the carbon tax taken to the highest court of our nation.”

The Saskatchewan government now has two months to file its factum with the SCOC.

READ MORE: We’ll work with cities, even when provinces won’t work with Ottawa says Justin Trudeau

Saskatchewan’s Court of Appeal ruled in a 3-2 decision on May 3 that the federal government has the constitutional power to implement a carbon tax on province’s that don’t meet Ottawa’s minimum price.

Saskatchewan Chief Justice Robert Richards wrote in the 155-page decision that establishing minimum national standards for a price on greenhouse gas emissions fall under federal jurisdiction.

He wrote 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.

WATCH: Despite legal decision, opponents of carbon tax fight on

Despite legal decision, opponents of carbon tax fight on
Despite legal decision, opponents of carbon tax fight on

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.

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The federal carbon tax on fuel was applied to Saskatchewan, Ontario, New Brunswick and Manitoba on April 1 as those province’s climate plans did not meet the federal backstop, $20 per tonne of CO2, growing to $50 per tonne in 2022.

Ontario’s Court of Appeal is also considering a decision on the constitutionality of the federal carbon tax. That case was heard in mid-April.

READ MORE: Alberta provincial carbon tax dead, as federal tax looms

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney has repealed that province’s carbon tax and said he will launch court action if the federal government imposes a carbon tax on his province.

– With files from The Canadian Press