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Ministers discuss carbon tax legal challenges during Saskatoon meeting

Click to play video: 'Ministers discussing carbon tax legal challenges during Saskatoon meeting' Ministers discussing carbon tax legal challenges during Saskatoon meeting
WATCH: Several provincial attorneys general met in Saskatoon to discuss their plans to fight the federal government's carbon tax. – Jul 30, 2019

Saskatchewan’s justice minister figures the province’s court battle against the federal carbon tax is costing taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars but that it’s worth it.

Don Morgan said it’s difficult to calculate the exact amount since the province is relying on a mix of in-house and outside lawyers.

READ MORE: Premiers want to ensure local jurisdiction respected when it comes to climate change decisions

The price tag includes court filings, travel expenses and other out-of-pocket costs.

“The importance of trying to determine federal and provincial — where the lines are — is important enough that we’re more than willing to spend the money to try and get clear resolution and clear answers to where we need to be,” Morgan said Tuesday.

WATCH: Saskatchewan, Ontario, Alberta, New Brunswick AGs argue why imposing carbon tax is ‘wrong’

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Saskatchewan, Ontario, Alberta, New Brunswick AGs argue why imposing carbon tax is ‘wrong’ – Jul 30, 2019

Morgan hosted a meeting in Saskatoon with justice ministers and their legal teams from Ontario, New Brunswick and Alberta to strategize their legal arguments against Ottawa’s carbon levy.

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Saskatchewan argues the federally-imposed tax on consumers is unconstitutional, but lost its case in a 3-2 split decision in its Appeal Court. The province appealed to the Supreme Court of Canada and has a tentative hearing date set for December.

WATCH: Alberta Justice Minister says there’s ‘merit’ to having all carbon tax challenges heard at Supreme Court simultaneously 

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Alberta Justice Minister says there’s ‘merit’ to having all carbon tax challenges heard at Supreme Court simultaneously – Jul 30, 2019

The federal carbon tax currently applies in Saskatchewan, Ontario, New Brunswick and Manitoba because those provinces did not implement taxes of their own.

Ontario lost a challenge in its top court last month.

Alberta, which killed the federal tax earlier this year, is to have the levy imposed in January. It has also filed a legal challenge.

READ MORE: Oil pipelines remain contentious as more provinces opposed to federal carbon tax

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Watch below: How to best tackle the federal carbon tax was the focus of a meeting in Saskatoon on Tuesday.

Click to play video: 'Provincial justice ministers meet to discuss federal carbon tax' Provincial justice ministers meet to discuss federal carbon tax
Provincial justice ministers meet to discuss federal carbon tax – Jul 30, 2019

Alberta Justice Minister Doug Schweitzer said his government is trying to catch up with Saskatchewan and Ontario and it’s important for the ministers to compare notes.

He wants the provinces to work together so that the matter is heard by the Supreme Court in a “co-ordinated and thoughtful way.”

LISTEN: Alberta Minister of Justice Doug Schweitzer joins Danielle Smith to discuss the agenda in Saskatoon

Schweitzer said he would like Alberta’s case heard quickly by the province’s Appeal Court, so the Supreme Court has the opportunity to consider the province’s evidence.

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“We’re trying to work out (the) strategy to make sure each province can bring forward its strongest case to the Supreme Court,” he said.

WATCH: Saskatchewan AG says carbon tax challenge varies province to province

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Saskatchewan AG says carbon tax challenge varies province to province – Jul 30, 2019

Ontario Attorney General Doug Downey said his government has until August to file a notice of appeal to the Supreme Court.

“It’s my understanding that (Saskatchewan) may be looking to have some of the cases consolidated so that … the Supreme Court’s hearing more than one at a time,” said Downey.

READ MORE: Ontario court rules federal government’s carbon-pricing law is constitutional

He said there are pros and cons about presenting the cases together, but wouldn’t comment on his government’s preference or strategy.

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“From what I understand Saskatchewan is asking for an extension or for more time.”

WATCH: Saskatchewan loses carbon tax court challenge (May 3, 2019)

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Saskatchewan loses carbon tax court challenge – May 3, 2019

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