BIG FIGHT, BIG STAKES
The more Canadians learn about Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s plan to force a carbon tax on every corner of the country, the less they like it. It’s a phenomenon that echoes what happened in Australia in 2014, when its government repealed a much-despised carbon tax after it had been in place for just two years.Several Canadian provinces already have carbon taxes that meet Trudeau’s approval, while a number of others don’t. As of Jan. 1, the feds were to force their version of the tax on the provinces that won’t bend to their will.This isn’t the end of Canada’s carbon-tax fight though. Now the stakes are even greater.This year, the Saskatchewan Court of Appeal will hear a reference question case that attempts to get to the bottom of whether the feds even have the right to force such a tax on the provinces.The government of Saskatchewan — along with a little help from Doug Ford’s Ontario PC government and Jason Kenney’s United Conservative Party in Alberta — says the feds should butt out of it. It contends it’s a jurisdictional matter and that levelling taxes on emissionsDon’t be surprised if we see it wind itself all the way up to the Supreme Court of Canada.is the business of the provinces.Experts are divided on how it will unfold. Don’t be surprised if we see it wind itself all the way up to the Supreme Court of Canada.Our take is that decisions are best made at the most local level of government possible. If provinces don’t want a carbon tax, or want a different version than the one Trudeau wants to force on them, then so be it.Regardless of what the courts decide though, it’s amazing Trudeau is so keen to ramp up this fight in an election year.He’s revelling in an opportunity to wage this fight. Both Trudeau and Environment Minister Catherine Mckenna love to talk down to Canadians about this issue. It’s all a very odd approach.What a gamble to run for re-election on a platform of forcing a new tax on provinces that don’t want it. It doesn’t seem to be the wisest of campaign tactics.The resolution is unclear, but passions both for and against the tax aren’t going away next year.
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