Feb. 24, 2020

Alberta finally gets a win! federal carbon tax is unconstitutional

The Alberta Court of Appeal slams Ottawa's unconstitutional intrusion with the carbon tax. 

This is music to my ears. Never thought I would hear again such a robust defence of real federalism and reject the odious sneaky approach of a federal government trying to usurp legitimate provincial powers under the Constitution. 

A wonderful read. Here is a taste of the Court’s decision: 

(348] The Greenhouse Gas Pollution Pricing Act is a massive and unprecedented peacetime- nonemergency invasion of Alberta’s and other provinces’ jurisdiction under the Constitution Act, 1867 by the use of the federal government’s residual lawmaking power. This assault on provincial jurisdiction could only be justified if Parliament validly claimed an environmental emergency that threatened life as we know it on planet earth and required an immediate and comprehensive response to dangerously high levels of greenhouse gas emissions.

[349] If the Greenhouse Gas Pollution Pricing Act is a valid law, the constitutional foundation for provincial governments is badly damaged and their future as an important level of government is in jeopardy. Federalism, as we have known it for over 150 years, is over. Tomorrow Parliament could pass a law prohibiting Albertans from heating their homes above sixteen degrees Celsius, driving gasoline-powered motor vehicles, raising cattle – the source of not only meat and dairy products but methane, a greenhouse gas that is particularly harmful to the environment, and any other activity that the federal government believes contributes to greenhouse gas emissions and global warming.

(350] The federal residual head of power that Canada invokes to justify the Greenhouse Gas Pollution Pricing Act is not a portal through which Parliament is entitled to drive a giant oil sands earth mover that could carry Prince Edward Island in its payload. The residual head of power was never intended to sanction federal forays that left little provincial jurisdiction behind after the federal vehicle departed. The framers of the Constitution Act, 1867 thought they had built a modest roadway that would allow the odd pickup truck to pass to ensure that the Constitution Act, 1867 would work.

Brian Peckford is a former Premier of Newfounland and Labrador, living on Vancouver Island.