The Alberta Court of Appeal has deemed the federal carbon tax unconstitutional
On Feb. 24, the Alberta Court of Appeal ruled against the federal carbon tax in a 4-1 majority decision.
“This consumer carbon tax is now illegal, therefore we expect the Government of Canada to comply with the order of the court today, remove the federal carbon tax on Albertans and immediately refund any and all tax collected to date,” Alberta Premier Jason Kenney said in a release.
“Alberta argued that the Constitution does not permit the federal government to put a provincial minimum price on carbon, and, by imposing a one-size-fits-all carbon tax, Ottawa ignored constitutional provincial authority to legislate in ways that reflect local conditions and circumstances.”
This decision comes after the federal government won a 3-2 majority ruling in Saskatchewan in May 2019 on that province’s appeal to the carbon tax, which is now headed to the Supreme Court of Canada.
As a result, Lynn Jacobson, president of the Alberta Federation of Agriculture (AFA), isn’t celebrating the Alberta Court of Appeal’s decision yet.
“Nothing is really going to be decided until the Supreme Court actually makes the decision,” he said to Farms.com. “Claiming victory at this point in time over the carbon tax is a little premature.”
The carbon tax has not gone over well in Alberta since coming into effect this year. Farmers in the province are not happy about the tax, especially on propane and natural gas, which have become a necessity for farmers to dry grain, Jacobson said.
“Our industry is a carbon-based industry,” said Jacobson. “So, when you put a tax on carbon use – the big thing was propane and natural gas – it directly comes down to farmers because we don't pass it on.”
As for the upcoming Supreme Court ruling, the AFA knows that, no matter what happens, there will be some form of carbon tax, Jacobson said. However, the AFA wants to ensure the ag industry in Alberta gets the recognition for what it has done already to mitigate carbon and have those contributions taken into account in a future tax strategy.
“We're still going to be pressing” for the federal government to recognize farmers’ carbon sequestration efforts, Jacobson said.
artisteer/iStock/Getty Images Plus photo