Ontario And Ottawa Start Court Battle Over Federal Carbon Tax

The Ontario government squares off against the federal government in court today over Ottawa's imposition of a carbon tax.

Ontario’s ruling Progressive Conservative government has denounced the federal government’s "Greenhouse Gas Pollution Pricing Act" as an illegal tax grab that is driving up the price of gasoline and heating fuel. For its part, the federal Liberal government of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau insists that it's responding to an issue of national concern -- climate change.

The climate change law, and accompanying carbon tax, applies in provinces that have no carbon-pricing regimes of their own that meet national standards, and Ottawa says the legislation aims to "fill in the gaps" where provincial measures are insufficient. But Ontario Premier Doug Ford, who is supported by the provincial governments of Manitoba, Saskatchewan and New Brunswick, argues that Ottawa is illegally intruding on provincial jurisdiction.

The court battle is taking place in Ontario's Court of Appeal and expected to last four days, through to the end of Thursday. Several interveners will be heard during the court proceedings, including the governments of Saskatchewan, British Columbia and Alberta, as well as Indigenous organizations who claim they are acutely vulnerable to global warming, plus various business and environmental groups.