Premier Doug Ford’s government will make its case in the Court of Appeal for Ontario this morning to a five-judge panel as Ontario’s battle against Ottawa’s carbon tax gets underway in the province’s top court in downtown Toronto. The hearings, are set to last four days.
The province’s Progressive Conservative government has denounced the Greenhouse Gas Pollution Pricing Act as an illegal tax grab that will drive up the price of gasoline and heating fuel.
The federal Liberal government, on the other hand, insists it’s responding appropriately to an issue of national concern – climate change.
Ottawa began a carbon tax on greenhouse gas-emitting fuels on April 1 in four provinces — Ontario, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and New Brunswick — that refused to establish their own carbon pricing plan.
After being elected last June, Ontario’s Progressive Conservative party quickly scrapped the previous Liberal government’s cap-and-trade program. The move led to Ottawa imposing a carbon tax on the province.
Ontario, with the help of Saskatchewan, launched a legal challenge last fall against the tax applied to gasoline, light fuel oil, natural gas and propane.
Earlier this month, Ontario Environment Minister Rod Phillips (pictured below), said he believes the province must do something about climate change — but not through a levy. He has promoted instead Ontario’s own plan, which the Ford government unveiled last November that involves a fund that commits public money to entice companies to reduce emissions.
It is called the Preserving and Protecting our Environment for Future Generations: A Made-In-Ontario Environment Plan and its goal is to keep the province working toward meeting the emissions-reduction goals in the Paris Accord. Under that international agreement, Canada has committed to reducing emissions by 30 per cent of 2005 levels by 2030.
What Is Happening at the Current Hearings in Toronto?
A variety of groups will be heard from, including provinces such as Saskatchewan and British Columbia, Alberta Conservatives, Indigenous organizations who point out they are acutely vulnerable to global warming, as well as business and environmental groups.
The hearings will be available to live stream.
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