Manitoba will continue challenge of federal carbon tax: Pallister
Premier Brian Pallister.
WINNIPEG -- Hours after the Supreme Court of Canada ruled that the federal government's carbon price is constitutional Premier Brian Pallister said the decision reaffirms that the feds don't have a right to tell provinces how to address the issue.
Pallister told reporters on Thursday, he will continue Manitoba’s challenge of the federal carbon tax.
"We have a made in Manitoba plan. Our plan is more stringent than many other provinces that the federal government said could go ahead with theirs and Manitoba's green plan will work best if we have Manitobans working at it together as we did when we developed it," said Pallister.
Manitoba's plan included a $25 per tonne tax that would not rise, compared to the federal one which was supposed to rise to $50 per tonne by 2022. However, Pallister removed that plan after the federal government said it was not high enough.
Back in 2019, the Manitoba government filed a court challenge of the federal carbon tax saying the tax exceeded Ottawa's constitutional authority.
"We're optimistic with the decision and the wording in it, that we have a case to make and we're looking forward to hearing the court rule on our own."
Pallister referred to a line in the decision that said the feds can't impose their will on provinces that already developed a plan and are committed to taking action against climate change.
"Manitoba has demonstrated a commitment, we have developed our own plan, and we are implementing it. So we believe that the federal government should not have the right to jump over top of what Manitobans worked so hard on."
The premier wouldn't say what the new price point would be for Manitoba but he noted it is more stringent than the plan the federal government has.
He said the court also mentioned the importance of provincial jurisdiction in this area.
"In other words, the federal government has the right to impose where none exists, but they don't have a right, based on my interpretation of these rulings, they don't have the right to impose a plan where one exists that is more stringent than the one they're proposing."
Pallister also touched on the work that the province has done to invest in hydroelectric energy and he thinks it is "unfair" that the federal government hasn't recognized that.
"The fact remains that we've invested literally billions and billions of dollars and the federal government gives us zero credit for having done so."
Pallister added he is very hopeful that Manitoba will win its court decision, as he knows, the government and thousands of Manitobans have worked hard to build the province's green plan.
He added that the ruling Thursday reinforces his confidence in the case that the province has.
"I think you'll see that it really makes it very clear that this is provincial jurisdiction, and that the federal government really doesn't have an unfettered right to impose itself on this area."
He said he applauds the federal government for taking action on climate change but doesn't agree with its "unwillingness" to support other plans that are also fighting climate change such as what Manitoba has proposed.
- With files from the Canadian Press.