“Today, the Government of Alberta will be in the Alberta Court of Appeal to stand up for Albertans and challenge Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s carbon tax. Expert evidence presented in court shows that the similar carbon tax brought in by the previous Alberta government cost the province 10,000 to 16,000 jobs. By defending Albertans in court, we are fulfilling our commitment to create jobs and economic opportunity.
“We believe that the federal carbon tax, which will be imposed on Albertans on Jan. 1, is unconstitutional. We believe that each province has the right to set its own policies to fight climate change and that the federal government’s one-size-fits-all federal tax, which punishes people for driving to work and heating their homes, is not the best policy for Alberta. That is why our government promised to go to court to try to stop it, and that is what we are doing.
“Prime Minister Trudeau’s carbon tax effectively amends the Constitution by expanding the power of the federal government to dictate policy in areas the Constitution says is to be regulated by the provinces, like the regulation of companies and activities that produce greenhouse gases. We are committed to reducing emissions here in Alberta, but in a way that strikes the best balance for our province between environmental concerns and economic activity.
“Our argument today is based in part on our government’s Technology Innovation and Emissions Reduction System, a made-in-Alberta plan to reduce emissions from industrial emitters. This shows that there are a number of policy options for addressing greenhouse gas emissions that can take into account local circumstances without putting the burden directly on families and small businesses. Even if you support a carbon tax, it doesn’t mean that the federal government’s carbon tax is the best or only approach for every province. It is up to us to decide what works for us; it’s not the business of Ottawa to tell us what is best for us.
“Our Constitution is not based on the idea that ‘Ottawa knows best.’ Each province is unique, with different economies, different demographics, and different geographies. That is why our federation is structured to give provinces the right to make our own laws and regulations over businesses when it comes to issues like reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
“Quebec agrees with us on this point, which is why they have joined us in intervening in the appeals by Saskatchewan and Ontario to the Supreme Court of Canada. This is notable because, even though the federal government has endorsed their own cap-and-trade system, Quebec believes that the provinces are perfectly capable of fighting climate change without heavy-handed intrusion from Ottawa. They also recognize, as we do, that this federal meddling in provincial affairs is likely to exacerbate further divisions in our national union. We are proud to work with our coalition of provincial allies – a coalition that represents the vast majority of Canadians against this federal overreach.
“Our government has been clear: we will use every legal tool at our disposal to fight the federal carbon tax and stand up for the rights of Albertans. We will never apologize for defending our province’s interests. We will never stop working for jobs. And we will never hesitate to do what is best for our economy.
“Alberta has a strong and proud history of advancing our province’s rights and I am proud that our government will continue that legacy by fighting the federal government’s carbon tax in court.”