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Ontario taking carbon tax fight to top court

By Dave Flaherty/The Oshawa Express

The provincial government isn’t quite ready to throw in the towel on its challenge of Canada’s carbon tax.

Minister of Environment, Conservation and Parks Jeff Yurek confirmed Ontario is appealing a previous decision, which ruled the carbon tax wasn’t unconstitutional, to the Supreme Court of Canada.

In June, the Ontario Court of Appeal rejected the province’s position on the tax, which came into effect on April 1, 2019.

“Despite this decision, we remain committed to using every tool at our disposal to fight against the job-killing carbon tax, which is making life more expensive for Ontario’s hardworking individuals, families, and businesses,” Yurek said in a statement.

The province alleges the tax could increase costs for the average Ontario household $648 a year by 2022.

The Liberals plan places a $20 per tonne price on carbon, with $10 per tonne increases expected until it reaches $50 per tonne in 2022.

The federal government says the carbon tax is needed to meet emissions reduction targets under the Paris Accord.

Countries who signed the pact promised to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 30 per cent of 2005 levels by 2030.

Provinces which do not have a carbon emission pricing had the tax imposed on them.

The Ford government cancelled Ontario’s previous cap-and-trade system, developed under the Wynne Liberals, last summer.

In November 2018, the PCs unveiled its “Made-In-Ontario Environmental Plan,” which the province claims aligns with the Paris Accord commitments without taxing Ontarians.

Saskatchewan, Alberta, Manitoba and New Brunswick are also opposing the tax.

Greenpeace Canada sued the Ford government over the cancellation of the cap-and-trade program.

Keith Stewart, a spokesperson for Greenpeace, called for Ontario on Twitter to “get out the way” if it isn’t willing to “lead on climate change.”

“At a moment when the Amazon and the Arctic are literally on fire, it makes no sense to waste millions of Ontario tax dollars trying to make the climate crisis worse,” Stewart tweeted.