16 groups to intervene in Saskatchewan carbon tax court challenge

By Chris Vandenbreekel/650 CKOM
December 11, 2018 - 8:47am

Saskatchewan’s court challenge of the federal carbon tax is growing after a judge announced all 16 groups who applied for intervener status in the case will be allowed to make arguments.

The written decision, announced Monday, said all submissions from interveners must be limited to legal arguments related to the carbon tax.

The Saskatchewan government is arguing the tax is unconstitutional, because it applies at different rates to different provinces. The federal government is planning to apply the tax at different rates to reach a minimum carbon price across the country.

The interveners backing up Saskatchewan’s position include the governments of Ontario and New Brunswick, Alberta’s United Conservative Party, the Agricultural Producers Association of Saskatchewan, the Canadian Taxpayers Federation, SaskPower, SaskEnergy and the International Emissions Trading Association.

On the other side of the case will be the British Columbia government, Assembly of First Nations, Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation, David Suzuki Foundation, Ecofiscal Commission of Canada, Intergenerational Climate Coalition, Canadian Public Health Association, Canadian Environmental Law Association and Climate Justice Saskatoon.

Saskatchewan Justice Minister Don Morgan said in a news conference Monday afternoon the long list will extend the length of the court challenge, but he believes it was the correct call by the court to allow everyone to join in.

“It’s the right decision,” he said. “Whatever judgement comes out of the Saskatchewan Court of Appeal, we will be able to say that everybody who wanted to be heard has been heard.”
The province didn’t oppose the inclusion of any groups, he noted.

The case is set to be heard over the course of two days, on Feb. 13 and 14, which could lead to a time crunch for all parties to make their legal arguments.

Morgan said the court hasn’t indicated an extension of the hearing, but he expressed full confidence in their ability to schedule adequate time for the challenge.

“They’re good at managing those kinds of things,” he said. “Judges will just say … ‘we’ll give you a short period of time, make your argument and make it succinct.'”

He added he expects the case to end up being heard by the Supreme Court of Canada no matter what the Court of Appeal’s ruling is, and the Saskatchewan challenge would likely be combined with Ontario’s case against the federal government.

—With files from The Canadian Press

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