Saskatchewan court rules federal carbon-pricing plan constitutional

A Canadian court ruled on Friday that a federal carbon-pricing plan does not violate the constitution, marking a victory for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on one of his trademark policies ahead of the October national election.

In a 3-2 decision, the Saskatchewan Court of Appeal rejected a challenge from the conservative provincial government, which argued the tax could not be imposed by Ottawa. Saskatchewan’s premier, Scott Moe, said he would appeal the decision.

“Though I am disappointed with today’s ruling, our fight will continue on behalf of Saskatchewan people – who oppose the ineffective, job-killing Trudeau carbon tax,” Moe said on Twitter.

Trudeau, citing international commitments on global warming, four years ago campaigned on a promise to introduce a plan to fight climate change, and on April 1 he slapped a federal tax on the four provinces that had refused to introduce their own carbon-reduction plan.

Although Ottawa says the money collected from the tax will be returned to Canadians in the form of rebates, right-leaning parties portray it as a cash grab.

Ontario Premier Doug Ford is also challenging the carbon tax in court, and Alberta’s new Premier Jason Kenney has said he will scrap the provincial levy that was created by his predecessor.

“It is an issue of national concern. Pollution does not know any borders,” Environment Minister Catherine McKenna said after the ruling.

Addressing provincial leaders fighting the plan and Conservative Party leader Andrew Scheer, she added: “Will you stop blocking climate action and join us in fighting climate change?”

(Reporting by Rod Nickel in Winnipeg, Manitoba, and Steve Scherer in Ottawa, Editing by Phil Berlowitz and Jonathan Oatis)

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