'We’re disappointed': Ontario will respect Supreme Court ruling on federal carbon pricing
TORONTO -- Ontario’s environment minister said that while the provincial government is disappointed in the Supreme Court’s ruling to uphold the federal carbon pricing legislation, it will respect their decision.
On Thursday, the court upheld a portion of the Liberal Greenhouse Gas Pollution Pricing Act, which sets a minimum price on carbon emissions, in a split decision.
Any province that does not have their own carbon pricing system will now, under the act, be subject to federal rates.
Ontario, along with Alberta and Saskatchewan, has been staunchly opposed to the idea of national carbon pricing since the beginning. In 2018, Ontario Premier Doug Ford used the legislation in his campaign platform, promising to spend $30 million to fight the price on carbon emissions.
However, in 2019 the Ontario Court of Appeal ruled against the Ford government, forcing the province to appeal the decision in the Supreme Court.
Speaking to reporters on Thursday after the Supreme Court ruling was released, Ontario Minister of the Environment Jeff Yurek said the province will respect the decision.
“We’re disappointed at the decision from the Supreme Court,” Yurek said. “But, you know, we are going to move forward with our plan for the environment, which is reducing our emissions 30 percent before 2005 levels.”
Meanwhile, opposition leaders praised the ruling, calling the court battle a “pricey war on climate action” and a “a political power play at the taxpayers’ expense.”
“Today's ruling affirms that Ford's political game-playing to justify his anti-environment crusading doesn't hold up,” NDP Leader Andrea Horwath said on social media. “We only have two choices: the federal price on carbon, or a provincial climate plan that benefits the people of this province. Doug Ford chose the federal carbon tax.”
Ontario Liberal Leader Steven Del Duca said the court challenge was on par with the federal Conservative Party’s decision not to include the line “climate change is real” in their policy documents.
“Doug Ford and his band of climate change deniers are holding Ontario back from tackling the greatest challenge of our generation,” he said in a statement.
“Today’s court ruling confirms what we already knew, that Doug Ford’s fight against the carbon tax was nothing more than a political power play at the taxpayers’ expense.”
Mike Schreiner, leader of the province’s Green Party, called on the Ford government to “stop wasting our hard-earned tax dollars sabotaging climate solutions with stickers that don’t stick and politically motivated lawsuits.”
“If we’ve learned anything from the COVID pandemic, it is the need to listen to and act on the science when confronted with a crisis,” Schreiner said. “And the climate crisis is at our doorstep.”