The battle lines have been drawn in the looming Saskatchewan court battle over the federal carbon tax.
Friday marked the last day for groups to apply for intervener status in the province’s constitutional challenge of Ottawa’s carbon pricing plan, which is set to take effect on Jan. 1.
Provincial Justice Minister Don Morgan said in a news conference Friday afternoon the challenge was being supported by the governments of Ontario and New Brunswick, along with the Agricultural Producers Association of Saskatchewan.
The federal government position is being backed by the BC government and the David Suzuki Foundation, as well as the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation.
The case will be heard in February in Saskatchewan’s Court of Appeals, a month after the tax is set to take effect.
Morgan told reporters the Saskatchewan government has a strong position in the case because the tax strategy targets specific provinces that don’t have a carbon pricing plan equaling $20/tonne by the new year.
“Had they chosen to say everybody’s going to get the same rate on every item that they produce, there’s no doubt that’s within federal jurisdiction,” he said.
“But they’ve chosen to say ‘no, we’re distinguishing against this province and that province.'”
The justice minister added there’s hope the government of Saskatchewan can end up working with the federal Liberals to show the province is still making progress in reducing emissions — specifically through agricultural carbon sinks, the Boundary Dam carbon capture project and limits placed on large emitters.
“We’re hoping they’ll be collaborative and they’ll sit down and say ‘okay, what’s our overall goal?'” he said.
“We think we can meet or exceed the federal requirements.”
The justice minister noted while an injunction application to stop the tax is possible, Saskatchewan would likely lose because it would affect jurisdictions outside provincial borders.