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In split decision, Supreme Court says the federal carbon price is constitutional

FJAG

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Ah, but that is where you are blurring the lines.

The red portion is not about the constitutionality of a carbon tax, but the effectiveness, which the court was not out to judge.

If climate change is a national problem, can a national strategy be put in place that enters provincial jurisdiction was the question put before the court. Not whether or not it is the right strategy.

Just a point for anyone who uses "red" to highlight text they want to draw attention to, I find it almost impossible to read the red text against the green background. I tend to use yellow which stands out for me and is very readable. Sorry Altair, not picking on you but I've found a number of posts from various folks that I really have to strain to make out. Not sure if it's my old eyes or a general problem others have too.

Now to get to the issue. I wasn't saying whether it is the right strategy or not. All I'm saying is that with the scope of the problem world-wide, a federal strategy has little more effectiveness than individual provincial strategies. The question is does this justify over-riding a clear and established provincial jurisdiction over the matter.

Note the following when it comes to POGG which comes from the majorities decision.

National concern is a well-established but rarely applied doctrine of Canadian constitutional law derived from the introductory clause of s. 91 of the Constitution, which empowers Parliament to make laws for the peace, order, and good government of Canada, in relation to all matters not coming within the classes of subjects assigned exclusively to the legislatures of the provinces.

Courts must approach a finding that the federal government has jurisdiction on the basis of the national concern doctrine with great caution. The effect of finding that a matter is one of national concern is permanent and confers exclusive jurisdiction over that matter on Parliament.

a matter of national concern must be based on evidence. An onus rests on Canada throughout the national concern analysis to adduce evidence in support of its assertion of jurisdiction.

Note here that the evidence is not as to the need for a uniform carbon tax scheme but evidence of the fact that the Feds have jurisdiction in this area.

Finding that a matter is one of national concern involves a three-step analysis. First, as a threshold question, Canada must establish that the matter is of sufficient concern to the country as a whole to warrant consideration as a possible matter of national concern. Second, the matter must have a singleness, distinctiveness and indivisibility. Third, Canada must show that the proposed matter has a scale of impact on provincial jurisdiction that is reconcilable with the division of powers. The purpose of the national concern analysis is to identify matters of inherent national concern — matters which, by their nature, transcend the provinces.

The court hangs it's findings on this:

Provincial inability is established in this case. First, the provinces, acting alone or together, are constitutionally incapable of establishing minimum national standards of GHG price stringency to reduce GHG emissions. While the provinces could choose to cooperatively establish a uniform carbon pricing scheme, doing so would not assure a sustained approach because the provinces and territories are constitutionally incapable of establishing a binding outcome-based minimum legal standard — a national GHG pricing floor — that applies in all provinces and territories at all times. Second, a failure to include one province in the scheme would jeopardize its success in the rest of Canada.

That's not evidence, its supposition (actually it approaches sophistry). The provinces cooperate on a wide variety of standards that are within their exclusive jurisdiction from securities law to personal property rights to health care and, while those laws aren't one hundred percent uniform, they provide a generally uniform standard across the country.

Brown in his decision hits the nail on the head. Everyone concedes the fact that the pith and substance of this law falls exclusively within the provincial powers under the Constitution. Once that is clear, and it is, the following is the concern.

It is not possible for a matter formerly under provincial jurisdiction to be transformed, when minimum national standards are invoked, into a matter of national concern. To accept that allocating national targets or minimum national standards can serve as a basis for recognizing that some aspect of an area of provincial jurisdiction is distinctly national in scope, and therefore lies outside provincial jurisdiction, would be to accept a model of supervisory federalism by which the provinces can exercise their jurisdiction only as long as they do so in a manner that the federal legislation authorizes. This would open up any area of provincial jurisdiction to unconstitutional federal intrusion once Parliament decides to legislate uniform treatment.

I hate to use a "floodgates" argument, but the majority decision runs roughshod over explicit provincial constitutional powers on the basis of some declared need by the Feds to take control and impose a federal standard over greenhouse gas emissions. This is not a little thing that is merely about some carbon tax. It's a major blow against the provinces' constitutional powers and when the court will support the Feds in declaring that a particular issue is so dire that it is necessary to impose for the Feds to impose national standards in what is clearly a provincial matter. What's next health care, education, administration of justice? Hell, the Feds can't even administer aboriginal affairs properly.

Let's face the truth. The whole carbon tax thing has nothing to do with national standards but everything to do with a Liberal government signaling that it is doing something on the climate change front in order to rope in young voters. It's a lot easier to pass a federal law than to work with the provinces who have a much closer connection with their populations and who might have legitimate grounds for varying standards.

🍻
 

Altair

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Just a point for anyone who uses "red" to highlight text they want to draw attention to, I find it almost impossible to read the red text against the green background. I tend to use yellow which stands out for me and is very readable. Sorry Altair, not picking on you but I've found a number of posts from various folks that I really have to strain to make out. Not sure if it's my old eyes or a general problem others have too.

Now to get to the issue. I wasn't saying whether it is the right strategy or not. All I'm saying is that with the scope of the problem world-wide, a federal strategy has little more effectiveness than individual provincial strategies. The question is does this justify over-riding a clear and established provincial jurisdiction over the matter.

Note the following when it comes to POGG which comes from the majorities decision.







Note here that the evidence is not as to the need for a uniform carbon tax scheme but evidence of the fact that the Feds have jurisdiction in this area.



The court hangs it's findings on this:



That's not evidence, its supposition (actually it approaches sophistry). The provinces cooperate on a wide variety of standards that are within their exclusive jurisdiction from securities law to personal property rights to health care and, while those laws aren't one hundred percent uniform, they provide a generally uniform standard across the country.

Brown in his decision hits the nail on the head. Everyone concedes the fact that the pith and substance of this law falls exclusively within the provincial powers under the Constitution. Once that is clear, and it is, the following is the concern.



I hate to use a "floodgates" argument, but the majority decision runs roughshod over explicit provincial constitutional powers on the basis of some declared need by the Feds to take control and impose a federal standard over greenhouse gas emissions. This is not a little thing that is merely about some carbon tax. It's a major blow against the provinces' constitutional powers and when the court will support the Feds in declaring that a particular issue is so dire that it is necessary to impose for the Feds to impose national standards in what is clearly a provincial matter. What's next health care, education, administration of justice? Hell, the Feds can't even administer aboriginal affairs properly.

Let's face the truth. The whole carbon tax thing has nothing to do with national standards but everything to do with a Liberal government signaling that it is doing something on the climate change front in order to rope in young voters. It's a lot easier to pass a federal law than to work with the provinces who have a much closer connection with their populations and who might have legitimate grounds for varying standards.

🍻
You may be right. Or wrong.

But so long as it's constitutional and in the national interest, it's moot.

I do find it interesting that former PM Harper appointed judges voted 3-2 for the carbon tax, PM Trudeau appoint judges voted 2-1 and a Martin appointed judge voted for.

Pretty bipartisan.
 

Good2Golf

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I do find it interesting that former PM Harper appointed judges voted 3-2 for the carbon tax, PM Trudeau appoint judges voted 2-1 and a Martin appointed judge voted for.

Pretty bipartisan.
Balanced (3-2, as much as an odd number can be distributed) for Conservative-appointed judges.

Disproprtionately three-fold (3-1for Liberal-appointed judges.


So yes, the Conservative-appointed judges acted in a relatively bipartisan/balanced way.

Good observation.
 

Altair

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Balanced (3-2, as much as an odd number can be distributed) for Conservative-appointed judges.

Disproprtionately three-fold (3-1for Liberal-appointed judges.


So yes, the Conservative-appointed judges acted in a relatively bipartisan/balanced way.

Good observation.
When compared to our southern neighbour's where every vote is more or less across party lines, having dissenting judges from both political parties appoint judges is a good sign for confederation.
 

FJAG

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You may be right. Or wrong.

But so long as it's constitutional and in the national interest, it's moot.

I do find it interesting that former PM Harper appointed judges voted 3-2 for the carbon tax, PM Trudeau appoint judges voted 2-1 and a Martin appointed judge voted for.

Pretty bipartisan.

That part about the judges shows why we are so far ahead of the game. I can live with a court decision that is based on a difference of interpretation of the legal interests involved even if I disagree with the result. Our judges tend to make decisions on the basis of legal principles (and in fairness most federal US judges do as well regardless of who appointed them - its at the USSC level where the system breaks down big-time).

🍻
 

shawn5o

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- I thought the chief justice was political in his judgement.

He did state the "climate change is real". There are a good number of scientists who disagree on climate change (I mean man-made climate change).

The science of climate change is not settled - the politics of climate change is settled.

- the second thing that bothers me is the "peace, order and good government" argument. I don't think we have "good government" at present.

I'm pretty sure the legal eagles here will correct me if I'm wrong

Cheers
 

Jarnhamar

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I still don't understand carbon tax.

I pay more out of my monthly pay check to prompt me to change my habits/carbon foot print or something. Come tax season I'm supposed to get that money back.
Am I tax on that money I'm getting back?

Big companies can just pay a fee to avoid the csron tax stuff and the money these big companies are paying to avoid changing their ha its goes into a slush fund for the government to promote "climate friendly" initiatives.

[Going out on a limb, there's very little accountability and oversight for who that money goes to or what it's actually being used for]

Do I have that right?
 

Oldgateboatdriver

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Not quite, Jarnhamar.

The carbon tax is a tax that is meant to change habits in consumers. It works by charging an actual amount on every tons of CO2 (or equivalent greenhouse gas) that will be produced by the consumer. But the "refund" of tax is not based on individual consumption but on average consumption.

So, using just one element as an example, let's look at car use and outlandish amounts for simplicity sake.

Let's say that the average Canadian drives 500 Km a week with vehicles that consume, on average, 10 l/100Km and the carbon tax is currently at $1 per litre. This means that every Canadian spends, on average $50 a week in carbon tax, so the government collect on average $2,600 in tax per Canadian, and so, every year (tax neutral) every Canadian gets back exactly $2,600 dollars back from the Government.

But I, on the other hand, am not average: I am a little on the cowboy side and like to drive my big RAM 2500 that consumes 15 l/100Km for 1000 Km a week. I'll be paying the Government $150 every week in carbon tax for a total of $7,800 a year, but I will still get only $2600 back from the tax man. What I don't get back goes as recompense to two laid back urbanites in Vancouver who decided they didn't need a car and use an all electric transit system and walk the rest of the way.

The government is hoping that the extra $5,200 I pay will convince me to curb my ways and maybe, if I want to drive around a lot more than the average Canadian, I'll buy myself a Smart and cut my consumption to half the Canadian average. Of course, when I do act that way, I end up lowering the Canadian average consumption and the Government collects less taxes overall, but as a result reduces the tax payback at the end of the year accordingly , and so on so that with each iteration, a large segment of the population tries to take one more step to reduce their consumption and get more money back, and so on until no one consumes carbon editing gases anymore. To add to the effect, they also increase the carbon tax from time to time to re-kick-start the citizen's efforts.

You now integrate all aspects of consumption that can create greenhouse gases into the system - not just cars - such as for instance consuming plastics, and the overall effect is, hopefully, a concerted effort by people to avoid paying the tax by changing their habits.
 

ModlrMike

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Or maybe you live in a rural community, or on a farm where everything is so much further away, and you burn that much more fuel just to live. From that perspective, one could argue that this is nothing more than a tax on rural Canadians.
 

SeaKingTacco

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Not quite, Jarnhamar.

The carbon tax is a tax that is meant to change habits in consumers. It works by charging an actual amount on every tons of CO2 (or equivalent greenhouse gas) that will be produced by the consumer. But the "refund" of tax is not based on individual consumption but on average consumption.

So, using just one element as an example, let's look at car use and outlandish amounts for simplicity sake.

Let's say that the average Canadian drives 500 Km a week with vehicles that consume, on average, 10 l/100Km and the carbon tax is currently at $1 per litre. This means that every Canadian spends, on average $50 a week in carbon tax, so the government collect on average $2,600 in tax per Canadian, and so, every year (tax neutral) every Canadian gets back exactly $2,600 dollars back from the Government.

But I, on the other hand, am not average: I am a little on the cowboy side and like to drive my big RAM 2500 that consumes 15 l/100Km for 1000 Km a week. I'll be paying the Government $150 every week in carbon tax for a total of $7,800 a year, but I will still get only $2600 back from the tax man. What I don't get back goes as recompense to two laid back urbanites in Vancouver who decided they didn't need a car and use an all electric transit system and walk the rest of the way.

The government is hoping that the extra $5,200 I pay will convince me to curb my ways and maybe, if I want to drive around a lot more than the average Canadian, I'll buy myself a Smart and cut my consumption to half the Canadian average. Of course, when I do act that way, I end up lowering the Canadian average consumption and the Government collects less taxes overall, but as a result reduces the tax payback at the end of the year accordingly , and so on so that with each iteration, a large segment of the population tries to take one more step to reduce their consumption and get more money back, and so on until no one consumes carbon editing gases anymore. To add to the effect, they also increase the carbon tax from time to time to re-kick-start the citizen's efforts.

You now integrate all aspects of consumption that can create greenhouse gases into the system - not just cars - such as for instance consuming plastics, and the overall effect is, hopefully, a concerted effort by people to avoid paying the tax by changing their habits.
OGBD,

Your example is flawed.

BC has it’s own carbon tax, which goes directly into general provincial revenues.

There is no “rebate” from the Feds or anyone else at tax time. It is truly a tax on the rural and those who commute.
 

Remius

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- I thought the chief justice was political in his judgement.

He did state the "climate change is real". There are a good number of scientists who disagree on climate change (I mean man-made climate change).

The science of climate change is not settled - the politics of climate change is settled.

- the second thing that bothers me is the "peace, order and good government" argument. I don't think we have "good government" at present.

I'm pretty sure the legal eagles here will correct me if I'm wrong

Cheers
I disagree, the science is settled but the politics is not. What is a “good number”? I think the climate change deniers cling to that “good number”. Because climate change isn’t about science it’s about their politics and their feelings as someone put it, I think the science of vaccines was settled too. But a “number” of scientists disagree with that as well. Does not mean they are right.

As to Good Government, I am pretty sure it isn’t about what government is in power or what they are doing, it refers to how our system of government is set up, jurisdictions of power and the legislative, executive and judicial level and the division on power between federal and provincial. Essentially who gets to do what and how that is set up.

So if you say we have a bad gouvernement because the liberals are in power and good one under Harper that isn’t a criticism of “Good Governement”. Rather a criticism of the party in power. Because how governement works and who can do what has not really changed. So if a Westminster style constitutional monarchy is not good in your eyes I would disagree. It is one of the better forms of good government in the world.


This link is not to anything that I would say is the authority on anything but demonstrates what Good Government is.

I could be wrong as this is how I understand good government. Willing to be educated if I’m wrong
 

ModlrMike

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If the science is settled, then it's no longer science, it's dogma. Science by its very nature thrives by being questioned. Again, the problem with climate science is that it's not the scientists that control the narrative.
 

daftandbarmy

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OGBD,

Your example is flawed.

BC has it’s own carbon tax, which goes directly into general provincial revenues.

There is no “rebate” from the Feds or anyone else at tax time. It is truly a tax on the rural and those who commute.

Which is just fine by the current NDP provincial government because there are no NDP MLAs from rural ridings :)
 

Oldgateboatdriver

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OGBD,

Your example is flawed.

BC has it’s own carbon tax, which goes directly into general provincial revenues.

There is no “rebate” from the Feds or anyone else at tax time. It is truly a tax on the rural and those who commute.

It isn't.

Jarnhamar asked about the Federal - tax neutral - carbon tax, not about the B.-C. NDP version of it.

The federal tax is allegedly the "tax-neutral" version, and that is what I described, in a simplified form. If people in B.-C. are willing have a more "progressive" (or "aggressive") form of the tax, it's up to them as long as it equals or exceeds the Federal guideline.
 

FJAG

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I disagree, the science is settled but the politics is not. What is a “good number”? I think the climate change deniers cling to that “good number”. Because climate change isn’t about science it’s about their politics and their feelings as someone put it, I think the science of vaccines was settled too. But a “number” of scientists disagree with that as well. Does not mean they are right.

As to Good Government, I am pretty sure it isn’t about what government is in power or what they are doing, it refers to how our system of government is set up, jurisdictions of power and the legislative, executive and judicial level and the division on power between federal and provincial. Essentially who gets to do what and how that is set up.

So if you say we have a bad gouvernement because the liberals are in power and good one under Harper that isn’t a criticism of “Good Governement”. Rather a criticism of the party in power. Because how governement works and who can do what has not really changed. So if a Westminster style constitutional monarchy is not good in your eyes I would disagree. It is one of the better forms of good government in the world.


This link is not to anything that I would say is the authority on anything but demonstrates what Good Government is.

I could be wrong as this is how I understand good government. Willing to be educated if I’m wrong

Interestingly the six countries listed above Canada all have populations of around 10 million or less.

🤔
 

SeaKingTacco

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It isn't.

Jarnhamar asked about the Federal - tax neutral - carbon tax, not about the B.-C. NDP version of it.

The federal tax is allegedly the "tax-neutral" version, and that is what I described, in a simplified form. If people in B.-C. are willing have a more "progressive" (or "aggressive") form of the tax, it's up to them as long as it equals or exceeds the Federal guideline.
You specifically mentioned a couple “from Vancouver” getting a rebate. I was pointing out that no such thing was possible. Nobody living in BC gets a rebate.
 

Remius

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If the science is settled, then it's no longer science, it's dogma. Science by its very nature thrives by being questioned. Again, the problem with climate science is that it's not the scientists that control the narrative.
So how water goes from solid to liquid to gas is dogma? Or how clouds are formed? Or how we know our hearts pump blood in our body or how mammals reproduce? All dogma?
 

Oldgateboatdriver

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You specifically mentioned a couple “from Vancouver” getting a rebate. I was pointing out that no such thing was possible. Nobody living in BC gets a rebate.
True, but within the context of if it being the Federal tax-neutral version, without reference to the actual BC existing system.

You are however incorrect in stating that "nobody" in BC gets a rebate: While the BC government has elected not to go the tax-neutral way, it is returning a good deal of the money in the pockets of many residents: It's called the Climate Action Tax Credit, so that middle and low income citizen are not hit too hard by the carbon tax.


And, BTW, most economists agree that the current tax levels are not high enough to generate the kind of response needed for Canada to meet its reduction target. The tax would have to be increased many, many folds to get there, proving once again that Canada knows that what it does in this regard makes little difference on a planetary scale - and that we will get serious about it only when the primary contributors become serious themselves.
 

SeaKingTacco

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True, but within the context of if it being the Federal tax-neutral version, without reference to the actual BC existing system.

You are however incorrect in stating that "nobody" in BC gets a rebate: While the BC government has elected not to go the tax-neutral way, it is returning a good deal of the money in the pockets of many residents: It's called the Climate Action Tax Credit, so that middle and low income citizen are not hit too hard by the carbon tax.


And, BTW, most economists agree that the current tax levels are not high enough to generate the kind of response needed for Canada to meet its reduction target. The tax would have to be increased many, many folds to get there, proving once again that Canada knows that what it does in this regard makes little difference on a planetary scale - and that we will get serious about it only when the primary contributors become serious themselves.
I stand corrected.
 
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