Supreme Court rules carbon pricing act is constitutional

When the Supreme Court of Canada ruled on March 25 that the carbon pricing regime is constitutional, members of the Algonquin College community were paying close attention. Professor Mark Brooks teaches in the environmental studies program at Algonquin and is happy with the ruling, which allows the federal government to determine prices within certain provinces. […]
Photo: Maggie van Lith
Smokestacks in Sault Ste. Marie show that without immediate action, pollution levels will continue to rise across Canada.

When the Supreme Court of Canada ruled on March 25 that the carbon pricing regime is constitutional, members of the Algonquin College community were paying close attention.

Professor Mark Brooks teaches in the environmental studies program at Algonquin and is happy with the ruling, which allows the federal government to determine prices within certain provinces.

“It’s a really momentous occasion, it’s a reason for celebration,” said Brooks. “This is a long time coming and now Canada has some regulatory certainty at long last.”

In September, Alberta, Saskatchewan and Ontario challenged the part of the act that allows the federal government to interfere, stating that it is unconstitutional and should be considered a provincial matter.

The carbon pricing is part of the Greenhouse Gas Pollution Pricing Act from 2018. The act sets goals of emission reduction for each province and if they do not meet their targets, the federal government can step in.

Brooks has been keeping up with the developments in this issue and the ways in which Canada has been tackling climate change.

“Since the 1990s Canada has set a number of climate targets over the years all of which we have failed to meet,” said Brooks. “And now the supreme court has said, quite unequivocally, that it is a matter of national concern because it is an existential threat. They were quite clear in their language that it imposes an existential threat to humanity and therefore the Canadian government has jurisdiction as a matter of national interest to implement a carbon pricing policy.”

Jackson Lever is a student in the building science program with several classes in the green architecture program.

“I think the idea is pretty good because it taxes people when they use energy sources that can harm the environment,” said Lever.

Lever has concerns, however, about how carbon pricing will affect drivers.

“As much as electric cars are being produced it’s still more of a capitalist thing where they can sell more combustion engine cars and were gonna keep buying them,” said Lever. “So, with the tax on gas going up it’s just gonna be more expensive. It’s going to be so expensive to the point where it’s not economically viable to own a car.”

This carbon pricing will continue to increase over time and hopefully will help Canada to reduce emissions.

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