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Ford government’s legal challenge against federal carbon tax in court today

Ontario’s legal battle against the federal Liberal government’s controversial carbon tax is expected to be heard Monday in the province’s top court.  

Premier Doug Ford’s government will make its case in the Court of Appeal for Ontario this morning to a five-judge panel.

Attorney General Caroline Mulroney is arguing that Ottawa’s new national carbon pricing plan, or the Greenhouse Gas Pollution Pricing Act, is unconstitutional. 

CBC News plans to stream the hearing live on this page starting at 10 a.m. ET. 

toronto doug ford scott moe

The government of Ontario Premier Doug Ford, right, has joined the case of Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe’s government as an intervener, while also filing Ontario’s own legal challenge. (CBC)

Ottawa began levying a carbon tax on greenhouse gas-emitting fuels on April 1 in four provinces — Ontario, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and New Brunswick — that refused to establish their own carbon pricing plan.  

After it was elected last June, Ontario’s Progressive Conservative party swiftly scrapped the previous Liberal government’s cap-and-trade program. The move led to Ottawa imposing a carbon tax on the province.

Ontario, with the help of Saskatchewan, launched a legal challenge last fall against the tax applied to gasoline, light fuel oil, natural gas and propane. The province has also joined Saskatchewan’s case as an intervener. 

Earlier this month, Ontario Environment Minister Rod Phillips reiterated his issues with the carbon tax, saying he believes the province must address climate change — but not through a levy. He has touted Ontario’s own plan, which the Ford government unveiled last November. 

The hearings, which are set to last four days in the downtown Toronto court, will include 15 interveners. Among them are the Canadian Taxpayers Association on the side of Ontario and the Assembly of First Nations on the side of Canada.

Saskatchewan issued its own court challenge against the carbon tax in February. During the proceedings, Canada argued its framework is a regulatory charge, not a tax, and so it has jurisdiction because greenhouse gas emissions are a matter of “national concern.”

Ottawa is expected to make a similar argument on Tuesday.

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