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QUESTION PERIOD — Environment and Climate Change

Carbon Tax

October 31, 2023

My question is for the Leader of the Government. Leader, in its March 2021 ruling on the constitutionality of the Greenhouse Gas Pollution Pricing Act, the Supreme Court indicated that one of the reasons why the federal government is able to impose minimum national standards on greenhouse gas pricing is as follows, and I quote:

 . . . the failure to include one or more provinces or localities in a legislative scheme would jeopardize the successful operation of the scheme in other parts of the country.

Leader, by delaying the application of the carbon tax on fuel oil, the Trudeau government obviously decided to favour the Atlantic provinces, where that type of heating is still common. The foundation on which the carbon pricing system is based is starting to crumble. According to the Supreme Court’s criteria, the reason why the federal government has authority in this area is to impose standards on all the provinces.

Senator Gold, is this another nail in the coffin of the carbon tax?

Hon. Marc Gold (Government Representative in the Senate) [ - ]

Thank you for the question and for the analysis of Supreme Court jurisprudence. What the government announced applies across Canada, and therefore does not concern the test as you described it, although this is not the main thrust of my response.

The main thrust of my response is that the adjustments made to the plan to fight climate change are still being reviewed, in light of the circumstances, including their impact on the people who are required to pay costs that are not necessarily the same as in other areas. That’s my response.

However, we saw the entire Atlantic caucus join in the Prime Minister’s announcement. In fact, Atlantic MPs boasted that their effectiveness was the reason why the carbon tax would not apply back home in their constituencies.

Does that mean that the two Liberal MPs from Alberta, the four from Manitoba and the 76 from Ontario are ineffective?

Senator Gold [ - ]

Far from it. It means that a caucus as broad and diverse as the caucus of this government includes diverging interests and an openness to discussion aimed at reaching an appropriate solution under the circumstances.

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