Manitoba is turning to constitutional law expert Dr. Bryan Schwartz of the University of Manitoba for a legal opinion on the federal government’s right to implement a Canada-wide carbon price.
The terms of reference ask whether Ottawa has the constitutional authority to legislate greenhouse gas reductions, enact “backstop legislation that will apply in one province, but not others,” and establish specific carbon pricing regimes, and whether a province has scope to develop its own approach.
Schwartz is expected to report back this fall.
The referral, the Palliser government’s latest response to the pan-Canadian climate plan adopted by the federal government and most provinces and territories last December, comes as pro- and anti-carbon pricing groups form in Manitoba. The new Manitoba Carbon Pricing Coalition was unveiled last Thursday, CBC reports, with representation from the Green Action Centre, the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, and Climate Change Connection, among others.
Last month, the Western Canadian Wheat Growers Association, the Canadian Federation of Independent Business, and the Canadian Taxpayers Federation announced an anti-pricing coalition.
In June, Environment and Climate Minister Catherine McKenna set a year-end deadline for Manitoba and Saskatchewan, the last two provinces holding out against the pan-Canadian plan, to sign on if they want their share of federal emissions reduction dollars under the $2-billion Low Carbon Economy Fund.