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APAS president happy with court challenge hearing on carbon tax

APAS has intervenor status in the lawsuit between the Government of Saskatchewan and the Government of Canada
seeding case by ron walter
Seeding case (Ron Walter)

Pretty much satisfied is how Todd Lewis, president of the Agricultural Producers Association of Saskatchewan (APAS) described the first day in court on the carbon tax case.

APAS has intervenor status in the lawsuit between the Government of Saskatchewan and the Government of Canada. The federal government has imposed what it calls carbon pricing on any Canadian province deemed to not have a suitable carbon pricing plan.

The province claims the federal government doesn’t have the jurisdiction to levy the carbon tax unless it is uniform to all provinces.

Lewis said lawyers spent a lot of time talking about a judicial precedent on which Crown Zellerbach challenged federal jurisdiction over environmental regulations. The federal government won.

“But that was salt water, not fresh water. The feds have clear rights over marine water.”

The five Saskatchewan judges hearing the case asked “questions to get information. There was nothing political in the questions.”

Arguments opposing the tax by the Government of Saskatchewan, other intervenors, the governments of Ontario, and New Brunswick “made common sense.”

The APAS legal submission was based on the unconstitutionality of the carbon tax, said Lewis.

“We made the point that the Government of Saskatchewan is suited best to regulate this. They understand Saskatchewan better than the federal government.”

He said APAS is also concerned that even with an exemption for agriculture, farmers will still be paying the tax as suppliers of inputs and machinery will pass on the tax to customers by higher prices.

In talking with the APAS lawyers after the hearing Lewis said he was pretty happy with the hearing and looked forward to the next day when the Government of Canada made its case.

This hearing is not the end of the lawsuit.

“With something this political it’s going to the Supreme Court (of Canada), whichever side wins.”

Ron Walter can be reached at 

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