The NFU acted as an intervenor in the case, in which the court ruled the federal government can impose nationwide pricing standards. The 6-3 decision allows Ottawa to ensure every province will have a price on carbon to curb greenhouse gas emissions.
The decision was fought tooth and nail by some provinces, including Saskatchewan, Ontario and Alberta, which said national resources are provincial jurisdiction and as such couldn’t fall under the GGPPA.
The NFU said in a press release it supports the decision not because it endorses greenhouse gas pricing measures directly, but because it supports the federal government’s ability to create policies to reduce emissions.
“This decision clears the way for strong federal leadership and enforcement powers coupled with ongoing federal, provincial, and territorial work rooted in the principles and traditions of co-operative federalism,” said NFU president Katie Ward in a press release.
The support comes out of the union’s stance that the current climate emergency is very real and requires strong action from the Canadian government.
“The facts are clear,” said NFU member and Saskatchewan farmer Glenn Wright. “We must accelerate the transition to clean energy and efficiency in order to mitigate the severity of the climate crisis, safeguard our food supply, and protect biodiversity, and we must turn our attention to creating opportunities through collaboration across multiple jurisdictions.”
Farmers having federal government support in reducing emissions will be a key component of any program that does so, says Darrin Qualman, NFU Director of Climate Crisis Policy.
“This decision clears the way for the federal government to expand efforts to support farmers in reducing emissions,” he said. “Farmers want to lead in the struggle to safeguard the climate and food system and reduce emissions, but we need strong federal partnership.”
The federal government brought the carbon tax into existence in 2019, and challenges were filed by provinces soon after.
The Saskatchewan Court of Appeal ruled 3-2 in favour of the federal plan in May 2019 and the Ontario Court of Appeal ruled 4-1 for Ottawa in June 2019. Alberta, meanwhile, ruled 4-1 in favour of the province’s stance in February 2020.
All were appealed to the Supreme Court of Canada, which made its ruling on the morning of Mar. 25.