Greens welcome Supreme Court decision but caution much remains to be done to tackle the climate crisis

OTTAWA  -- The Green Party of Canada welcomed today’s Supreme Court ruling that the federal Liberal government’s carbon pricing system is constitutional. The Supreme Court confirms that the federal government has the authority to put in place a carbon price on any province or territory that does not have its own tax in place. 

“Today is a good and exciting day for all Canadians, because in ruling that the federal carbon tax is constitutional, the Supreme Court has acknowledged that carbon pricing is a key element, and one of the most efficient and effective ways for us to tackle the climate emergency,” said Green Party Leader Annamie Paul. 

“We are encouraged to see that the Court has recognised not only that climate change is real, but that it is a matter of national concern. The decision also acknowledged that the climate emergency constitutes a threat to our national security requiring a coordinated response across levels of government. We hope that this ruling will put to rest any further debate on the existence of climate change or the need to tackle it.

“This ruling is also very welcome because it offers even greater scope to heighten our climate ambition. As we contemplate and set in motion a plan to tackle the climate emergency, it is imperative that we take concrete, bold action, and today’s ruling opens up an entirely new set of possibilities for a Green Recovery.

“However, while today’s news is reason for celebration, a carbon tax is not a plan in and of itself. Key elements of a truly ambitious climate action strategy - which matches the scale of the problem - are still missing from the government's plan. We still have no greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reduction target that would allow us to meet our international obligations to keep the global average temperature below 1.5 degrees Celsius. Bill C-12 falls far short of providing any adequate timetable or a credible framework of accountability to reduce our GHGs. The government continues to build pipelines, allow fracking for gas and approve oil exploration projects; clearly the element of urgency has still not been fully understood.

The lack of a credible plan for a Green Recovery is not lost on the youth climate activists of this country, who have expressed their mounting frustration on the unacceptably slow pace and ambition of the government’s actions and question why there is little opportunity for youth or Indigenous Peoples to participate in decision-making on climate action.

"Greens have long proposed innovative, implementable solutions for tackling the climate crisis. We have proposed implementing a carbon border tax, with the potential to create a North American carbon border adjustment, which will further incentivize GHG reductions. We have proposed that Canada invest post-pandemic stimulus money into green infrastructure, renewable energy, and deep retrofits - also essential elements of a Green Recovery, along with a carbon tax.

“So, if we are truly going to respect our commitment to the global community, to this generation and future generations of people in Canada and around the world, the Supreme Court ruling serves as a reminder that no one province and no country can do it alone. As we invest hundreds of billions of dollars into recovering from the pandemic, let’s seize this opportunity of a lifetime to invest in a Green Recovery plan. Today’s ruling was a greenlight, let’s make sure we build on it, and do what needs to be done. We are stronger together.”

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For more information or to arrange an interview:

Rosie Emery

Press Secretary