LILLEY: Carbon tax fight needs to keep going


An employee of a Liberal MP appears to have an odd hobby, peeling stickers off of gas pumps and then bragging about it. Mike Whitehouse, listed as chief of staff to Sudbury MP Paul Lefebvre, posted on social media that he had torn off his 100th anti-carbon tax sticker from a gas pump.

“A milestone of sorts,” Whitehouse posted to Facebook. “Tonight, I ripped off and destroyed my 100th of Doug Ford’s propaganda stickers. Proud to do my part to push back on Ford’s grotesque reign of incompetence.”

Call it part of an ongoing fight between Liberals and Conservatives over putting a price on carbon, although this act may actually be illegal.

Ontario Premier Doug Ford ordered gas stations across the province to put stickers on every pump detailing the rising costs the carbon tax will add to the price of a litre of fuel. It’s part of the province’s overall fight against the carbon tax, one that includes a court challenge that is still ongoing.

Before the federal election fully got underway, Ford said that the people and not the courts would decide the fate of the carbon tax. Some took that to mean Ford would drop Ontario’s court challenge if the Liberals won.

As someone who was in the room when Ford made those remarks, I took it to mean that he thought, and hoped, that the Conservatives would win.

Ontario Energy Minister Greg Rickford said Tuesday that the province won’t be dropping the carbon tax fight.

“There’s an overwhelming number of jurisdictions across this country who stand opposed to this tax and we take our own measures to fight climate change,” Rickford said.

Ontario lost its legal case at the Court of Appeal earlier this year, as did Saskatchewan. Both have appealed to the Supreme Court of Canada but have not yet appeared. Alberta meanwhile is launching its own appeal of the tax.

We can add to those three the support of both Quebec and New Brunswick who are backing the Saskatchewan case.

Even with the election result, the provinces should keep up their fight against the carbon tax because I believe that fundamentally this tax is unconstitutional.

The federal government has a clear taxing power that if Trudeau had used properly would not be challengeable in court. As it is, this tax didn’t follow that power and in fact, the federal government argues it isn’t a tax.

The legislation bringing it in also violates the principle that dates back to the Magna Carta, stating there will be no taxation without representation. Under Trudeau’s plan, cabinet decides where the tax will be applied and what the tax rate is, meaning they can raise or lower the rate at will without another vote in Parliament.

But fundamentally this carbon tax still deserves to be fought because it violates the spirit of federalism and how this country should work.

While all provinces are trying to take action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, the Trudeau Liberals just don’t like some of them. He’s told the other provinces that they can have any plan they want to tackle climate change as long as he approves it.