The Ontario government recently announced that it will be challenging the federal government’s carbon tax in court. Ontario will most probably lose. To understand why, we need to consider four issues:
1. The Ontario Court of Appeal cannot hear any of the political arguments the Ontario government has against the tax. What can it hear?
2. What taxes is Ottawa allowed to impose under our constitution?
3. What does the so-called carbon tax actually tax, and who gets to keep the money it collects?
4. Ontario (like Saskatchewan) has said the tax is unconstitutional because it treats different provinces unequally. Is that true?