Hjertaas held a spot this week to attend the Regina hearings, dealing with the attraction of the province's carbon tax and had the opportunity to hear all the arguments of the groups that obtained the intervener status. Hjertaas said he did not think Saskatchewan had presented a strong argument.
"There are several heads of power that the federal government can use to enforce a law like this, and respondents have provided numerous examples of cases where similar things have been done," he said.
The federal carbon tax will come into force in April, although Saskatchewan attorney Mitch McAdam told reporters that Thursday a decision in cases like this can take up to a year. Hjertaas said that regardless of the outcome, the case will make environmental history and will probably be appealed to the Supreme Court of Canada. He added families and producers who have concerns about additional costs, they need to know that the federal plan is structured to reward rather than punish.
"The structure of the federal plan (in the provinces that chose not to do their own plan) means that most of the money collected from the carbon price will be returned directly to people living in that province, who can then choose to spend that money as they want, "he said. "The overall negative economic impact will be negligible, and ideally people will choose to change their behavior to pollute less and therefore pay less in terms of carbon price, which means they could come along."
Some examples Hjertaas has given families to change their behaviors including investing in a more fuel-efficient car, or insulating their homes. Court hearings in Regina ended on Thursday. The judges reserved their decision and did not give a timetable for when it could be finished.
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