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Polluter-pay decision a small but important step, says NFU
On Friday May 3, 2019 in Swift Current, Saskatchewan the Saskatchewan Court of Appeal released its decision on the Constitutional Reference Case regarding federal jurisdiction over climate change measures. The majority of the Court is of the opinion that the Greenhouse Gas Pollution Pricing Act is not unconstitutional in whole or in part.
“The Saskatchewan Court of Appeal ruling that the federal government has the jurisdiction to enact legislation to control greenhouse gas emissions is a small but important step on the journey to sustainability,” said Stewart Wells, National Farmers Union (NFU) 2nd Vice-President. “We were disappointed the Saskatchewan government went to court instead of working with the federal government. What we need now is cooperation at all levels of government to embrace the polluter pays principle and implement policy that will rapidly reduce emissions in all sectors, help Canadians take responsibility for our past excesses, and make it possible for our young people to have a livable future.”
In its written decision, the Court stated “the factual record presented to the Court confirms that climate change caused by anthropogenic greenhouse gas [GHG] emissions is one of the great existential issues of our time. The pressing importance of limiting such emissions is accepted by all of the participants in these proceedings.”
Farmers are on the front lines, as agriculture is wholly dependent on a stable climate in order to produce the food that feeds the world.
“NFU members, as well as farmers across Canada and around the world, are already facing serious challenges due to floods, drought, wildfires, and intense superstorms that affect our crops, livestock, and infrastructure,” said Katie Ward, NFU President. “In the past few years my Ottawa-area farming community has experienced hundred-year floods twice, and last year’s tornado quite literally hit very close to home. These devastating events will happen in more places, more often and become more severe if Greenhouse Gas emissions are not checked by effective and decisive action all across the economy.”
“The planet does not care about politics, but every day and every dollar spent on politically-motivated court actions is time and money taken from the crucial battle to maintain a planet that people and animals can survive on,” said Glenn Wright, author of the affidavit the NFU submitted to the Court in December 2018. “We have the technology now to turn this around—we don’t have to wait for new ideas or inventions – and in many cases it will be even cheaper and more profitable for farmers to do the right thing.”