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The stickers show the federal carbon tax adding 4.4 cents per litre to the price of gas now, rising to 11 cents a litre in 2022. They do not include information about rebates available to residents.
Morgan said in the decision that the message was “blatantly advantage-seeking by a political party and a misuse of a governing party’s legislative power.”
He pointed to a statement Energy Minister Greg Rickford made in April 2019 in which he said the province would “stick it to the Liberals and remind the people of Ontario how much this job-killing, regressive carbon tax costs.” That, said Morgan, shows the true purpose of the sticker was partisan.
Rickford said he respects the court decision, “but our government will always stand up for the people of Ontario when it comes to matters that make everyday life more expensive for hardworking families.”
The Canadian Civil Liberties Association, which brought the challenge, is thrilled, according to the director of its fundamental freedoms program.
“CCLA is very pleased that the Court recognized these stickers for what they are, an attempt to compel private entities to convey a government’s partisan political message,” Cara Zwibel said in a statement.
A spokesman for the Ministry of the Attorney General declined to comment, saying the department is reviewing the decision.
“As this matter is still in the appeal period, it would be inappropriate for me to comment further,” Brian Gray said.
But the Official Opposition urged the government not to appeal.
“He has already wasted enough of people’s money on his anti-carbon price stickers that don’t stick — a partisan and dishonest propaganda campaign,” NDP Energy and Climate Crisis Critic Peter Tabuns said in a written statement.
Ontario has challenged Ottawa’s right to impose a carbon tax, and the Supreme Court is set to hear that case in September.
— With files by Shawn Jeffords.