The Supreme Court of Canada ruled in a 6-3 decision on Thursday morning that the controversial carbon tax is lawful.
"Climate change is real," Chief Justice Richard Wagner wrote in his ruling. "It is caused by greenhouse gas emissions resulting from human activities, and it poses a grave threat to humanity's future. The only way to address the threat of climate change is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions."
As a result, Wagner said that the government was legally able to pass the Greenhouse Gas Pollution Pricing Act, which established the carbon tax in Canada. The tax was challenged by Ontario, Saskatchewan, and Alberta, where local conservative-leaning governments stringently opposed the plan.
"All it does is to require persons to pay for engaging in specific activities that result in the emission of greenhouse gases. The Act leaves individual consumers and businesses free to choose how they will respond, or not, to the price signals," Wagner wrote.
Three Justices dissented on the ruling, arguing that the law infringes on the rights of the provinces and provides the federal government with extraordinary taxational power.
"When an Act endows a select few with the power to rewrite, and thus re-engineer, a law which affects virtually every aspect of individuals’ daily lives and provincial industrial, economic and municipal activities, it goes too far," argued Justice Suzanne Côté in her dissent. "The Act as it is currently written employs a discretionary scheme that knows no bounds."
The government has already chosen to dramatically raise taxes under the act since its inception. Late last year, the government announced that the tax would be increasing by 240 percent by the year 2030, an action it could take without an act of Parliament.
Justice Russell Brown and Justice Malcolm Rowe both dissented against the majority ruling as well.
The ruling comes as a major blow to conservatives and taxpayer advocates across the country, who have expressed vigorous opposition to the carbon tax.