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Is The Kyoto Accord Constitutional Essay

3138 words - 13 pages

Background:The Canadian Parliament has recently ratified Bill C-678 in order to implement the Kyoto Accord into Canadian law. The Kyoto Accord was established in Japan in December of 1997. It is an international agreement that sets targets to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions that cause climate to change. These greenhouse gases include primarily carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide. The accord calls upon the industrial nations to reduce their emissions of these greenhouse gases by at least five percent below the 1990 level by 2008-2012. However, since most countries emissions have increased since 1996 the actual greenhouse gases reduction is much higher; for example Canada would require a reduction of greenhouse gases by almost thirty percent in order to meet 1996 levels.IntroductionThe Canadian province that will be hardest hit, by the implementation of the Kyoto Accord, will be the Province of Alberta. Currently they are highest per capita emitter of carbon dioxide in Canada and the second highest emitter of carbon dioxide with twenty-seven percent of the total Canadian carbon dioxide emissions. This is because Alberta is the largest user and exporter of fossil fuels, such as oil, coal and natural gas. According to Alberta's Premier Ralph Klein the Kyoto Accord could cost the Alberta economy approximately $5.5 billion Canadian a year and result in the loss of approximately 70 000 jobs.Therefore, the Alberta Government has brought about a case to the Alberta Court of Appeal asserting Federal Government's legislation is ultra vires with regard to implementing the Kyoto Accord. The Alberta Government argued Bill C-678 violates provincial jurisdiction as a result of s. 92 (13) of the Constitution Act, 1867, Property and Civil Rights. The Federal Government on the other hand argued that they had the jurisdiction to implement Bill C-678 due to its POGG, Criminal Law, Treaty Making and Trade and Commerce Power.After considering all the arguments from the Federal Government as well as the Alberta Government the Alberta Court of Appeal rules in a unanimous, 5-0 decision that the Act Implementing the Kyoto Accord, also known as Bill C-678, is intra vires and therefore is within the jurisdiction of the Federal Government. The court finds that the act is intra vires on the grounds of the National Concern Doctrine of POGG, the Criminal Law Power, the Treaty Making Power and the Trade and Commerce Power with regard to General Trade Affecting the Dominion as a Whole, Inter-provincial Trade and International Trade.POGGThe first issue before the court is whether or not the Federal Government is intra vires with regard to implementing Bill C-678 under its residual powers clause, otherwise known as POGG. POGG is made up of three components the National Concern Doctrine, the Emergency Doctrine and the Gap Doctrine but the main issue at hand in this case with regard to the implementation of POGG is whether or not Bill C-678 falls under the National Concern...

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