REGINA – Premier Brad Wall was sounding off on Friday about the proposed national carbon tax. The federal government has talked about bringing in a federal tax on carbon, but few specific details have been revealed.
In a follow up to last December’s UN Climate Summit in Paris, provinces will be meeting with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to discuss environmental initiatives, including the proposed tax.
“This is not right for Saskatchewan and may I add this is not right for the country right now,” Wall said at the Legislature.
“The country’s economy is not as strong as anyone would like it, and I just don’t think now’s the time for a carbon levy.”
Wall added that the country should instead focus on carbon reduction technology, like the Boundary Dam Carbon Capture Plant.
In Ottawa, Regina-Qu’Appelle MP Andrew Scheer echoed Wall’s opposition during Friday’s question period.
“The Liberals talk about working with the provinces. Will the Minister stand in this House and guarantee that Saskatchewan can opt-out of this terrible idea?” he asked.
“We work with the provincial governments, and we look forward to continuing to work with them to ensure that we have an environmentally and socially and economically sustainable energy industry,” replied Treasury Board President Scott Brison.
Back in Saskatoon, a prominent environmentalist said the province needs to come to grips with its emissions.
“We have the highest per capita greenhouse gas emissions in Canada at 68 tonnes per person, while the Canadian average is 19 tonnes per person,” Peter Prebble explained.
Prebble, who is director of environmental policy with the Saskatchewan Environmental Society, would like to see a “revenue-neutral” carbon tax in the province instead of a national tax.
Based on B.C.’s model, this would involve introducing a carbon tax while offsetting the added cost by lowing PST or income tax.
“We’d take that money and invest it in things like energy conservation and renewable energy,” he said.
“It would be directed to making Saskatchewan’s economy more environmentally friendly and reducing our greenhouse gas emissions.”
In the lead up to the election Wall has said he has no plans of introducing more taxes in the Sask Party is re-elected.
Wall said he wants to create a healthy business climate in the province, and plans to carry that idea to the March 3 meeting in Vancouver.
“We’re actually advocating that it focus a lot on the economy as well, and the federal government, to their credit, are agreeing that it should,” he said.
© 2016 Shaw Media