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NDP leadership candidates voice support for carbon pricing in Saskatoon debate

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WATCH ABOVE: Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall opposes a carbon tax, but Charlie Angus, Niki Ashton, Guy Caron and Jagmeet Singh support carbon pricing – Jul 12, 2017

Despite fervent opposition from Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall, the candidates in the federal NDP leadership race continue to back some form of carbon pricing.

Charlie Angus, Niki Ashton, Guy Caron and Jagmeet Singh participated in the fifth of eight leadership debates – and the only one on the Prairies – Tuesday night in Saskatoon.

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The first question asked of the candidates was how they would address opposition to carbon pricing by the premiers of Manitoba and Saskatchewan.

Multiple candidates took aim at Wall and his position against a carbon tax.

“No offense, but he’s like the man violently defending the future of the typewriter when everyone else has moved to cell phones,” Angus said.

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Angus has argued for adopting a legislated carbon budget to reduce emissions.

Singh has pledged to reduce carbon emissions by 30 per cent of 2005 levels by 2025 – outpacing the current Liberal target by five years.

“We acknowledge we need to put a price on carbon, so that we fight climate change, but we need to also know that every province is different, so we have to approach that differently,” Singh said.

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Ashton pledged to work on carbon pricing with Alberta’s NDP government “that has come forward with an innovative plan, making sure low-income Canadians and residents here on the Prairies aren’t taxed and punished.”

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Both Wall and Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister are wrong, according to Caron.

“We’re looking at carbon pricing. We need to move in that direction. We also need to move in the direction of electrification of transport,” Caron said.

Candidates also covered transporting grain to market, the oil and gas industry and Indigenous relationship building in the 90-minute debate.

The next NDP leadership debate is scheduled for Aug. 2 in Victoria, followed by stops in Montreal and Vancouver.

New Democrats are expected to vote on a new leader to replace Tom Mulcair in October.

With files from The Canadian Press

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