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‘If this does end up in court, so be it’: Saskatchewan’s premier not backing down on carbon pricing

Click to play video 'We are in consultations with our lawyers and prepared to go to court: Moe' We are in consultations with our lawyers and prepared to go to court: Moe
Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe tells Eric Sorensen his government is prepared to go to court and fight the federal government over his government not receiving sixty two million dollars in federal funding for not signing on to the federal climate change plan – Mar 4, 2018

Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe says his province won’t be implementing a tax on carbon any time soon, and if the battle with Ottawa over the issue ends up in court, “so be it.”

Last week, Moe announced that Saskatchewan would not sign onto the Pan-Canadian Framework on Clean Growth and Climate Change, which includes support for a price on carbon.

READ MORE: Saskatchewan unveils carbon tax-free climate strategy

Missing the deadline to sign on – which passed on Feb. 28 – could cost Saskatchewan over $60 million in federal funding (over five years) through Ottawa’s $1.4-billion Low Carbon Economy Leadership Fund.

“We’ll be applying for those dollars as they’ll be part of our investment to further reduce our emissions … but we’re also forgoing a $4-billion tax over the next five years on the people of this province,” Moe told Eric Sorensen on this week’s edition of The West Block.

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READ MORE: Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe calls 2018 federal budget ‘vague’

Click to play video 'How does the 2018 federal budget affect Saskatchewan?' How does the 2018 federal budget affect Saskatchewan?
How does the 2018 federal budget affect Saskatchewan? – Feb 27, 2018

The premier maintained that the regulation of renewable and non-renewable resource industries in Saskatchewan remains a provincial matter. Ottawa, he said, has other responsibilities, like ensuring market access through things like pipelines, and the negotiation of international trade agreements.

“These are areas where the federal government needs to show leadership and has responsibility,” he said.

Federal Environment Minister Catherine McKenna said last week that she was disappointed in Saskatchewan’s decision. Her office says carbon pricing will be coming regardless. If a province or territory doesn’t opt to develop its own pricing plan under federal guidelines, the federal plan will apply.

But Moe isn’t so sure.

“We’re in consultation with our legal team as we move forward,” he said. “If this does end up in court, so be it. We’re prepared to take this to that avenue if need be.”

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The premier argued that many of the industries in Saskatchewan — from mining and forestry to crop agriculture to energy — are moving toward sustainability all on their own, without the need for a carbon price.

READ MORE: Provinces must give Ottawa carbon price plans by September

“It is a policy that doesn’t work. It doesn’t work for our province, it doesn’t work for our industry,” Moe said. “But that in no way says that we aren’t totally a willing participant in the conversation around climate change and around a more fulsome carbon conversation.”

– Watch the full interview with Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe above.