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.
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.
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.”
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.
“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.