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Despite changes, Moe still calls carbon tax ‘economic poison’

Ontario Premier Doug Ford, left, and Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe talk with reporters as the Canadian premiers meet in St. Andrews, N.B. on Thursday, July 19, 2018. Ford and Moe have agreed to fight the federal government plan to impose a carbon tax.
Ontario Premier Doug Ford, left, and Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe talk with reporters as the Canadian premiers meet in St. Andrews, N.B. on Thursday, July 19, 2018. Ford and Moe have agreed to fight the federal government plan to impose a carbon tax. Andrew Vaughan / The Canadian Press

It shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone, but Ottawa softening the carbon tax on heavy emitters does not change the stance of Premier Scott Moe, and by association, the Saskatchewan government.

First reported by the Globe and Mail, Ottawa will only be taxing heavy industrial emitters once they exceed 80 or 90 per cent of average emissions. The original plan was for emissions to be taxed over the 70 per cent benchmark.

READ MORE: Liberals to ease carbon tax amid fears over competitiveness

Moe said this is Ottawa acknowledging a carbon tax will have economic impact. Even with the change, Saskatchewan’s stance remains the same.

“We see an effort by the federal government to water down this economic impact, but the fact remains a watered down poison is still a poison and this is economic poison,” Moe said.

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The steel industry is among the more sensitive emitters that will be moved to the 90 per cent threshold.

It’s worth noting steel is also one of the industries caught in the crossfire of the tariff dispute between Canada and the United States.

“We’re seeing an admission of that detrimental impact [from a carbon tax] here today by the federal government,” Moe said. “We encourage them to take another step and remove this policy, re-engage with the provinces as they committed to on real solutions.”

Recently, Ontario Premier Doug Ford announced that province will join Saskatchewan’s reference case in opposition of the carbon tax.

READ MORE: Moe, Ford join forces to oppose federal carbon pricing at premiers’ meeting in New Brunswick

Ottawa will be reviewing the provincial climate change plans starting in September. Provinces that don’t meet federal standards will have the federal tax applied to them as of January 1, 2019.

Moe said consultation work with industry is still going on for developing Saskatchewan’s performance standards. The federal government has said Saskatchewan’s plan likely won’t meet their standards.

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