The federal government’s promise to families of rebate on the carbon tax is being called a vote-buying scheme by Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced Tuesday
Ottawa will return 90 per cent of money received from a carbon tax back to Canadians as he imposed a carbon price on Saskatchewan starting in April 2019.
Moe said this is purely a political decision.
“We see it as a cynical vote-buying scheme using your money to buy your vote,” Moe said.
Under Trudeau’s plan, a family of four in the province will receive a $609 Climate Action Incentive payment in 2019 as he imposed a carbon price on Saskatchewan for not signing on to a carbon tax plan.
The amount would rise to $1,459 by 2022.
A single adult would receive $305, with $152 for a second adult in a couple, which would also be the amount for a first child in a single-parent household.
Each family would receive $76 for each child, or a second child in the case of a single-parent household.
Trudeau said his new carbon tax rebate system puts a price on pollution without breaking the bank for families.
Moe urged Trudeau not to impose the carbon tax, starting at $20 a tonne in 2019 and rising $10 each year until it hits $50 a tonne in 2022, until the province’s court case had been decided.
Saskatchewan has launched a constitutional challenge against the federally imposed carbon tax. It is not expected to be heard by the Saskatchewan Court of Appeal until spring 2019.
Ottawa announced two years ago it would require every province to have a price on emissions and that it would impose one on those who refused.
Gas is estimated to go up 4.42 cents a litre in 2019 in Saskatchewan, with natural gas expected to increase by 3.91 cents per cubic metre.
A representative from SaskEnergy said that this would add $100 to $120 to the average residential energy bill for the year. This represents a $1 per gigajoule increase, the same amount SaskEnergy plans on reducing the rates in April. Essentially, the carbon tax cancels out the rate decrease.
Power generation and natural gas pipelines will be classed as heavy emitters under the federal plan. This means increased costs for SaskPower and SaskEnergy, meaning rates increases.
Gas and diesel used for farm trucks and machinery will be exempt from fuel charges associated with the carbon tax. However, the Agricultural Producers Association of Saskatchewan (APAS) said that farmers will still be subject to the tax when transporting grain, drying grain, rail costs and other off-the-farm costs.
“Every producer will feel the impacts of the federal carbon tax though increased business costs,” APAS President Todd Lewis explained. “Farmers and ranchers have no way of passing these extra costs along the value chain.”
The Canadian Taxpayers Federation (CTF) is slamming the carbon tax, saying it will increase costs for consumers without helping the environment.
“A carbon tax will leave Saskatchewanians with less money and make it harder to find jobs, but it won’t help the environment,” Todd MacKay, the CTF’s Prairie director, said in a statement.
“It’s infuriating that Trudeau thinks that he can buy support from Saskatchewanians with tax rebates paid for by their neighbours.”
The government of Canada said the federal ‘backstop’ carbon pollution pricing system, which will be implemented in Saskatchewan along with Manitoba, Ontario and New Brunswick in 2019, will incur additional costs as a result of pricing carbon pollution.
However, various sectors around the country will receive added support, helping them to keep energy costs down.
Universities, colleges, hospitals, schools, municipalities, non-profit organization and Indigenous communities will receive an estimated $150 million by 2023-24: $15 million in 2019-20, $25 million in 2020-21, $30 million in 2021-22, $40 million 2022-23, and 2023-24.
The Greenhouse Gas Pollution Pricing Act (GGPPA), implemented on June 21, 2018 that established a country-wide standard for reducing carbon pollution, will provide relief for farmers in everything from fuel charge for fuels used in tractors, trucks and other farm equipment.
The GGPPA indicates a registered distributor can deliver, without the fuel charge applying, gas or light fuel oil to a farmer at a farm as long as the fuel is used only in the operation of eligible farming equipment.
The relief is provided upfront, with the use of exemption certificates, as long as the conditions are met.
Farmers do not have to be registered to receive this relief.
The new federal carbon pollution pricing system is made up of two components – a charge on fossil fuels, and an output-based pricing system (OBPS) for emission-intense industrial facilities.
READ MORE: Bill Kelly: The politics of a carbon tax
Proceeds from OBPS in Saskatchewan, New Brunswick, Manitoba and Ontario, will be given back to the province it came from. The Canadian government will decide how to return the proceeds.
– With files from the Canadian Press