Sask. Premier Scott Moe sits down with Global News for year-end interview

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WATCH: Premier Scott Moe has had a busy year in 2018, as the newly-elected Saskatchewan Party leader has dealt with issues facing the Humboldt Broncos bus crash, equalization, carbon tax and more – Jan 3, 2019

2018 has been a busy year for Premier Scott Moe as the newly-elected Saskatchewan Party leader settled into his new role.

As premier, Moe has been at the forefront in the fight against a federally imposed carbon tax, he’s called for change to the equalization program and dealt with the backlash from the Gerald Stanley trial.

Moe sat down with Global News’ Carlyle Fiset for his annual year-end interview to answer the many questions facing the province.

While most provinces have agreed to a federal-imposed carbon tax, Saskatchewan is one of four provinces who has chosen to fight to the bitter end – the April 2019 deadline.

READ MORE: Can provincial conservative anti-carbon tax momentum translate to federal gains?

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“It doesn’t work. It doesn’t reduce emissions it just reduces jobs,” Moe said.

“This is a politically divisive issue that has been put forward by our federal government [and] it hasn’t been shown to be effective in any other jurisdiction, where it’s been introduced, in the world. I don’t know why we would expect it, in any way, to be effective from an environmental perspective.”

Moe said the Saskatchewan Party’s Prairie Resilience plan will be more effective.

“It’s strong enough to be accepted by the federal government in their climate change goals,” Moe said.

“We don’t feel that we need to go further just to tax hard-working Saskatchewan families when they’re taking their children to the rink or when they are taking their kids to school.”

Moe also answered questions regarding equalization, its flaws, and the impact it’s having on the province.

READ MORE: Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe pitches new 50-50 equalization formula

“The federal government approved the formula very quietly in last year’s budget without proper consultation with the province,” Moe said.

“Sixty-six per cent of the proceeds going to one province – the Province of Quebec. I don’t think at its inception of equalization that it was ever considered that one province would be receiving 66 per cent of those proceeds.”

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For an economy that is doing reasonably well, in Quebec, Moe would like to see other provinces like Saskatchewan reap the same benefits.

“We have economies, most notably, Saskatchewan and Alberta that are struggling with employment and that are challenged. We are not receiving any dollars.”

The Gerald Stanley trail, in which Stanley was found innocent after shooting and killing 22-year-old Colton Boushie on his farm near Beggar in 2016, drew national media attention while highlighting racial tensions in the province.

READ MORE: Gerald Stanley found not guilty of murder of Colten Boushie

Various protests were held throughout the country, including the “Justice for Our Stolen Children” camp that lasted 197 days in front of the Legislative building in Wascana Park.

“There’s more work to do though, the understanding of that and the issues and the concerns that were raised by the individuals that spent some time outside of the legislature here,” Moe said.

“Their concerns have been heard. We have right now agreements with 17 First Nations communities across the province, with respect to operating their child and family services arrangements and those are important agreements.”

Moe stressed the importance of providing every child in the province, whether on a First Nation or not, a safe community and the tools to succeed.

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READ MORE: Semi driver charged in Humboldt Broncos crash granted adjournment to new year

The story that shook not only the province but the entire nation, was the Humboldt Broncos bus crash that claimed sixteen lives and injured 13 more on April 6.

“The devastation of the whole Humboldt Broncos bus crash – it was one of those things [where] it’s impacted everyone in this province and across the nation,” Moe said.

“We’ve been able to draw strength from those families and that community.”

Not only did the tragedy leave many residents heartbroken, but it also resulted in multiple changes to the legislature.

“We have taken some steps as the first province to move forward with access of 120 hours of training required for our commercial transport truck driving license here in Saskatchewan,” Moe said.

READ MORE: Saskatchewan introduces mandatory semi truck driver training after Humboldt Broncos tragedy

“We are working very closely with other provinces to align regulations so that it does become as thorough across the nation as possible.”

The province also commissioned a report specific to that intersection and Moe says the government is moving forward with their focus on intersection safety across the province.

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A big part of the Saskatchewan Party’s platform is balancing the budget. Moe said 30 per cent of their revenues were coming from natural resource royalties.

With a dip in energy, potash and uranium prices, the government found themselves about eight per cent short in revenues and in the budget.

“We had some tough decisions to make and we looked at what we could do to balance that budget inside of one year – that looked pretty tough,” Moe said.

READ MORE: Nutrien to focus on Saskatchewan for potash, writes off New Brunswick facility

“We decided to take more of a protracted approach and a three-year plan to balance. That also has created some challenging decisions. We’ve had to watch our investments and our spending very closely and to remove some investments we’ve traditionally made in this province.”

As for more tax increases, Moe said there are no plans on that front and are looking to move forward with the status quo.

For the full interview, make sure to tune into the Global News at 5 and 10 in both Regina and Saskatoon Monday night.

RELATED: New carbon tax takes effect in SK, MB, ON, NB

Click to play video: 'New carbon tax takes effect in SK, MB, ON, NB' New carbon tax takes effect in SK, MB, ON, NB
New carbon tax takes effect in SK, MB, ON, NB – Jan 1, 2019

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