Premier Scott Moe calls on Trudeau to pause federal carbon tax ahead of Supreme Court appeal

In a letter to Justin Trudeau, Scott Moe said he would like to see the federal government support the oil and gas sector in the upcoming throne speech. Devon Latchuk / Global News

Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe is calling on the federal government to pause the federal carbon tax until the Supreme Court hears the province’s appeal later this month.

Moe sent a letter Monday to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, outlining his priorities for Saskatchewan.

“While all Canadians would support a commitment to environmental protection and sustainability, there is significant concern that your ‘ambitious green agenda’ is code for shutting down our energy industry, a major driver of Canada’s economy,” Moe said in the letter, which was also sent to all opposition leaders.

“I would hope that your government will provide a strong commitment to ensuring the future of a sustainable gas and oil sector in the upcoming throne speech.”

Read more: Liberals to unveil ‘ambitious green agenda’ in throne speech, Trudeau says

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Trudeau has said his government will unveil an “ambitious green agenda” in the throne speech scheduled to be delivered on Sept. 23.

“We know the world is going towards greater energy efficiency. We know the world is going towards lower carbon. We know that the world is moving towards more renewable energy,” Trudeau told Global News on Sept. 2.

“This is the way the world is going.”

Moe also wants Trudeau to pause the carbon tax until the constitutionality of the measure is decided by the courts.

“Your government has committed billions of dollars to support Canadians through the economic and financial hardship, yet residents of Saskatchewan continue to be inequitably impacted by hundreds of millions of dollars in added costs from the federal carbon tax,” Moe said.

“It is clear that our governments disagree on the constitutionality of this tax, but we should agree that now is not the time for Canadians to be faced with increasing and arbitrary costs.”

Read more: Saskatchewan appealing carbon tax ruling to Supreme Court of Canada

Saskatchewan challenged the federal carbon tax in court and the case is scheduled to be heard next week by the Supreme Court of Canada.

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Moe is also encouraging Trudeau to commit to supporting research and deployment in nuclear small modular reactors to address climate change and provide zero-emission power.

“Through addressing these priorities in the upcoming throne speech, your government would be taking meaningful steps to address the priorities of Saskatchewan people,” Moe said.

“Importantly, addressing these priorities would also be significant in addressing the sentiments of western alienation that exists amongst many Saskatchewan residents and western Canadians.”

Saskatchewan currently has no Liberal seats in the House of Commons.

In the letter, Moe also criticizes the federal government’s Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program (ICIP), which invests in community projects that help address climate change.

“Since March 1, only three municipal projects worth roughly $3.8 million have been approved,” Moe told reporters at a press conference in Saskatoon on Tuesday morning.

He said meanwhile 123 Saskatchewan projects, worth just under $6 million in total, are still waiting for federal money.

“(These projects) have sat on a desk for months waiting for approval while this year’s construction season winds to an end.”

He also called for the federal government to address “inequalities” with the Canada Health Transfer and the Fiscal Stabilization Program, claiming that program is “broken.”

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“It is irresponsible for the federal government to continue to ignore these long-standing concerns, while simultaneously putting forward policies that threaten the wealth-generating industries of the very provinces that currently fund these programs,” he wrote.

The Supreme Court will hear the Saskatchewan and Ontario governments’ appeals to the carbon tax starting Sept. 22.

-With files from Gabriela Panza-Beltrandi

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