Advertisement

‘Simply wrong’: Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe reacts to Supreme Court carbon price ruling

Click to play video: 'Saskatchewan premier says Supreme Court ruling on carbon pricing ‘does not end’ province’s opposition' Saskatchewan premier says Supreme Court ruling on carbon pricing ‘does not end’ province’s opposition
WATCH: Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe said on Thursday that the decision by the Supreme Court of Canada to allow the federal government to impose a so-called "carbon tax" on provinces “does not end our opposition to this costly and ineffective tax,” adding that “just because Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has the legal right to impose a carbon tax, I would say that it doesn’t mean that he should.” – Mar 25, 2021

Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe says the province isn’t changing its stance on carbon pricing following Thursday’s decision by the Supreme Court of Canada to allow the federal government to impose it on provinces.

“The federal carbon tax is bad environmental policy, bad economic policy, and simply wrong,” Moe said in a statement Thursday.

“While the Supreme Court has determined that Prime Minister Trudeau has the legal right to impose a carbon tax, it doesn’t mean he should, and it doesn’t make the carbon tax any less punitive for Saskatchewan people.”

The federal carbon-tax-and-rebate program was introduced in 2018 and laid out a national framework for pricing carbon — one that applies to everyday consumers as well as industrial emitters.

Read more: Canada’s carbon price is constitutional, Supreme Court rules

Story continues below advertisement

The Supreme Court of Canada found that climate change poses a real, serious threat to the world and is serious enough to allow the federal government to step in.

“The (Greenhouse Gas Pollution Pricing Act) is constitutional,” Chief Justice Richard Wagner wrote in the decision.

“Although this restriction may interfere with a province’s preferred balance between economic and environmental considerations, it is necessary to consider the interests that would be harmed — owing to irreversible consequences for the environment, for human health and safety, and for the economy — if Parliament were unable to constitutionally address the matter at a national level.”

Under the ruling, Ottawa would collect the carbon tax in Saskatchewan, then provide rebates to individual tax filers in the province.

Revenue Canada says the average household of four can expect about $1,000 in rebates for 2020.

Moe warns the decision has “far-reaching implications for federal intrusion into areas of provincial jurisdiction.”

“Saskatchewan will remain vigilant in defending our constitutional jurisdiction from further infringement from this federal government,” Moe said.

“Saskatchewan people have seen the federal carbon tax for what it is — a blunt, ineffective instrument that kills job, threatens the competitiveness of our industries, and penalizes essential, daily activities of families across our province.

Story continues below advertisement

“Our government will continue to make every effort to protect Saskatchewan families, workers and businesses from the negative consequences of the federal carbon tax.”

Click to play video: 'Moe details measures Saskatchewan plans to take following Supreme Court ruling on carbon pricing' Moe details measures Saskatchewan plans to take following Supreme Court ruling on carbon pricing
Moe details measures Saskatchewan plans to take following Supreme Court ruling on carbon pricing – Mar 25, 2021

The Saskatchewan NDP shares similar feelings as the province, saying the carbon-tax-and-rebate program will hurt Saskatchewan people.

Read more: Farmers concerned criteria for federal carbon credits may leave them out

“(Thursday’s) ruling means that Trudeau’s economy-wide carbon tax will continue to take more from the people of Saskatchewan than they get back, with people living in rural and remote areas being most affected. That’s not right,” Ryan Meili, Saskatchewan NDP leader, said in a statement Thursday.

“This economy-wide price on carbon is not something that Saskatchewan people, or the Saskatchewan NDP support.”

Story continues below advertisement

Meili said Moe should have spent the past two years trying to negotiate a better deal with the federal government rather than fighting against it.

He would like Moe to begin negotiating a deal with Trudeau that would exempt fuel used for grain drying, explore all options to limit costs for families, and offer rebates to families to offset the cost of a carbon tax.

Read more: Is Canada’s carbon tax working? Experts, advocacy groups weigh in

“The people of Saskatchewan know climate change is real, and want to do their part to reduce emissions while creating good jobs for the future in wind, solar, and geothermal,” Meili said.

“It’s time for Justin Trudeau and Scott Moe to put wrangling aside and get to work – together – on real solutions across the board that will ensure good jobs and prosperity for all of us.”

The Saskatchewan Chamber of Commerce also expressed its disappointment regarding Thursday’s ruling.

Click to play video: 'Supreme Court of Canada rules federal carbon levy is constitutional' Supreme Court of Canada rules federal carbon levy is constitutional
Supreme Court of Canada rules federal carbon levy is constitutional – Mar 25, 2021

“To be clear, the debate is not, and should not, be whether we need to transition to a lower carbon economy, but how to manage the process,” said Steve McLellan, Saskatchewan Chamber of Commerce CEO in a statement Thursday.

Story continues below advertisement

“There is a better way forward, the federal government’s pan-Canadian approach to pollution pricing has not recognized the unique challenges present in Saskatchewan; putting undue hardship on our residents and businesses, it is unfortunate that they will continue this approach.”

Moe said he will outline measures the province will take in the months ahead to “protect Saskatchewan people” on Thursday, at the same time addressing climate change.

-With files from Rachel Gilmore

Sponsored content