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Saskatchewan Premier Rejects Carbon Tax

January 18, 2017

At the federal-provincial summit meeting in December 2016, Manitoba and Saskatchewan rejected Canadian Prime Minister Trudeau's carbon pricing scheme.

Brad Wall, premier of Saskatchewan, Canada, refused to adopt Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s carbon pricing scheme at the last federal-provincial summit meeting of 2016, saying carbon taxes harm sectors like agriculture, mining, and oil and gas.

He criticized the administration’s decision to go ahead with the scheme just weeks before the first minister’s climate summit, saying in a statement:

“These actions have severely undermined the December meeting and have exposed the Prime Minister's disingenuous commitment to federal-provincial collaboration.”

He further stated: “We will continue to strongly oppose any attempt to impose a federal carbon tax on Saskatchewan and will not support any agreement at the December [first ministers'] meeting unless the proposed federal carbon tax is withdrawn.”

Impose Carbon Price or Else

At the summit, Trudeau announced the provinces had until Jan. 1, 2018, to develop and implement a carbon tax or cap-and-trade system or the national government would impose one. Trudeau also said the floor price would be $10 per ton of carbon, rising to $50 by 2022.

Wall says Trudeau’s proposed carbon pricing scheme will drive up energy costs and drive food producers from the country. Wall is seeking advice concerning the legality and constitutionality of Trudeau’s threat to impose the plan on the province.

Trudeau Operates in Alternate Universe

Following the December climate summit, Wall appeared on radio station 650 CKOM with host John Gormley, and suggested the summit appeared to have happened in an alternate universe where Prime Minister Trudeau was unaware the United States elected a new president on Nov. 8.

Wall told Gormley, “Perhaps it's a rejection of the reality, or a refusal to accept that things changed in the U.S. a couple weeks ago – whether we like it or not.”

Wall noted president-elect Donald Trump's cabinet picks makes it clear the United States is likely to expand U.S. fossil fuel production and use.

Wall said “The Americans will not be imposing a tax. And we compete with them for investment and, of course, for jobs.”

Wall said the summit seemingly ignored the fact Donald Trump, a climate skeptic, is going to be president.

“We had Joe Biden there, of all people, to give us an update on the American situation. The outgoing vice-president,” Wall said.

At the minister’s meeting, Manitoba joined Saskatchewan in rejecting the federal government’s carbon pricing scheme. The remaining provinces approved the plan.

Kenneth Artz (kartz@heartland.org) writes from Dallas, Texas.

Author
Artz has more than 20 years’ experience in nonprofit organizations, publishing, newspaper reporting, and public policy advocacy.
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