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Saskatchewan Premier Voices Opposition To Federal Carbon Tax

by Mike Godfrey,, Washington

07 November 2016

Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall has stepped up his campaign against the introduction of a federal Canadian carbon floor price, disputing claims that the tax would be revenue neutral.

Wall raised the issue in a letter to Ralph Goodale, Saskatchewan's only federal Member of Parliament and the Minister for Public Safety, on October 31. Wall took issue with Goodale's claim that the federal Government's proposals are revenue neutral and that "every penny will remain in Saskatchewan." Goodale had told reporters that the policy was "not a shift of wealth, tax revenue out of the province, it's entirely contained within the province."

The federal Government has announced that all Canadian provinces and territories will be required to have a price on carbon pollution by 2018. The federal Government will set a floor price, and has proposed that it start at a minimum of CAD10 per tonne in 2018 and rise by CAD10 each year to reach CAD50 per tonne in 2022. Provinces will be given the choice as to how they meet the requirement, by either putting a direct price on carbon pollution or adopting a cap-and-trade system.

In his letter, Wall said Goodale could not know that the tax will be revenue neutral. "The federal Government has not undertaken an economic impact assessment on the carbon tax, which represents one of the largest taxes levied in Canadian history and marks a fundamental shift in this country's fiscal framework," he wrote.

According to Wall, "Thousands of Saskatchewan citizens make their living in trade-exposed, carbon-intensive industries that are especially vulnerable to carbon tax. Energy, mining, and agriculture – the backbone of the Saskatchewan economy – will be hit hard." He pointed to "recent polls [that] show that more than 70 percent of Saskatchewan people oppose a national carbon tax."

Wall further argued that evidence from British Columbia – which introduced a carbon tax in 2008 – shows that a carbon tax at the level proposed by the federal Government will not work. He said that the Saskatchewan Government believes that "there is a better way to deal with climate change," and advocated an expansion of renewable energy and investment in carbon-capture technology.

TAGS: tax | investment | energy | carbon tax | Canada | trade

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