Report from the Legislature April 5, 2018

Apr 5, 2018

 

From gas and groceries to clothing and other necessities, provinces across Canada are finding out how carbon taxes drive up costs and make it harder for families to make ends meet. Not only do carbon taxes hurt families by making their day-to-day lives more expensive, they threaten their jobs by making our export-based economies less competitive in a global market.

While the NDP and the Trudeau Liberals want to put a carbon tax on the people of this province, our government is standing up to protect Saskatchewan jobs, industries and communities.

We are launching a legal challenge to new federal legislation that would impose a carbon tax on Saskatchewan through a legal reference case that will be taken to the Court of Appeal.

Other interested parties, including other provinces, can intervene in the case.

Other provinces may want to intervene regardless of their provincial climate change plans as this carbon tax legislation is an unprecedented case of the federal government interfering in provincial jurisdiction.

Both the Saskatchewan Urban Municipalities Association (SUMA) and the Saskatchewan Association of Rural Municipalities (SARM) have voted overwhelmingly to oppose a carbon tax.

At $50 per tonne, a carbon tax on Saskatchewan would cost as much as $2 billion to our economy; $1,250 per year for a Saskatchewan family of four; and $10 to $12 an acre for a farm family. The federal government's own documents say the carbon tax would have to reach $300 per tonne, not $50, to hit its targets. Saskatchewan people understand that this new tax just doesn't add up.

If our stated goal is to reduce emissions, we know that a carbon tax is not the way to go. Our industries are already taking action to reduce emissions and we will continue building on these efforts through a made-in-Saskatchewan climate change strategy that will be far more effective than a carbon tax.

Prairie Resilience: A Made-in-Saskatchewan Climate Change Strategy focuses on climate resilience, emissions reductions and adapting to the effects of climate change - without implementing a carbon tax. The plan includes setting sector-specific output-based performance standards on large emitting facilities, such as those in oil and gas, and mining. We will reduce our emissions, but in a way that is economically sustainable and promotes growth.

Our plan is broader and bolder than a single policy approach and will achieve better results. It offers flexibility for emitters to comply with regulations and reduce emissions, including an offset system and technology fund, and recognizes emissions reductions initiatives that have already taken place.

As far as emissions reductions are concerned, Saskatchewan has a good story to tell. Since 2005, emissions intensity is down 8.8% (2016) while GDP is up 22%. In agriculture, zero-till has offset 11.4 million tonnes and pulse crops offset 2 million tonnes. 21 million acres of grasslands plus wetlands and forest lands also act as carbon sinks.

Carbon Capture and Storage at Boundary Dam 3 has now captured 2 million tonnes - the equivalent of taking 500,000 cars off the road at a time when 1,600 coal plants are being built around the world.

Saskatchewan plans to double our renewable energy capacity to 50% - the most aggressive renewable energy target in Canada.

Saskatchewan has a strong case against the imposition of a carbon tax. At a time when our government is pursuing real solutions to tackle climate change, we will continue to stand up for Saskatchewan people and fight the costly carbon tax plans of the NDP and the Trudeau Liberals.