There is still a deficit to pay off in Saskatchewan, but it won’t be done with $62 million dollars from the federal government.
The deadline for the province to agree to Ottawa’s carbon tax contained within the Pan-Canadian Framework came and went on Feb. 28 and with it any access to that money that was guaranteed if it did sign up.
Saskatchewan was the only province not to join the agreement.
The province has long argued a carbon tax will do nothing to reduce emissions and will negatively impact industries.
“We just don’t think it makes much sense to have a $4 billion tax placed on the people of Saskatchewan to get $62 million,” Environment Minister Dustin Duncan said. “Quebec still hasn’t signed the constitution and they get equalization payments, so just because we’re not signing the framework doesn’t mean we should be singled out to not receive the $62 million.”
The $62 million will now be put into the Low Carbon Economy Fund for government, businesses and first to access, which Duncan says the province will apply for.
The recent federal budget included $109 million over five years to “implement, administer and enforce the federal carbon pollution pricing system.” Premier Scott Moe has labelled that “carbon cops.”
The federal government has always maintained the carbon tax would be revenue-neutral, which Duncan argued is already not the case.
“Now we’re seeing the first steps in the administrative costs of the carbon tax which is starting at $109 million which I imagine is just going to go higher,” Duncan said.
The Saskatchewan government’s climate change plan involves performance targets for the province’s biggest carbon emitters to work toward.
SaskPower has set a goal of reducing its emissions by 40 per cent by 2030.