While there’s a few bright spots in Ottawa’s recent budget for Saskatchewan, the premier of the province still has questions surrounding some of the funding.
The Trudeau government released its 2018-19 budget with a focus on gender equality and scientific research. The budget forecasts a deficit of $18.1-billion, including a $3-billion adjustment for risk.
“There’s a number of different files that have funding envelopes over five years, it’s very vague funding,” Premier Scott Moe said.
He said more information is needed to determine how Saskatchewan will benefit from the budget.
Premier Moe added he is happy to see there are not changes to the transfer payments between the federal government and the provinces.
More money for the RCMP and funding for Indigenous communities, including water infrastructure, were a few of the other points Moe was happy to see in the budget.
The carbon tax was also brought up during the budget, with $109-million being provided to what Moe described as “carbon cops” which will look at places not adhering to the carbon tax.
“There’s more dollars that are being allocated to policing a carbon pricing system than there actually is even what we’re discussing with respect to the Low Carbon Economy Fund.”
Despite not signing onto the federal carbon tax, Moe said they will still apply for the over $60-million they would receive from Ottawa. Moe said they need the money to ensure they meet their own targets when it comes to reducing carbon in the province.
“We’re a part of the nation of Canada, we will be expecting to be approved for that as well.”
Moe said they are prepared for a constitutional challenge or a date in court surrounding the carbon tax.
“We are quite confident in our opportunities as we move forward.”
Moe said they will be watching the committee that is set up to look at the national pharmacare program.
“I would also make note that Saskatchewan has some of the highest coverage of any jurisdiction across the nation of Canada now.”
Finance Minister Donna Harpauer said Ottawa’s budget was status quo and shouldn’t affect the province’s budget which will be revealed on April 10.
“I do not have to go back and sharpen my pencil and change our budget in any way.”
She said they still have concerns about the cap on the passive income.