Brad Wall won't sign on to national carbon tax
Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall is seen at a news conference in Regina on Jan. 23, 2016. (Mark Taylor / The Canadian Press)
Josh Dehaas, CTVNews.ca
Published Saturday, February 27, 2016 1:03PM EST
Last Updated Saturday, February 27, 2016 1:41PM EST
Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall has announced he will not be signing any agreement with the federal government that includes a national carbon tax.
Wall made the comment on Facebook, while expressing his displeasure that the “the Federal Environment Minister just declared there will be a national carbon price, before the Premiers and Prime Minister even meet.”
“In case you're wondering, I won't be signing any agreement that includes a national carbon tax,” he added.
Wall wrote that, “with the energy sector reeling and the Canadian economy struggling, it is simply not the time for a new national tax.”
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will meet with provincial and territorial leaders next Thursday in Vancouver to discuss a national climate strategy.
Environment Minister Catherine McKenna told The Canadian Press on Friday that setting a carbon price is "really important."
"Most big energy companies have an internal price on carbon (already), because they know this is going to happen,” McKenna said.
She said working groups will have six months after next week’s meeting to come up with “a package of measures,” and “one of those (measures) is a price on carbon.”
British Columbia has had a carbon tax since 2008. The $30 per tonne levy applies broadly in the economy, including consumer goods like gasoline. B.C.’s environment ministry recently reported that overall carbon dioxide emissions grew 2.1 per cent between 2013 and 2014, despite the fact that per capita use of fuel has dropped 16 per cent in B.C. since 2008.
Quebec is currently part of a cap-and-trade market with California, which Ontario will join in 2017. Ontario said this week it will set a price of $17 per tonne, with a hard cap on overall emissions.
Alberta’s government said in November that it will tax carbon at a rate of $20 per tonne in 2017, rising to $30 per tonne in 2018. It will also cap oil sands output, and phase out coal-fired electricity generation, as Ontario did in 2013.
A carbon tax could hit Saskatchewan particularly hard, not only because it is a producer of fossil fuels, but also because it relies heavily on coal.
Premier Wall said last week that Ottawa might not be allowed to impose a carbon tax on electricity-utility SaskPower, because it’s a provincial Crown corporation.
With files from The Canadian Press