Feds stun provinces with carbon plan

None of the three prairie premiers say they can support a national carbon plan that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau surprised them with today.

Saskatchewan premier Brad Wall said he was stunned by the disrespect shown by Trudeau and the federal government after the prime minister announced a plan that would eventually be imposed on provinces if they didn’t join.

In Alberta, Rachel Notley said she supports the principle but the province wouldn’t support the plan until a pipeline to ocean water is built.

And in Manitoba, Brian Pallister said the province would not adopt a cap-and-trade system but he would consider a carbon tax as part of a plan it was already working on.

Ottawa and the provinces had agreed to collaborate on a climate change plan at a meeting in Vancouver earlier this year, and the country’s environment ministers were at a meeting in Toronto to discuss just that when Trudeau dropped his bombshell.

He said in the House of Commons the government would set a minimum $10 per tonne price on carbon beginning in 2018, rising to $50 per tonne by 2022. Provinces can choose between a carbon tax and cap-and-trade system and will retain all the revenue.

“If neither price nor cap-and-trade is in place (in a province) by 2018, the Government of Canada will implement a price in that jurisdiction,” Trudeau said.

Wall said Saskatchewan’s economy and families would be hard hit by the plan.

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“The carbon tax will siphon over $2.5 billion from Saskatchewan’s economy when fully implemented and make our province a less competitive place to do business,” he said in a statement.

“We estimate the carbon tax will cost the average family $1,250 a year. Our farm families will be among the hardest hit. The carbon tax will impede Saskatchewan’s continuing efforts to export high quality food products to global customers.”

Wall said Saskatchewan will investigate ways to mitigate the impact of a large tax increase like this and added it wouldn’t likely reduce emissions because it doesn’t focus on finding solutions. He has often pointed to Saskatchewan’s clean coal project as a better option.

Alberta is implementing its own climate change plan in January with a $20 per tonne carbon tax that rises to $30 in 2018. Farmers will be exempt from the tax on fuel for agricultural purposes.

But Notley said she couldn’t support the federal plan.

“Alberta will not be supporting this proposal absent serious concurrent progress on energy infrastructure to ensure we have the economic means to fund these policies,” she said in a statement.

She said Alberta has for years contributed to national programs that helped other regions address economic challenges.

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“What we are asking for now is that our land lock be broken, in one direction or another, so that we can get back on our feet,” she said.

In Winnipeg, Pallister told reporters his government had begun work on a carbon plan.

“We’re working very hard on a plan that I think will excite Manitobans, work, have us do our part and not damage our economy in the process,” he said.

Trudeau’s announcement came as debate in the House of Commons began on the Paris climate change agreement.

Conservative environment critic Ed Fast said Trudeau need not have taken a “sledgehammer” to the provinces.

Contact karen.briere@producer.com

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  • bufford54

    This Liberal Hairbag is sucking the life out of Canadians

  • Nicole

    Coming from a farming/ranching background, I have experienced and seen both industries in both their highs and lows. For a tax such as this one to be implemented on these people, especially in the years like this one, when many farmers have crops that aren’t worth a dime, this could bring a detrimental end result. From a year to year basis, not all farmers have the reserved cash flow they require to get them through the bad years, between paying off farm loans, fuelling their machinery, etc. With a carbon tax implemented this would make not only those years, but all years, that much more difficult. It is highly unfair to implement such a tax on the people who already work so hard, and that the country and the world so heavily rely on to put meals on their tables each day.

    • John

      I grew up on a farm and still have farming interests. Many farmers grow several crops. So when they have quality issues with one crop such as durum. They all have crop insurance to deal with a crop lose. In The Western Producer two years on the front page it was written. The average Canadian farm now has assets of two million dollars after debt.

      • Nicole

        When you have a cumulative rain fall of 28 inches in one year you not only have garbage durum crops, but you also have garbage pulse crops along with anything else you might have grown. Although the “average” farm might have assets of two million dollars after debt, you must remember this is merely an average, and there are still always people on the bottom end. Crop insurance undoubtedly helps, but does not grant even close to what a good harvest does. When you are juggling crops and livestock, and neither of the industries are “booming”, it is not easy making ends meet.

        • Jayson

          The fact you got 28 inches of rain in one year should tell you that perhaps you should be cheering action on climate change, not fighting it. If climate change continues, 28 inches could be the new normal and not a just an odd year that you can recover from.

          • Harold

            How does a carbon tax reduce rainfall? How does not having a tax create rain? I am assuming that your standing is based upon 28 inches of seasonal rain that has never before been seen in history.

        • John

          Yes, you got a lot of rain. But many places did not receive this much rain. I believe it was 16 inches where I live. No, crop insurance does not replace the revenue of a good crop. It is meant to carry you over to the next year and hopefully you get a good crop then. And the reverse of what you wrote. There is always people on the top end. Meaning they are worth much more than the average farmer. Also some of the farmers I spoke with got a good yield and grade on their lentil crops. Look at the whole picture not just the negative news.

  • Moe

    Justins old dad stuck his knife into the west our snow board instructor is capable of just about anything…