Saskatchewan premier refuses to budge on carbon tax stance

Brad Wall is opposed to the federal proposal, saying it hurts sectors like agriculture, mining and oil and gas

Saskatchewan premier Brad Wall has said the province’s climate change proposal won’t contain carbon tax exemptions for farmers.

That’s OK with the president of the Agricultural Producers Association of Saskatchewan, as long as the plan offers relief in some other way.

Norm Hall said provincial greenhouse gas mitigation legislation, passed in 2010 but never proclaimed, included carbon offsets for some emitters.

“There weren’t exemptions for farmers at that point, but there were carbon credits that could be earned,” Hall said before the Oct. 18 release of the province’s white paper.

“So as long as that’s what he’s planning, then I have no issue with not having exemptions.”

Wall was expected to release the document at a Regina Chamber of Commerce meting after Western Producer deadlines.

Details are available at www.producer.com.

However, the premier earlier told reporters he wasn’t planning exemptions because he was fighting against the tax in the first place.

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Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced earlier this month that provinces had until Jan. 1, 2018, to develop and implement a carbon tax or cap-and-trade system or Ottawa would impose one. The floor price would be $10 per tonne of carbon, rising to $50 by 2022, and the money would stay in the provinces.

Wall has emerged among premiers as the most vociferous opponent of the federal announcement and is seeking advice as to the legality and constitutionality of the plan.

He has said there is no point in taking taxes from farmers and returning them through income tax reductions or other tax breaks.

“What is the point?” he said.

“Is this about changing behaviour or not? Is he going to burn any less fuel?”

Alberta and British Columbia offer carbon tax exemptions on fuel used on farms.

Wall also said income tax breaks won’t work if jobs are lost in carbon-intense sectors such as agriculture, mining, oil and gas, and manufacturing.

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He suggested there are three ways to fight climate change:

  • adapt to the climate change that is occurring
  • reduce domestic emissions
  • help other countries reduce emissions

For example, he cites Saskatchewan’s $1.3 billion clean coal and carbon capture project at Boundary Dam.

He said coal and fossil fuel will continue to be used as the world transitions to renewable energy sources.

“We need to clean those up to meet targets,” he said.

“There’s 2,000 coal plants being built, according to the Paris accord documents, around the world.”

Wall said technological investments and increasing use of renewable energy will fight climate change more than a carbon tax.

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  • Bruce

    At least we have one leader with some common sense. Thank you Premier Wall for standing up when no one else will.

    • Harold

      I would say differently. Premier Wall is in standing with the citizen’s of Saskatchewan amid Province’s of no equal will. Premier Wall is listening and the other Premiers are not. Common sense is with the will of the majority in Saskatchewan, and not owing of one man. I Would thank Premier Wall for his act of Duty.

  • Kelly Dundas

    Since the provinces get to keep the money collected from the tax and distribute it as they see fit, I assumed Premier Wall would send it back producers sequestering carbon (or planning to). Would seem an easy solution, no?

    • Posterboy

      His opposition regardless hints that he doesn’t plan on doing this.

  • Jayson

    The more I hear from Brad Wall about this carbon tax, the more certain I am that he really doesn’t have a clue what a carbon tax is meant to do…

    “What is the point?” he said.

    “Is this about changing behaviour or not? Is he going to burn any less fuel?”

    Yes! It’s about changing behaviour! Yes, he (and she) will burn less fuel! They will burn less because it costs more and if they don’t burn it, they still get to keep the lower tax burden on other taxes. By unleashing the power of people’s greed (and/or cheapness), they will find all the tiny little things they can do to save a buck. As a bonus to saving a buck, they also save the environment. Suddenly people who don’t care at all about the environment are making changes to save the environment, it’s just the environment inside their bank accounts that they are worried about.

    • Harold

      You must also assume that the rightful place of government is to be in the punishment business. Did we elect for their punishment? Government children aren’t we? We elect our mom’s and Dad’s, yes? Trudeau is our guardian, yes? Harper was our Guardian, yes? The best mind above your own mind, yes? Trudeau coming out of the nowhere where we are, now an authority, yes? Without examination, taught to obey authority, yes? You have no authority, yes?

      One of the sole reasons for government and the responsibility of the government is to protect property. Taxing the hell out of the citizen’s it serves, is not ensuring the protection of property, in leaving holders with fewer resources. The citizen’s are the lawful stewards of the behavior of government, and not the other way around, as you would see it.

      The results of the future Climate change is still a theory, and the Tax is a theory Tax. It is incredible how a conspiracy THEORY is quickly dismissed, but a climate change THEORY is quickly adopted. All that was required was an additional fear theory to go with it. Of course no examination is necessary because the authority of Trudeau, Obama, and the media say so. Therefore, nothing to do but obey, yes? (obey meaning believe and act)

    • Devon

      jayson. here’s the catch. farmers (do to our weather/commodity woes) are by far the cheapest most non wasteful industry out there. there. we done have money to waste. we must use manufactured fertilizers, machines, and other carbon taxed goods in order to feed billions on people. my small farm (2400 acres) alone can feed 10,000 people. but in 2022 this carbon tax on my fuels and on all the minimum products we require in order to grow a financially sustainable crop (without going broke). will cost my household 13,000$ according to CIBC bank study. i can’t pass that onto the consumer because my products are world commodity priced. so i’m paying the carbon tax for 10,000 people’s raw food. and i can’t cut any of my usage back. i already have. Damn rights i care about the environment. but we farmers don’t but into this shameful government money grab. plus where is the money going. now if there was a plan in place to create a magni-lev hoghspeed train system in canada saving the earth from air pollution from jet engines. or a plan to make all the roofs in canada out of solar panels. or reflective material to stop heat sequestration in cities. or if there was a