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“I think people are really struggling right now across Canada, and adding another cost that’s going to hit consumers right now is really the wrong approach,” said Meili.
Moe said the “massive increase” revealed on Friday comes at the worst possible time, adding new costs amid economic uncertainty, even though it won’t change anything until 2023. The focus of climate action should be on technology and innovation, in Moe’s view, rather than “a single carbon tax that will increase the cost of everything.”
But the federal plan released Friday does include $15 billion in new funding to support a other climate initiatives, including subsidies for technology like electric vehicles. Ottawa is also sticking with its commitment to return virtually all of its carbon pricing revenues to residents of provinces where they’re collected. For an average Saskatchewan family of four, a $170 per tonne carbon tax would mean $3,829 in annual rebates, doled out quarterly.
Moe said Saskatchewan “will continue fighting this ineffective and unconstitutional carbon tax.” The province took its arguments to the Supreme Court of Canada in September to challenge the tax. It is still awaiting a decision.
But Wilkinson said carbon pricing isn’t going anywhere, even if Saskatchewan’s constitutional challenge succeeds.
“The likely outcome, in the unlikely event that the federal government were to lose, is the need for us to simply adjust the way in which the price on pollution is implemented,” he said. “There are other ways to do it.
He said it “doesn’t necessarily mean that the price on pollution doesn’t proceed.
“But at the end of the day we’re going to all need to wait to hear what the Supreme Court has to say,” said Wilkinson.