October 03, 2016

Statement from Premier Brad Wall Regarding the Prime Minister's Announcement to Impose a Carbon Tax

I cannot believe that while the country’s environment ministers were meeting on a so-called collaborative climate change plan, the Prime Minister stood in the House of Commons and announced a carbon tax unilaterally.

This meeting is not worth the CO2 emissions it took for environment ministers to get there.

The level of disrespect shown by the Prime Minister and his government today is stunning. This is a betrayal of the statements made by the Prime Minister in Vancouver this March. And this new tax will damage our economy.

The bottom line is that the Saskatchewan economy – already hurting from a downturn in commodity prices - will be one of the hardest hit by a new federal carbon tax because of our trade-exposed resource industries. 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. For example, we have no idea what the U.S. government will do when it comes to carbon pricing. Yet our federal government is ploughing ahead with a carbon tax apparently unconcerned about the potential impact on our energy industry, which competes with North Dakota, Texas and Oklahoma. It’s not difficult to foresee an exodus of oil rigs south of the border, and fewer people working in Saskatchewan’s already struggling oil and gas sector.

Saskatchewan industries will feel the impact. So, too, will Saskatchewan families. 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.

As I have said many times before, we are having the wrong conversation in Canada.  The national focus on carbon pricing holds the lowest potential for reducing emissions, while potentially doing the greatest harm to the Canadian economy. We produce less than two percent of global GHG emissions. Whatever impact the federal carbon tax will have on Canada’s emissions, global GHG emissions will continue to rise because of the developing world’s reliance on coal-fired electricity. Canada can make an important contribution in the battle against climate change by developing made-in-Canada solutions in areas like power production, transportation, natural resource development, manufacturing and construction.

In the coming weeks, Saskatchewan will investigate all options to mitigate the impact of one of the largest national tax increases in Canadian history.