The Saskatchewan government is gearing up for a court hearing in February which could determine the future of a federal carbon tax. At the heart of the matter is the question whether the federal government has the ability to impose a tax for some provinces, but not others, as the federal carbon tax would only be in effect in four Canadian provinces, including Saskatchewan, while not applied in the six remaining provinces.
Dustin Duncan the provincial Minister of Environment explained Saskatchewan had developed their own plan to combat climate change, which they dubbed Prairie Resilience.
“Just because we don’t accept the argument around a carbon tax doesn’t mean that we’re not interested in doing something for the environment, and having a climate change plan,” Duncan told Discover Weyburn. “So, we knew we needed to have our own plan so to be able to say to the federal government there’s no need for a carbon tax plan in Saskatchewan because we’re covered.”
The Prairie Resilience plan has been widely accepted by industry in the province, according to Duncan. He added portions of the Saskatchewan developed plan have also been co-opted into some of the regulations the federal government is looking to put into place alongside the carbon tax in the spring.
“Industry in Saskatchewan that will come under Saskatchewan’s Prairie Resilience plan, they want to be regulated by the provincial government; they’ve always said right from the beginning that they’d much rather be regulated by the provincial government than the federal government.”
The Prairie Resilience plan is also integral for when the province takes their case in front of the Court of Appeal in mid-February, Duncan reiterated.
“We can say to the Court of Appeal that’s going to hear the case that there is no need for a federal carbon tax backstop because we, in fact, have our own made-in-Saskatchewan plan.”
The federal carbon tax is scheduled to take effect in Saskatchewan on April 15th, 2019. The case will be before the courts on February 14th and 15th of next year.