Despite Premier Brad Wall's claims that Ottawa's carbon-pricing system will take money away from Saskatchewan families, federal Minister of Public Safety Ralph Goodale says that's simply not true.
In Ottawa on Tuesday, Goodale spoke to reporters addressing concerns brought up by the Saskatchewan premier, who called Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's announcement yesterday a betrayal.
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In the House of Commons on Monday, while the country's environment ministers were meeting in Montreal, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced a federal carbon pricing deadline all provinces must comply with by 2018 — or the federal government will impose a price.
The federal government's direct-pricing plan means polluters will pay $10 per tonne starting in 2018, increasing to $50 per tonne by 2022.
First off, Goodale explained all the revenue coming from carbon pricing in Saskatchewan would stay in in Saskatchewan.
"It's not a shift of wealth, tax revenue out of the province, it's entirely contained within the province," Goodale said, adding the province could choose to return all the revenue back to the people through tax reductions.
Every single penny remains in Saskatchewan and under Saskatchewan's control. Every cent. - Ralph Goodale
On Monday, in a released statement criticizing Trudeau's approach, Wall said this carbon-pricing system would take $2.5 billion from the Saskatchewan economy.
Goodale dismissed that claim, stating again the revenue collected from the carbon tax would stay in the hands of the Saskatchewan government.
"Every single penny remains in Saskatchewan and under Saskatchewan's control. Every cent," he said.
The minister added the provincial governments also have control over how the carbon tax is collected. Goodale referenced the Saskatchewan Party's green fund technology legislation introduced in 2009, however that piece of legislation hasn't been proclaimed yet.
According to the Opposition NDP's environment critic Cathy Sproule, the legislation was designed to tax the province's heaviest polluters, with the money going towards innovative, green technology projects. Since becoming the environment critic, Sproule said she hasn't seen any movement from the government's environment ministers.
When asked about the prime minister's announcement in the House of Commons yesterday, Goodale said it's important for the federal government to move this file forward, adding the provinces and the federal government need to continue to work constructively.
"The provinces had been working on various proposals. But unfortunately that work had not arrived at a consensus," Goodale said. "These are big issues, they're controversial issues. It's really important for all of us to work very hard to keep a constructive dialogue going forward."
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau also addressed the issue on Twitter today.
He wrote that he and Premier Wall had engaged in "spirited, direct conversation" about clean growth and climate change.