Sask.'s Brad Wall says timing not right for carbon tax
Provincial resources sector is carbon intensive and under stress, Wall says
Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall says his province's resource sector is a carbon intensive industry which is currently under stress and the addition of a taxing mechanism — to combat climate change — would not be good.
"Saskatchewan is home to some very carbon intense industries," Wall said Friday at a news conference following a meeting of premiers and the federal government. "[Those industries] employ thousands of people for whom I work."
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and most premiers signed a framework Friday to meet the country's 2030 emissions reduction targets.
Wall said he could not agree to a system that imposes a tax on carbon emissions, arguing the oil and gas sector as well as mining and agriculture sectors could ill-afford such a cost.
"A carbon tax is going to disproportionately hurt those sectors and all of those — save agriculture— are under stress right now," he said, noting some 3,000 jobs were lost in the oil sector and recent layoffs at potash mines. "Now is not the time, 2018 is not the time for a tax."
Wall's position had been firmly stated before the Ottawa meetings and he was not persuaded to change his mind.
"I just didn't hear what I might have needed to hear about the pricing mechanism," he said, adding that he remained unswayed by the notion that the tax would be revenue neutral.
Wall questioned the utility of redistributing any revenue collected, in the form of income tax relief, when the tax could jeopardize jobs and growth.
"What good is that?" he asked.