Premier Brad Wall defends 'blunt language' on carbon pricing

Premier Brad Wall, who had earlier called Ottawa's carbon pricing plan "a betrayal", says he won't back away from defending Saskatchewan.

Wall has called federal move to make provinces put a price on carbon 'a betrayal'

Premier Brad Wall was sticking to his guns Friday when he spoke to reporters about Ottawa's carbon pricing plan. (Neil Cochrane/CBC)

Premier Brad Wall, who had earlier called Ottawa's carbon pricing plan "a betrayal", says he won't back away from defending Saskatchewan.

"When it comes to defending Saskatchewan's interests, I am going to use blunt language," Wall told reporters Friday at the Legislative Building in Regina.

Wall has previously issued statements and gone on social media to express outrage with the federal plan to fight climate change by charging polluters $10 per tonne of carbon emitted.

The amount would ramp up to $50 per tonne between 2018 and 2022.

Wall skeptical carbon pricing can be revenue-neutral

In his first public appearance to talk about what he calls Ottawa's "carbon tax", Wall reiterated some of his criticisms of the plan.

He also didn't back away from his claim that the federal plan would cost families $1,250 a year and "siphon" $2.5 billion out of the province once it's fully implemented.

Federal Liberals and some experts have said that as the plan is envisioned, the carbon revenue could be used by the provincial government to cushion the impact on families and others.

Wall said he doesn't believe the tax can be revenue-neutral the way Ottawa says. The carbon tax will hurt the agriculture, energy and mining sector and chase jobs out of the province.

"It's not going to work," he said. 

Technology solutions should be part of plan: Wall

Wall said Saskatchewan will be making its case for an alternative to the Ottawa scheme in the weeks ahead. Technological solutions, like the carbon capture project at the Boundary Dam coal-fired power plant, is part of the Saskatchewan approach, he said.

So is boosting renewable energy sources so they make up 50 per cent of the energy generated by 2030, he added.

If all else fails, the province will consider its legal options, including a possible Constitutional challenge, he said.

"If we have to go to court, we'll go to court," he said.

NDP accused Wall of having 'Twitter tantrums'

Meanwhile, interim Saskatchewan NDP leader Trent Wotherspoon was slamming Wall Friday for failing to implement a serious climate change plan after talking about it for years.

"How can the premier be taken seriously on this matter?" he asked. 

He also accused Wall of throwing "Twitter tantrums" instead of securing a seat at the table to negotiate with Ottawa.

At the same time, Wotherspoon said, he was no fan of Ottawa imposing a mandatory climate change plan on the provinces.