Wall will not sign on to carbon price at ministers' meeting

Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall says he will not sign on to any agreement on a carbon tax at a press conference prior to the ministers’ meeting with the prime minister in Ottawa.

Sask. premier repeated position that he will not sign any policy that adversely affects western Canada

Sask. Premier Brad Wall said he would not sign on to a carbon pricing plan at a ministers' meeting in Ottawa on Friday. (Trent Peppler/CBC News)

Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall said he will not sign on to any agreement on a carbon tax at the first ministers' meeting with the prime minister in Ottawa on Friday.

At a press conference prior to the meeting, the premier said the provinces are being asked to agree to a carbon tax without an impact study on how it would affect the economy.

Wall repeated his position that he would not sign on to the plan, saying a carbon price would adversely affect western Canada.

"Competitiveness for Canadians matters, especially at a time when our energy sector is reeling from low commodity prices," said Wall at the press conference.

"Our farmers by 2022 are going to have a $50 a tonne price. The average impact on a farm is up to $80,000 a year. That's a full time job."

Wall argued a carbon price that is implemented differently across the country is problematic.

"There will be an imbalance in competitiveness within the country because the size and the number of emitters you have in central Canada allow them to do a cap and trade plan," said Wall.

"That will ensure that carbon has a much, much lower price in central Canada than it does in western Canada."

Wall also said Canada would not be able to compete globally with countries not implementing a carbon tax.

He said he will consider taking the federal government to court if it insists on a carbon tax.

"We'll examine our legal options, and we think we have some. We've asked our Ministry of Justice. We have excellent lawyers in our Ministry of Justice when it comes to constitutional matters," he said.

Carbon capture and storage

Wall said Canada should focus on innovation and technology in addressing climate change, pointing to the carbon capture and storage technology at Boundary Dam 3 in Saskatchewan. 

Wall argued Canada should be a leader on cleaning up coal on the 2,400 plants being planned and built across the world.

SaskPower's Boundary Dam 3 was online 67 per cent of days in November, capturing 47,113 tonnes of carbon dioxide. This is 49 per cent of the station's capacity.

The station underwent maintenance for six days. There was also a compressor electrical failure in the unit, taking it offline for several days.