Premier wants NDP support to oppose carbon tax

Premier Brad Wall wants the NDP Opposition to join the Saskatchewan Party government in opposing Ottawa's carbon tax.

Brad Wall says federal plan would be a job-killer

Saskatchewan MLAs could be holding a debate soon about Ottawa's carbon pricing initiative. (CBC)

Premier Brad Wall wants the NDP Opposition to join the Saskatchewan Party government in opposing Ottawa's carbon tax.

Wall introduced a motion in the Legislature Monday to oppose the Prime Minister's proposed carbon pricing scheme.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's plan would put a price on carbon emissions that would start at $10 a tonne starting in 2018, increasing to $50 by 2022.

Wall says forcing Saskatchewan to pay that would kill jobs and punish industries that are heavily concentrated in the province — including mining and agriculture.

"What good is some sort of income tax relief we could provide from all of this carbon tax revenue if people aren't earning an income because they've lost their jobs," Wall said of the revenue-neutral proposal by the federal government.

He's also asking the NDP to support the provincial government's alternative plan to reduce greenhouse gases. 

"It's an indication to Ottawa that it isn't just the Saskatchewan Party of government that has this view, but it's the other party and assembly as well," Wall said.

"This is an area we need to come together to defend the province against the national carbon tax."

Wall said he was hopeful the Sask. Party would receive universal support but did not think the NDP would agree to the motion.

That plan talks about investing in technology, such as carbon capture on coal plants, and having Ottawa spend more on helping regions adapt to climate change.

The Opposition NDP has said the provincial government dragged its feet on any real policy to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and therefore left itself vulnerable to an ultimatum from the federal government.

"Certainly, we'll stand opposed to a plan being imposed on us by Ottawa," said opposition leader Trent Wotherspoon. "But we're equally disappointed with this premier's actions on this front, that's left us in this position to have something imposed on us because of his lack of action and leadership on climate change." 

A proposed amendment by the NDP asked the assembly to condemn Brad Wall "for his failure to address climate change after nearly a decade in power and for giving up Saskatchewan's voice and credibility."

The premier called the NDP's claim the Sask. Party has done nothing "fundamentally wrong," citing investment in clean coal technology.

Wall also criticized the NDP for "finding a way to be partisan" on the issue and being contrarian.

Trudeau and Saskatchewan Liberal MP Ralph Goodale have said that revenues collected from carbon pricing would stay in Saskatchewan and it would be up to the provincial government to decide what to do with the money.