'White paper is frankly more like a ransom note': Sask. premier willing to take feds to court over carbon tax

Following the federal government unveiling its white paper, which outlines a carbon tax, Premier Brad wall has spoken against the tax. Wall said he does not believe the tax is the best way to fight climate change.

Proposed federal rules will only apply in provinces without their own carbon tax

Premier Brad Wall said the paper does not recognize work done in Saskatchewan to reduce carbon emissions. (Craig Edwards/CBC)

Premier Brad Wall likened the federal government's white paper to ransom note and restated that the Saskatchewan would be willing to take the government to court over the carbon tax.

"This federal government white paper is frankly more like a ransom note," Wall said. 

"It's the federal government saying here's what you're going to do from a public policy perspective or this is what will be forced on the economy and the taxpayers in Saskatchewan and we're going to fight it in court."

The white paper outlines a starting price of $10 a tonne on carbon dioxide emissions in 2018. That rate would increase to $50 a tonne by 2022.

Wall was critical of the levy proposed by the federal government that states all taxes would go back to the provinces.

When pressed on the levy Wall said, "we'd rather not have a carbon tax, so we'll take our chances in court first."

Not the right time

Following question period, Wall echoed a previous statement made in December 2016 that it was the wrong time to impose a carbon tax.

Wall said the federal government should recognize the research and development done in Saskatchewan to address carbon emissions. 

"We should be acknowledged for these things, as serious about the climate change issue as we are. And that's why in part, we would have made the case that a carbon tax is not the way to go," said Wall.

Premier Wall said the carbon tax directly affects the largest employment sectors in Saskatchewan. (Cenovus)

"In our province we're particularly vulnerable because the industries that drive jobs, that create jobs for Saskatchewan families are, by definition, the one's that will be the target of this tax," said Wall.

Stringent in his opposition to the tax Wall pointed to the provincial carbon tax in British Columbia. He said that the tax in B.C. has not yielded lower emissions, in fact, they've increased — though so has the province's GDP.

"We're saying, we don't think this is the most effective way to fight climate change," said Wall.

With files from Stefani Langenegger


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