Sask. Premier condemns 'carbon cops' in federal budget

The Saskatchewan government isn’t overly excited about what the federal government’s latest budget means for the province.

Moe hopeful Saskatchewan can secure funding for RCMP, Indigenous communities

Premier Scott Moe said he condemns the federal government’s investment into what he calls “carbon cops.” (CBC News)

Saskatchewan's leaders are not overly excited about what the federal government's latest budget means for the province.

Following the release of Tuesday's budget, Finance Minister Donna Harpauer called it "status quo," saying it will not affect the upcoming Saskatchewan budget.

"I do not have to go back and sharpen my pencil and change our budget in any way," she said.

Both Harpauer and Premier Scott Moe said they were pleased to see there were no changes to transfer payments to the provinces.

Moe also commended the federal government for spending  $80 million over five years in the training of new RCMP cadets, some of whom Moe said Saskatchewan will hopefully have access to.

Under a chapter titled 'Reconciliation', the 2018 budget earmarks new funding for Indigenous child welfare, health care, water, housing and self government.

"We look to work with our federal government and our First Nations communities across Saskatchewan to access those dollars as we move forward," Moe said.

"Many of those are in five-year funding envelopes and a little bit vague on how we're able to access them so we've asked for more information."

Moe and Harpauer both said they were disappointed to see a new cap on passive income tax rates.

The budget states that access to the lower small business tax rate will be gradually reduced for corporations that earn more than $50,000 in an annual income from passive investments. Those earning $150,000 or more will not be eligible for the small business deduction.

"We don't view that as a positive because people will save for a few years for major capital investments," Moe said.

Above all, Moe said he condemns the federal government's investment into what he calls "carbon cops."

Moe said the budget sets aside $106 million over five years to "look at jurisdictions that are not implementing this ill-conceived carbon tax and Saskatchewan will be one of those jurisdictions."

"There's more dollars that are being allocated to policing a carbon pricing system than we're discussing in the low-carbon economy fund that Saskatchewan will be attempting to assess," he said.

The federal government has promised a share of a $1.4 billion fund for emission reduction programs in provinces that sign on to the Pan-Canadian climate plan — which includes implementing carbon pricing. The deadline to sign up is Feb. 28 and Saskatchewan is the only province that has refused to sign.

"We need to remain competitive. A carbon tax most certainly does not do that," Moe said.