Deadline passes for Sask. to sign federal carbon deal

The deadline for Saskatchewan to sign on to the Pan-Canadian Framework came and went without the province signing on, but the province still plans to apply for the $62 million associated with the deal.

Sask. plans to apply for $62M from deal but will now have to compete against other applicants

Minister of Environment Dustin Duncan said Saskatchewan will apply for the money, even if the province hasn't signed on to the Pan-Canadian Framework. (CBC)

The deadline for Saskatchewan to sign on to the federal government's carbon deal has passed and the province will now have to compete against other applicants for the $62 million it would have been guaranteed by signing on.

Saskatchewan became the only province not to ratify the federal Pan-Canadian Framework when the deadline passed on Feb. 28.

$62M goes into pot

The $62 million it would have received by signing the deal will now be put into the Low Carbon Economy Challenge Fund —  a pot of money available for governments, First Nations and businesses looking to finance clean energy projects. 

"We're still going to apply for the dollars. We still think that we should be entitled to the $62 million that has been set aside and earmarked for Saskatchewan," Dustin Duncan, the province's minister of environment, told CBC Radio's Morning Edition.

"If this is truly about reducing emissions, we should be able to access those dollars to actually reduce emissions," he added.

The federal government said Saskatchewan will have to compete for the money with other provinces, the territories, municipalities, organizations and even individuals.

Duncan said the province did not sign the framework because it would be costly for Saskatchewan, as he claimed a carbon tax would cost the province $4 billion over five years. Getting $62 million over the same time is not worth it, he said.

Sask. plan

Having decided not to sign the deal because it is opposed to a carbon tax, Duncan said the province will continue to rely on carbon capture and the Boundary Dam.

The province is aiming to reduce SaskPower's carbon dioxide emissions 40 per cent by 2030 and build up renewable capacity, he added. Other parts of this plan include reducing methane emissions.

Premier says there is precedent

"We feel like that is a 'made in Saskatchewan' plan, that it will achieve more than a carbon tax ever would in terms of actually reducing emissions and will not harm the economy going forward."

As for applying for funds without signing a deal, Premier Scott Moe claimed there is a precedent for doing so.

"Quebec has never signed on to the Constitution [Act, 1982] and they receive equalization payments each and every year," Moe told reporters on Wednesday.

With files from CBC Radio's Morning Edition and CBC's Micki Cowan


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