'Now is not the time': Sask. Premier Brad Wall responds to carbon tax rumours
Wall says Saskatchewan is already working on a carbon pricing initiative
Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall says the province's message remains unchanged when it comes to a federal carbon tax — now is not the time — but the province is working on its own plan to combat climate change.
Wall, speaking to reporters in Saskatoon on Friday morning, responded to what he called rumours that the federal government is moving forward unilaterally with a tax on carbon.
- Sask. Premier Brad Wall says federal carbon tax could take $1.3B out of provincial economy
- Sask. Premier Brad Wall says he 'won't be signing' national carbon tax agreement
"It is a tax, by definition, [that] will disproportionately impact sectors that are important to our province," he said.
Wall said such a tax would impact everything from the oil and gas, potash and agriculture sectors as well as SaskPower.
Wall's comments came the same day he said the province's oil sector is among the top performing in the country with the number of active drilling rigs in Saskatchewan are up compares to figures from a year ago.
He said Saskatchewan's rig utilization is also leading the country.
Sask. carbon pricing in the works: Wall
Wall also suggested the province has a method for pricing carbon already in the works — but not a provincial carbon tax, but a levy for high emitters.
"Those companies that have actually been responsible for the emissions ... can apply to the fund and have the money come back to them if they are focused on cleaning up their emissions," he said. "That levy is going to hit ... those who use a lot of electricity."
Technology, not taxes
Wall said the focus should be on improving technology to reduce emissions, not on a tax that could take money away from the province. Wall previously estimated a carbon tax could cost Saskatchewan $1.3 billion.
"Paying some sort of an environmental guilt payment in the form of a carbon tax isn't going to get us to the point where we have reduced emissions," he said. "Technology will."
Wall isn't sure when such a levy could be introduced and is waiting for word from the federal government on their carbon tax.
He is set to meet with Canada's other premiers in October where climate change will be on the agenda.