Brad Wall in Paris and the Speech from the Throne

On the mid-week podcast, Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall's frustration with being called "Canada's dissenting voice" in Paris and what to expect in the opening days of the 42nd Parliament.
Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall, left, speaks during a First Ministers meeting at the Canadian Museum of Nature in Ottawa on Monday. (Adrian Wyld/The Canadian Press)

Canada's dissenting voice at the United Nations Climate Change Conference?

"It's been a bit frustrating to read that," Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall told The House from Paris.

Since he arrived in the French capital, Wall has been portrayed as a contrarian among Canadian premiers by raising issues about the economic implications of fighting climate change.

It's a characterization that seems to frustrate Wall.

"Saskatchewan comes to this conference earnestly, understanding that we are a per capita high emitter, so we need to do better in our province," Wall said, pointing out, for example, that the province is investing in carbon capture.

"I don't know how Saskatchewan can be an outlier in this when we are offering a potential solution," he says — a solution, Wall argues, that could be "more important that any carbon tax we could do nationally or some sort of cap-and-trade program that we could do nationally."

Legally binding targets?

The Premier of Saskatchewan was sceptical the Paris talks could result in a deal that would include legally binding targets.

"I don't know how it could be in the United States," he said. "I'm not sure how you can have an agreement that's legally binding if the United States, the largest economy in the world, simply can't sign it because the President doesn't have the confidence that he can get it passed by the Senate and the House."

Wall said if there are no legally binding targets south of the border, the same should hold true in Canada. "I don't know why we would, honestly, because I think we need to remain in step with our American counterparts."

42nd Parliament

Also on today's podcast, Heather Scoffield, the parliamentary bureau chief for the Canadian Press, and Joel-Denis Bellavance, parliamentary bureau chief for La Presse, look ahead to Friday's Speech from the Throne.