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Moose Jaw Express February 6, 2019

Carbon Tax Constitutional Challenge

Your Saskatchewan Party provincial government is standing up for Saskatchewan. On February 13th and 14th, the Saskatchewan Court of Appeal will hear our government’s arguments that the Trudeau government’s plan to impose a carbon tax on our province is unconstitutional.

Not only would a federal carbon tax do nothing to reduce global emissions, it would negatively impact the personal finances of individuals and families, and harm our economy.

Analysis from the University of Regina’s Institute for Energy, Environment and Sustainable Communities estimated the federal carbon tax would hurt Saskatchewan’s economy by almost $16 billion, with little effect on actually reducing emissions.

Our government’s Prairie Resilience plan is a made-in-Saskatchewan climate change strategy focused on resilience and reducing emissions without a harmful carbon tax. First introduced in December 2017, the plan has in part been accepted by the federal government. Despite this, they still insist on imposing their harmful carbon tax on Saskatchewan people.

Our government is confident in our constitutional challenge to protect the people and the economy of Saskatchewan.

In August of 2018, the government developed new output-based performance standards that will apply to more than 40 Saskatchewan industrial facilities. Saskatchewan’s performance standards will increase over an established schedule from 2019 to 2030, cumulatively reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 5.3 million tonnes.

Last October, Bill 132, The Management and Reduction of Greenhouse Gases Amendment Act, was introduced in the Legislature and later passed. This Bill provides the regulatory framework for performance standards to reduce industrial greenhouse gas emissions, and provides a number of compliance options like a provincial technology fund, as well as best performance credits and offset credits. The amendments require large emitters to register with the province. Stakeholders, including industry and associations, provided input into the regulatory framework and indicated support for the amendments throughout consultations this past year.

Two weeks ago, the Saskatchewan Government released regulations with the goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions from venting and flaring in the province’s upstream oil and gas sector by 4.5 million tonnes per year by 2025. The regulations, part of the province’s Methane Action Plan, signal a comprehensive, results-based approach and include annual penalties for non-compliance.

SaskPower is also doing their part and has committed to reducing CO2 emissions by 40% from 2005 levels by 2030. To achieve this target SaskPower plans to add more renewable generation in the coming years.

In addition to adding more renewables to the power generation mix, residents of Moose Jaw became aware that SaskPower has determined that the Moose Jaw South East Industrial Park is their preferred site to build a new 350 MW gas plant. Working with the City of Moose Jaw to secure a land option is the first of many steps to see this project through completion. The power station is important to ensure the residents of Saskatchewan have a reliable source of power that meets our growing needs as a province, aids in reliability of service and also boosts economic development in the process. The new power station will generate enough power for a city the size of Saskatoon.

Rather than carbon taxes that go to government general revenue, it’s time that governments across Canada and around the world started to focus on innovation. A focus on developing technology that can be used around the world to reduce emissions is the logical response if we actually want to solve the global problem.