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Ottawa rejects Sask. carbon pricing plan

Ottawa rejects Sask. carbon pricing plan

Industry groups remain concerned about how carbon pricing affects farmers

By Diego Flammini
Staff Writer

The federal government has rejected Saskatchewan’s proposal for a provincial carbon pricing plan, Premier Scott Moe announced on Tuesday.

“The fact that the federal government will not consider this proposal from Saskatchewan for more than two years into the future is short-sighted (and) it will continue to penalize the Saskatchewan people,” he said during a press conference.

Saskatchewan made its proposal to the federal government earlier in the year.

It included allowing SaskPower and SaskEnergy to be classified under the province’s heavy emitters regulations, a consumer carbon price on fuel which could be rebated in part at the fuel pump and an offset program for heavy emitters.

Saskatchewan’s plan exceeded federal benchmarks to help ensure the federal government’s acceptance.

Ottawa’s rejection of the plan doesn’t make sense, Moe said.

“We don’t see a good reason as to why they wouldn’t accept Saskatchewan’s plan as it exceeds the minimum standard that is out there, which is really the strength of the Supreme Court ruling that was there,” Moe said Tuesday.

The reason for the federal government’s decision may be because they are planning to change emissions targets.

Environment Minister Jonathan Wilkinson has indicated as much.

“As we discussed, and as our respective officials have discussed over the past several months, Canada has committed to updating its approach to carbon pricing to make it more fair and rigorous,” Wilkinson said in a letter to the provinces, CBC reports.

Even if that is the case, Saskatchewan’s plan could’ve worked until changes were necessary, Moe said.

“The federal government says they want to change that benchmark in 2023 and that’s fine,” Moe said. “We would work with the federal government on what that new benchmark in 2023.”

Industry groups remain concerned with how carbon pricing will affect agriculture.

Taking agriculture into account when developing these plans is important for the industry, said Duane Haave, general manager of Agricultural Producers Association of Sasaktchewan.

“Our members are still still concerned about the impact of indirect costs like rail transportation, grain drying and heating of barns, and would like whichever level of government is responsible for carbon pricing to provide further exemptions,” he told in an email.

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