"The carbon tax will siphon over $2.5 billion from Saskatchewan's economy when fully implemented and make our province a less competitive place to do business." - Brad Wall, Premier of Saskatchewan
Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall is Canada’s champion of fighting carbon taxes.
TRUDEAU'S CARBON TAX ANNOUNCED
On October 3, 2016, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau blindsided Canada’s premiers, by announcing a 2018 deadline to adopt a carbon pricing scheme or have the federal government step in and impose one on them. "If neither price nor cap and trade is in place by 2018, the government of Canada will implement a price in that jurisdiction," Trudeau said.
Trudeau’s announcement took place in the House of Commons at the same time Canada’s federal and provincial environment ministers were meeting to discuss the issue and weeks before he called for a national meeting with the premiers to discuss what he called a “national climate strategy”.
BRAD WALL'S REACTION: NO CARBON TAX!
Brad Wall was incensed that Trudeau would make such a unilateral announcement in contrast to the agreement to work collaboratively that was discussed by the first ministers in March of that year. Already hurting from a downturn in commodity prices, Wall said, Saskatchewan will be one of the provinces hardest hit by a carbon tax because of its export resource industries.
"I cannot believe that while the country's environment ministers were meeting on a so-called collaborative climate change plan, the prime minister stood in the House of Commons and announced a carbon tax unilaterally," Wall said in a statement. "The level of disrespect shown by the prime minister and his government today is stunning." He added “And this new tax will damage our economy.”
Wall rightly advocated that Saskatchewan industries and the province's families will feel the impact of Trudeau's carbon tax plan, costing the average family around $1,250 a year.
"The carbon tax will siphon over $2.5 billion from Saskatchewan's economy when fully implemented and make our province a less competitive place to do business," Wall said.
BRAD WALL'S CAMPAIGN AGAINST THE TRUDEAU CARBON TAX
Since then, Wall has been a vocal and outspoken advocate against carbon taxes of any kind, not letting up on his fight against the federal government.
He has correctly pointed out that carbon taxes cannot be revenue-neutral the way Trudeau has attempted to sell them. Wall has also correctly pointed out that carbon taxes will hurt industry in agriculture, energy, and mining and result in lost jobs in Saskatchewan.
On December 9, 2016, following a First Minister’s meeting where Trudeau announced his Pan-Canadian Framework on Clean Growth and Climate Change – an attempt at unilaterally imposing carbon taxes on all the provinces - Wall flatly asserted he won’t sign any agreement that includes the Liberal carbon pricing plan.
“We’re being asked to agree to a carbon tax that the federal government admits will cascade through the system for Canadians, and we’re being asked to do it without a full assessment,” he said in Ottawa. “We’re not signing.”
Wall went on to later explain: “We are rushing into this — without the benefit of due diligence, without an impact assessment so we can look Canadians in the eye and say, ‘This is what it’ll do to your job, by the way, if you work in agriculture, in mining or energy or other trade-exposed industries. We’re doing it without the benefit of a study that’ll say, ‘And this is what it’ll do to your household budget.’ We will not be signing this framework today, for these and other reasons.”
His strong advocacy and leadership on the issue also forced BC Premier, Christy Clark, to come around to backing up Wall’s comments by stating that BC would not agree to an escalating national carbon price if it meant Quebec and Ontario’s cap and trade system would result in lower carbon dioxide emission prices per tonne.
THE ELECTION OF DONALD TRUMP
The morning after President Donald Trump’s election victory, on the heels of Trump's campaign where he promised to withdraw the United States from the Paris Agreement, Premier Wall voiced concerns that Canada’s pursuit of carbon taxes would further damage the Canadian economy at a time when the United States would be looking at ways to lower their energy costs. Wall stated, “The election result means we will not be seeing a carbon tax in the US any time soon," going on to say "It makes no sense for our federal government to push ahead with imposing a national carbon tax, when our biggest trading partner — and our biggest competitor for investment and jobs — is not going to have one."
SECRET FEDERAL MEMO ON THE IMPACT OF THE CARBON TAX
By December 9, 2016, Premier Wall called on Trudeau to release an un-redacted version of a secret memo prepared for the federal finance minister that states carbon pricing would “cascade throughout the economy and prices would increase most for goods that make intensive use of carbon-based energy." Click here to read more.
Premier Wall continues to look at all methods to stop the federal government from imposing carbon pricing in Saskatchewan including a constitutional challenge in court.
WHAT THE POLLS ARE REPORTING
A January 17, 2017 poll showed Premier Wall is also being rewarded for his strong advocacy in opposing carbon taxes as 73% of Saskatchewan voters agree with his position. Click here to read more on the poll.
Working Canadians are lucky to have Brad Wall as the premier of Saskatchewan as he does the heavy lifting defending taxpayers across the country from predatory carbon taxes being unilaterally imposed.
Other premiers and party leaders should take note across Canada and stand shoulder to shoulder with Brad Wall in fighting the imposition of carbon taxes, of any kind.