Warren Kaeding MLA - Fall Session Part 1 - Report from the Legislature

Oct 22, 2018

The new session of the legislature opened this week with a Throne Speech focused on our government’s commitment to stand up for Saskatchewan people. This includes our plans to implement our Prairie Resilience Climate Change strategy, improve cellular coverage in rural communities, and deliver a balanced budget for 2019-20.

While our economy and the province’s finances are showing signs of improvement, we are still facing challenges due to the threat of a damaging federal carbon tax, continued sanctions from the USA on our steel and uranium industries, and a deeply discounted price for our oil caused by a lack of pipelines.

The day before our Throne Speech, politicians from Ottawa made headlines with a new plan to hit Saskatchewan with a carbon tax. This scheme is a shell game where we would all be forced to pay more for basic necessities like fuel, heat and power.

Promising a new rebate for families to offset all of these increasing costs, The Trudeau Liberals are now desperately trying to convince us that we will actually be better off by paying more to gas up our vehicles, heat our homes and keep the lights on.

Most of us here in Saskatchewan have to drive a lot for work, and for our kids. We also have to heat our homes on some very cold days. The Trudeau carbon tax means that all of these things are going to cost a lot more – and those are just the direct costs.

Hockey rinks, rec centres, school divisions, and municipalities are all going to be paying a lot of carbon tax and, at the end of the day, that cost is going to get passed along to us.

Our agriculture sector will be hit hard as well, despite the federal government claiming otherwise. Producers will still pay on inputs such as road and rail transport, as well as natural gas and propane consumption in shops, barns and grain dryers.

Saskatchewan people won’t be fooled. The new Trudeau carbon tax plan is a cynical attempt to buy your vote with your money. Saskatchewan people know the Trudeau carbon tax is not good environmental or economic policy. An analysis from the University of Regina earlier this year estimated the federal carbon tax would hurt Saskatchewan’s economy by almost $16 billion, with little effect on emissions.

Our government has a plan for the environment and reducing emissions – our Prairie Resilience strategy – which has been accepted by the federal government. The feds, however, are still choosing to put this punishing tax on Saskatchewan.

Prairie Resilience will apply new performance standards for Saskatchewan industry heavy-emitters and reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the oil and gas sector, while SaskPower continues to increase our renewable-energy generation.

We do not believe a carbon tax will be effective in tackling climate change. It will hurt Saskatchewan’s economy and it will hurt Saskatchewan families’ finances.

Our constitutional court challenge continues and we are repeating our call for the federal government to respect our legal challenge and hold off imposing the carbon tax in Saskatchewan at least until the courts have decided.