The federal government's move to scale back its carbon tax policy is not enough to reduce the damage the plan will have on the economy, according to Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe, who's calling for Ottawa to scrap the proposal completely.
Somewhat surprisingly, given Saskatchewan's long-standing opposition to any form of carbon taxation, the document says the province, "Would have no constitutional objection if the federal government adopted a national carbon tax that applied uniformly all across the country".
After private meetings with stakeholders last week, Ottawa proposed lowering how much big polluters and vulnerable firms or those facing stiff foreign competition will have to pay to emit CO2.
Earlier this month, Ontario quit the California cap and trade market and joined Saskatchewan in suing the federal government to try to block it from imposing its carbon tax on them.
"This climb-down by the federal government is a signal that we have been right all along", Ontario Environment Minister Rod Phillips said during Question Period on Wednesday.
The province announced in April it would take its carbon tax fight to the province's highest court as a reference case, meaning the court will render an advisory opinion on whether or not Ottawa's plan is constitutional.
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The factum characterizes the federal legislation, called the Greenhouse Gas Pollution Pricing Act, as "unprecedented in Canadian history".
However he said the lighter burden should help industry but doesn't reduce the burden the carbon price will place on individual consumers. She said any plan has to be done looking at the environment and the economy together.
Now, Ottawa is easing that limit in most sectors to allow for emissions up to 80 per cent of the industrial average.
Moe said this is Ottawa acknowledging a carbon tax will have economic impact.
He reiterated that Ottawa's carbon tax policy is flawed and won't work in Canada if it hasn't worked around the world. "We are committed to providing draft regulations in Fall 2018". He says taxing 10 or 20 per cent of carbon emissions will likely lower emissions at the same rate while lowering the costs for businesses. "We are encouraged that the government is consulting with us". The industry feels "a certain amount of frustration", said Tim McMillan, president of the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers. He said that while industries like lime and steel could benefit from the changes, the energy industry is Canada's key exporter and investment has declined domestically over the past several years, while it has risen recently in the United States, Canada's main customer and competitor.