REGINA — Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe says his province is to stop collecting the carbon tax if Ottawa doesn’t offer a break.
Moe said Monday that starting Jan. 1, the provincial gas utility SaskEnergy won’t collect or submit the tax to the federal government unless Ottawa provides the province an exemption.
“The federal government may say that’s illegal,” Moe said in a video on the X platform, formerly known as Twitter.
“In most cases I would agree with that, but it’s the federal government that has created two classes of taxpayers by providing an exemption for heating oil, an exemption that really only applies in one part of the country and effectively excludes Saskatchewan.”
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced last week the carbon tax would be exempt for three years on home heating oil to address affordability needs.
The move largely helps those in Atlantic provinces where it’s a main source for home heating.
Moe and Alberta Premier Danielle Smith have asked Trudeau to extend that exemption to cover all other forms of heating, including natural gas.
“As premier, it’s my job to ensure Saskatchewan residents are treated fairly and equally with our fellow Canadians in other parts of the country,” he said.
“Of course, the real solution would be for the federal government to scrap the entire carbon tax on everyone and everything.”
Trudeau has denied the decision was about saving Liberal seats, but he did acknowledge it was something voters wanted.
Last week, Rural Economic Development Minister Gudie Hutchings told CTV that people in Western and Prairie provinces should elect more Liberals if they want to have conversations around potential exemptions.
Moe said Gudie’s comments “are no way to run a country.”
“I cannot accept the federal government giving an affordability break to people in one part of Canada, but not here,” he said.
Natural gas prices have recently been lower than heating oil prices.
Alberta and Saskatchewan have long called on the government to scrap the carbon tax.
Saskatchewan took Ottawa to court over the carbon tax in 2021, but lost its challenge when the Supreme Court deemed it was constitutional.
Along with the heating oil exemption, Trudeau announced Ottawa would increase the rebate top-up to rural Canadians.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 30, 2023.
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