Federal minister says halting carbon tax would not make life more affordable for Sask. people

·1 min read
Federal Minister of Natural Resources Jonathan Wilkinson visited Regina to address the Chamber of Commerce. (CBC News - image credit)
Federal Minister of Natural Resources Jonathan Wilkinson visited Regina to address the Chamber of Commerce. (CBC News - image credit)

Gas prices in Saskatchewan remain sky high as other provinces adopt measures to help curb the cost.

While Premier Scott Moe says he is still considering action at the provincial level, some are pointing the finger at Ottawa, asking for a suspension of the federal carbon tax.

Federal Minister of Natural Resources Jonathan Wilkinson was in Regina Tuesday to address the District Chamber of Commerce. He said people calling for a carbon tax freeze due to fuel prices don't understand how it works.

"Here in Saskatchewan, the carbon price is refunded through a rebate to all citizens," he said.

"It actually works in a manner that people of more modest incomes get more than they pay. So if you get rid of the carbon tax, you end up actually making the affordability issue worse."

The Government of Canada imposed a federal carbon tax on April 1, 2019. The tax is applied to all fossil fuels sold in Saskatchewan, including natural gas, coal, oil and propane.

The carbon tax has been a source of tension between Ottawa and Saskatchewan since it was implemented. The province challenged the constitutionality of the tax, but ultimately lost in the Supreme Court of Canada.

The carbon tax was designed to tackle emissions not only from big business, but from average households.

Approximately 90 per cent of taxes collected are returned to residents through Climate Action Incentive payments.

Wilkinson pointed to other measures the federal government is taking to tackle high fuel prices, including ramping up oil production.

"Of course we are concerned about affordability," said Wilkinson. "We have acted, and we are looking at acting further."

The average cost impact per household of the federal carbon tax system can be found here.

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