Sask. government wrong to say carbon tax is ineffective, says policy group

Saskatchewan premier Scott Moe is an outspoken critic of the federal government's carbon tax, saying it will do nothing to cut harmful greenhouse gas emissions.  

One policy group is suggesting Moe is wrong.

On Wednesday, the Ecofiscal Commission tabled a report that suggested carbon pricing may be Canada's best bet in meeting its promise under the Paris climate agreement to reduce harmful greenhouse gas emissions.

'Carbon pricing does work'

When asked about Moe's argument against the carbon tax, one of the authors of the report, economist and chair of the Ecofiscal Commission Chris Ragan, said Moe is wrong.

"I think there's actually considerable and growing evidence around the world that carbon pricing does work," said Ragan in an interview with CBC Radio's Saskatoon Morning.  

Ragan did not mince words for Moe and other critics of carbon pricing and suggested that "the onus is on them to present the alternative."

Carbon tax will cost less, says policy group

Ragan said that Ecofiscal did look at the alternatives from new regulations, to subsidies for Canadians buying electric vehicles, or companies developing carbon capture methods.

"That's what this report is all about, he said. "If not carbon pricing, then what? The problem is the 'then what' options end up being worse for the economy, worse for Canadians."

Scott Moe points to the government's Prairie Resilience strategy as a made-in-Saskatchewan solution to address climate change.

But critics like Ragan say the goals outlined in that plan are not enough to help Canada fulfill its promise to cut emissions.

"I think Canadians need to be told the truth," said Ragan. "Our current policies aren't going to get us to our 2030 targets."

"Any government that wants to knowingly impose policies that are high higher cost … I would like them to actually come clean on that."

Ecofiscal Commission is calling for a substantial increase in Canada's carbon tax.   

The Saskatchewan Government is set to argue its case against the federal carbon tax at the Supreme Court in the New Year.