Scott Moe says he still doesn't support carbon tax, but would choose Conservative plan over Liberals

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Premier Scott Moe told reporters on Thursday that if it were up to him he wouldn't implement either the Conservative or Liberal carbon pricing plan. (CBC - image credit)
Premier Scott Moe told reporters on Thursday that if it were up to him he wouldn't implement either the Conservative or Liberal carbon pricing plan. (CBC - image credit)

Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe is sticking with his anti-carbon tax stance after the federal Conservative Party unveiled a climate plan that would put a price on carbon for consumers.

Conservative Leader Erin O'Toole is proposing to charge a levy on fuel purchases and use the money to fund personalized savings accounts that Canadians can use for environmentally friendly purchases, instead of the Liberal carbon-tax-and-rebate system.

CBC News obtained a copy of the party's climate plan on Wednesday. It said Canadians would pay a carbon levy, initially amounting to $20 per tonne of greenhouse gas emissions, every time they buy hydrocarbon-based fuels, such as gasoline.

The money would be diverted to "personal low carbon savings accounts" instead of the current plan that involves direct rebates to Canadian households.

Consumers could then draw on those accounts for "things that help them live a greener life," the document says.

That could include smaller purchases like a transit pass or bicycle, or saving up and buying larger items like an energy efficient furnace, energy efficient windows or an electric vehicle.

O'Toole has denied that his proposal is a "tax," instead referring to it as a "pricing mechanism."

"Not a cent goes to Ottawa," O'Toole said.

Regardless, Moe said he wouldn't implement the Conservative or Liberal plan if it were up to him.

"No carbon tax is acceptable in the province. We don't believe it is the appropriate mechanism in order for us to actually achieve what we want to achieve," Moe said on Thursday.

If he had to choose, Moe said he would pick the Conservative's plan.

"One returns the dollars to the people who spent it, limiting the disadvantage that Saskatchewan companies might have," Moe said.

"One takes those dollars, pools them in, and returns them to everyone in the province, which is essentially a wealth redistribution plan, which does nothing for the environment, only attempts to help some folks political ambitions."

Conservative plan capped at $50 a tonne

The current Liberal policy — which applies only in provinces that have not set up their own carbon pricing — is now set at $40 per tonne, rising each year until it reaches $170 per tonne by 2030.

Under the policy, which was passed into law in 2018, 90 per cent of the revenue is returned to consumers in those provinces via rebates. The remaining 10 per cent is directed toward businesses, schools, hospitals and municipalities.

The Conservative's carbon price would increase over time to a maximum of $50 per tonne, but it would go no higher than that, according to the plan.