It doesn't seem like the question over whether the federal government can impose a carbon tax on provinces is one that'll see provinces and the federal government come into agreement over anytime soon.

The Saskatchewan government plans to keep on fighting it, on the grounds that natural resources fall under the jurisdiction of provinces.

"The natural resources in the province are under provincial jurisdiction and we firmly believe that to be the case, and we think our opportunities, if this was to go to any type of a court challenge, we'd be successful in that," said Premier Scott Moe while in Swift Current yesterday.

A legal report provided in October to Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister by University of Manitoba law professor Bryan Schwartz stated that the federal government would likely have the right to impose a carbon tax on provinces, but provinces can adopt a lower levy if they can achieve the same results.

Manitoba since came up with plans for a $25-per-tonne levy that they plan to stick with through to 2022. The federal government wants provinces to increase from $10 to $50 per tonne over that span.

Schwartz's legal report cites case law which seems to give the federal government jurisdiction over a carbon tax, as pollution harms more than just a single province.

It would be interesting to see how a province, like Manitoba, would go about proving that their levy of $25 a tonne would have as good of an impact as if they had their levy set at $50.

Moe, who reiterated yesterday how bad a carbon tax would be for Saskatchewan's competitiveness on the global market, claimed there hasn't been a carbon tax that has reduced emissions.

"Here in the province, the impact of this type of a tax would be catastrophic to the industries that we have here. It would add cost to the energy products that we are competing with others all around the world, it would add cost to our ag products, our manufactured goods, as well as our mined goods.

"And the fact of the matter is that it hasn't worked in any jurisdiction where it's been introduced. A carbon tax has not been responsible for reducing emissions. It's responsible for adding costs to export products; export products that we export to over 150 countries all around the world. We look forward to the conversation over the next number of months, not only with our federal government but also with our customers all around the world, ensuring that they're aware of the sustainable nature in which we manufacture, mine, extract, and produce our agricultural goods."

It can be a challenge to discern whether reduced emissions somewhere are the effect of a carbon tax, or merely a correlation. But British Columbia, whose conservative Liberal government brought in a carbon tax a decade ago, is sometimes referred to as a success story. And sometimes it isn't.

Yesterday Moe talked about wanting to bring Saskatchewan's knowledge, innovation, and technology to the world to combat global warming without using a carbon tax.

Either way, fill up the gas tank because it could certainly be a long road ahead as the Saskatchewan government says it's prepared to go toe to toe with the federal government in court, if need be.

More Local News is Swift Current's only source for community news and information such as weather and classifieds.

Search the Biz Guide