Battlefords-Lloydminster MP Rosemarie Falk is blasting the federal government’s carbon tax, which will appear on SaskPower and SaskEnergy bills starting April 1. The province is blaming the carbon tax for an average rate hike of $9 for power and $2 for natural gas on all residential customers.
The federal government says that rebates from the carbon tax will be given directly to Canadians. Although the average household pays about $11 more per month, Falk isn’t impressed. She says that it’s unfair for the federal government to impose a climate strategy that she says will raise the cost of living, and make families pay for it.
“First of all, I think it’s not fair at all for families who are already trying to make ends meet with paying bills, and getting kids from school, to hockey, to dance, whatever it is. This carbon tax is going to make the cost of everything go up,” says Falk.
Customers will see the tax identified on their bills as a Federal Carbon Tax. The amount is expected to increase annually to coincide with the multi-year increases established in the federal plan. While the Government of Saskatchewan is challenging the carbon tax in court, it still applies during the legal process.
Falk says she’s heard from constituents that higher prices for things like gas and produce are a concern for them. She’s concerned the carbon tax will impact things beyond household utility bills and that the cost of living is becoming increasingly unaffordable. Falk also hears a growing disappointment with Justin Trudeau and the Liberal government.
“A lot of people are upset at the federal government, especially because Justin Trudeau said he was going to do things differently. He was going to respect provincial jurisdiction, he was going to respect First Minister’s meetings and stuff, and it’s not happening. Pointing fingers and telling provinces what to do isn’t working, and it’s not respecting that jurisdiction.”
Falk adds that it seems like a waste of time and money to have to take Ottawa to court over the carbon tax when Saskatchewan already has its own climate strategy. The province’s Prairie Resilience plan doesn’t apply carbon pricing but allows heavy emitters to choose other ways to reach emission targets.
Minister responsible for SaskPower, Dustin Duncan, isn’t happy with the carbon tax either. He argues that the province has worked to prevent rate hikes and the federally-mandated carbon tax is taking from the province’s customers.
“In Prairie Resilience, our government has a Saskatchewan-based solution to lower greenhouse gas emissions without a tax. SaskPower worked hard to ensure there would be no rate increase this year. The federal government is imposing a carbon tax that will take more than $52 million this year and $546 million through 2022 from SaskPower customers,” says Duncan.
Minister responsible for SaskEnergy, Bronwyn Eyre, says the province is doing its best to reduce natural gas rates. She says that the carbon tax is going to have a negative impact on Saskatchewan consumers.
“Our government is currently reviewing a request by SaskEnergy to reduce natural gas commodity rates to their lowest level in 20 years, effective April 1. These savings would be wiped out by the federal Liberals’ carbon tax, resulting in higher natural gas bills for homes and businesses,” says Eyre.