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Moe reacts after appearing before Commons committee

Daily Leg Update - Premier Scott Moe speaks to reporters after testifying at a Commons committee on the carbon tax.
Premier Scott Moe speaks to reporters on his appearance the previous day before the House of Commons.

REGINA - A day after appearing virtually at the House of Commons Standing Committee on Operations and Estimates, Premier Scott Moe was still fired up about the planned April 1 carbon tax increase.

“Going from a promise never to go over $50 a tonne, now sitting at $65 heading to $80 on April Fools’ Day, is a challenge for Canadian families and a challenge for Saskatchewan families,” said Moe to reporters at the legislature on Thursday.

He explained what he had hoped to accomplish by the appearance before the House committee.

“What the hope was to ask the ‘coalition’ government, the coalition Liberal-NDP government, to put on pause the planned increase for April 1 of the carbon tax. Our firm stance has always been the consumer carbon tax should be removed on everything for everyone… 

“This is causing much of the inflationary concerns that Canadians are experiencing, and that’s shown by the Stats Can comments around when we paused the carbon taxation on home heating and natural gas and electricity in Saskatchewan. We’re at a 1.7 per cent Consumer Price Index in this province, a full point below the Canadian average and well below the two per cent target that the Bank of Canada and the federal government have put forward. So, can you imagine the opportunity to lower our CPI, lower our inflationary rate, hopefully lower our interest rates eventually?”

When challenged that the Standing Committee on Operations and Estimates might have been the wrong committee to make this sort of request to, Premier Moe acknowledged he had initially sought to appear before the Finance Committee. 

He had penned a letter to Finance Committee Chair Peter Fonseca earlier this week asking to appear and to call for the cancellation of the carbon tax increase. But in the end it was Operations and Estimates that had reached out. 

“We have not heard back from the Finance Committee as of yet,” Moe said. “There’s been no response from the chair of the Finance Committee, so it’s unfortunate.”

When one reporter mentioned collaborative work wasn’t happening, referring to the Feds and the province, Premier Moe replied “no, it isn’t. Disappointing, isn’t it?”

Moe then went on to point to the federal carbon tax carve-out on home heating applied only to Atlantic Canada, and the reaction to his own government’s response to remove the carbon tax on home heating in Saskatchewan. 

“I am disappointed. Look at the state of our federation. We have a federal government that is making a decision that is not fair to Canadian families, you have a provincial government that mirrors that very same decision, and you have a federal government that’s saying, you know what, we’re going to come fine a (provincial) minister, we’re going to criminally charge them and put them in carbon jail. What a sad state of affairs for our nation. It isn’t the decision of that minister to do that. There’s a motion, a unanimous motion on the floor of the Assembly provincially that says we should be moving in that direction. The vast majority of Saskatchewan residents believe that we should be removing this and creating that carbon tax home heating fairness space in our province where we can. 

“And so, yeah, I’m disappointed in the state of our federation right now.”

When asked on how that could change:

“Honestly, at this point after eight years of working with the federal government on files that we can, like child care, working with the federal government on funding for the Canada Health Transfer for example, but on this particular topic it’s going to take a change of government. And you know, I think Canadians ultimately are going to have a say in that… it’s in Canadians control and that’s exactly where it should be.”

Carla Beck’s reaction 

When asked Wednesday about Premier Moe’s appearance before the federal committee earlier that same day, Opposition Leader Carla Beck made it known to reporters that she was unimpressed.

“Well, it’s a step up from Twitter battles and angry letters, said Beck, who went on to repeat some comments she had made earlier that day:

“The Premier will go to great lengths to point out what other levels of government should be doing, but in his own budget just recently released, somehow failed to enact any measures, any new measures here, that could provide some cost-of-living relief. You know, it’s a playbook we’ve seen time and time again, and what I’m hearing from people is that, you know, they’re tired of (those) kind of Twitter battles as opposed to actually enacting things that would provide some relief on the cost of living.”