May 24, 2024
ANALYSIS | Trudeau visit to Sask. sparks new round in carbon tax spat, attack ad | CBC News

ANALYSIS | Trudeau visit to Sask. sparks new round in carbon tax spat, attack ad | CBC News

A visit from the prime minister to the province this week put federal policies and politics front and centre at the Saskatchewan legislature.

Justin Trudeau met the media in Saskatoon on Monday, and told reporters Saskatchewan people would continue to receive their full carbon rebates despite the Saskatchewan government’s decision not to remit carbon tax on home heating.

Trudeau was also the subject of an attack ad against the provincial NDP by the Saskatchewan Party that was sent out as a robotext to Saskatchewan cellphone owners on Tuesday.

The video ad starts with the text “the NDP is Trudeau’s choice for Saskatchewan.” The ad uses photos from Opposition NDP Leader Carla Beck’s trip to Ottawa last week. It claims that Beck attended a meeting to plot a strategy to get Trudeau and NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh re-elected.

A composite image is shown of the three leaders sitting at a table with a blue backdrop. Each met individually with the Canadian Labour Congress but were not in the room together.

The CLC held a meeting last week to “to discuss how they will advance the rights of workers.” The CLC news release is titled “labour reps discuss election strategy and union momentum.”

Premier Scott Moe and the Saskatchewan Party have taken that and turned it into a political talking point and ad.

In question period on Tuesday, Moe responded to an affordability question from Beck and said the federal carbon tax was an issue.

“Makes me wonder why that leader and members of that caucus answered the call to arms to attend the Trudeau campaign school to keep that individual in place that is going to continue to increase the affordability challenges that Saskatchewan and Canadian families are facing today, far into the future,” Moe said.

Ads meant to distract: Beck

When asked by reporters about the ad, Beck said, “I grew up on a farm, I know a little B.S. when I see it.”

Beck said the ads are meant to “distract” from issues in health care, education and the economy.

“I’m proud of the meetings that we had,” Beck said Monday. “We were in Ottawa talking about jobs, the economy.”  

Beck said she did not meet with Trudeau but did meet with federal NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh. She said she expressed her opposition to the federal consumer carbon tax.

“The consumer carbon tax is simply not on for us. The carve-out around heating fuel was unfair.”

WATCH | Sask. residents to keep carbon rebate: 

Sask. residents will get carbon tax rebates despite province withholding funds

Saskatchewan residents will continue to receive carbon tax rebates from the federal government, despite the province not sending the funds it collects for home heating taxes to Ottawa.

Feds, Sask. differ on carbon tax collection consequences

The “carve-out” Beck is referring to is the exemption on heating oil the federal government applied last year which affects mostly Atlantic Canadians.

The policy choice rankled the Saskatchewan government and leaders in other provinces who called it unfair.

However, Saskatchewan took the issue further by no longer collecting carbon tax on home heating through SaskEnegry as of January. It then successfully applied to the Canada Revenue Agency becoming the administrator and distributor of natural gas in the province  

LISTEN | CBC’s Political Panel discusses Trudeau’s carbon rebate decision and Sask. Party ads

The Morning Edition – Sask13:07Political Panel – Apr 26

<p>The prime minister says he won’t punish Saskatchewan people for the actions of our provincial government. We heard this week that we’ll get the full amount of our carbon tax rebates, despite the province not sending on all the tax we owe.&nbsp;Our political panel is in.</p>

Following that decision, the province announced it would no longer remit a carbon levy owed to the federal government ($172 million in 2022).

That decision caused a response from federal cabinet ministers. Federal environment minister Steven Guilbeault called it “immoral” and “irresponsible” and said it was against the law.

Federal Minister of Natural Resources Jonathan Wilkinson said people in the province “would no longer get the rebate.”

Wilkinson said the provincial government’s position was “almost unheard of” in Canada. He would later say the rebates could be scaled back and said there would be “consequences.” 

‘Good luck’ arguing with CRA: Trudeau

On Tuesday, Trudeau said people in Saskatchewan paying the carbon tax would not have their rebate touched.

“Premier Moe has decided that he does not want to pay the money to CRA that he is owing. We will not penalize the people of Saskatchewan or in any jurisdiction for that.”

The following day, he was asked about the repercussions of Saskatchewan’s decision.

“I don’t know about you, but having an argument with CRA about not wanting to pay your taxes is not a position I want anyone to be in. Good luck with that, Premier Moe,” Trudeau said in Oakville, Ont. on Wednesday. 

On Tuesday, Minister for SaskEnergy Dustin Duncan said he does not “feel worried” about consequences.

Duncan said proposed legislation in the federal budget suggests the federal government cannot easily collect money owed by not remitting the carbon levy.

“There is some language that talks about ensuring the minister responsible for the Canada Revenue Agency can share information with other government ministries or departments. My read of that would be that they might not have the ability they think they have, but we’ll wait to see. We haven’t seen the legislation yet.”

Source link