May 24, 2024
Trudeau says Sask. residents will keep getting carbon rebate | CBC News

Trudeau says Sask. residents will keep getting carbon rebate | CBC News

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says Saskatchewan residents will still receive their full carbon rebate payments, even though the provincial government is not remitting the carbon tax on home heating to Ottawa.

“Despite the disagreement I have with the provincial government in Saskatchewan on them not wanting to pay the federal government what is owed, the Canada carbon rebate cheques going to families in Saskatchewan will not be impacted by the government of Saskatchewan’s decision,” Trudeau said at a Tuesday morning news conference in Saskatoon.

In February, the provincial government announced it would no longer remit carbon tax on home heating.

In November, the province passed a law making it the registered distributor of natural gas in the province. On Feb. 20, the Canada Revenue Agency agreed to a request from the Saskatchewan government to make it the distributor, rather than SaskEnergy.

Trudeau said while people will continue to receive their payments, how the money owed will be collected would be left to the CRA.

“Canada Revenue Agency has ways of ensuring that money that is owed to them is eventually collected, and we have faith in the rigorous, quasi-judicial proceedings that the Canada Revenue Agency uses,” he said.

WATCH | Sask. residents will keep getting rebate, PM says: 

Trudeau says Sask. families to get full rebate, even without paying carbon tax on home heating

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told reporters in Saskatoon on Tuesday that Saskatchewan families would receive carbon tax rebates. The provincial government stopped collecting the carbon tax on home heating from residents after the federal government gave an exemption on home heating oil that largely helped Atlantic Canada.

Under the federal Greenhouse Gas Pollution Pricing Act, “every person that intentionally fails to pay a charge as and when required … is guilty of an offence punishable on summary conviction,” and could face fines or even up to six months in jail.

In 2022, SaskEnergy remitted $172 million carbon tax collected. That total was expected to be higher this year.

At a news conference in Ottawa Tuesday, Federal Environment and Climate Change Minister Steven Guilbeault reiterated Trudeau’s comments.

“I think what the prime minister said is the people of Saskatchewan should not have to pay for the fact that their government is being irresponsible about carbon pricing,” said Guilbeault.

“Four times a year they will get the Canada carbon rebate, as do other Canadians and provinces where the federal system is applied, and they won’t be penalized because their Premier Scott Moe is playing politics with climate change.”

Sask. minister says province seems to be in ‘pretty good position’

On Tuesday afternoon, Saskatchewan’s Minister of Crown Investments Dustin Duncan said legislation proposed in the recent federal budget suggests to him that Ottawa and the CRA cannot easily get the money the province is no longer remitting.

“The federal government is indicating they’re going do what they can to recoup the money,” Duncan told reporters.

“But by the looks of the federal budget documents, it looks like they might not have the power to do what they’re wanting to do.”

The federal budget includes details on amending the Greenhouse Gas Pollution Pricing Act.

Under the heading “Information-Sharing for the Fuel Charge,” it says the federal government will provide legislative authority for federal officials to communicate with each other about provincial Crowns and their agents who don’t comply with the fuel charge. The amendments would also allow the minister of national revenue to public disclose when provincial Crowns or their agents are not in compliance.

Duncan said those proposed amendments suggest to him that the Saskatchewan government is “in a pretty good position.”

On the decision to continue the rebate to Saskatchewan people, Duncan said, “our view is still that they shouldn’t be collecting it in the first place. The fact the federal government is going to give people their money back — I guess that’s a good thing.”

In February, federal Minister of Natural Resources Jonathan Wilkinson said people in Saskatchewan would “no longer get the rebate.”

“Premiers, just like prime ministers, are responsible for passing laws and they expect their citizens to abide by those laws. If you do not have that expectation, you have anarchy,” Wilkinson said at the time.

Moe responded that if the rebates ended, the carbon pricing for things like gasoline should also be removed.

On Tuesday, Guilbeault said the federal cabinet decided to continue the rebate.

“The PM and cabinet felt that it wouldn’t be fair for the people of Saskatchewan to pay for the irresponsible attitude of the provincial government,” he said.

Last month, Moe appeared in front of the federal government operations and estimates committee and called for the entire carbon pricing program to be scrapped.

“On this particular topic, it’s going to take a change of government, and I think Canadians ultimately are going to have a say at the polls,” Moe told reporters last month.

 

 

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