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Sask. premier expects 'no consequences' over decision to stop collecting carbon tax on electric heat

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Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe says he’s not expecting “any consequences whatsoever” for the province’s decision to stop collecting the carbon levy on electric heat.

“We made the very same decision that the federal government made. They decided to not collect the carbon tax on heating oil – largely in Atlantic Canada. We decided not to collect the carbon tax on natural gas and now electricity for Saskatchewan families,” Moe explained at a news conference on Thursday.

“So what’s fair is fair. I’m not expecting any consequences whatsoever.”

In a video posted to X Thursday morning – Moe and Saskatchewan Party MLA for Athabasca Jim Lemaigre announced the change would go into effect on Jan. 1, 2024.

The change will mostly affect those living in Saskatchewan’s north – where electric heat is more widely used.

According to the province, around 85 per cent of Saskatchewan homes are heated by natural gas – with the remaining 15 per cent using electric heat among other sources.

In the announcement, Moe admitted the plan on how to track how much electricity is used for home heating is not fully formed.

“We’re going to need to determine who is heating their home with electricity and then estimate the percentage of their power bill that is being used for that heat,” Moe explained. “But those are details and we will get that all worked out.”

In late October, Moe announced the province won't remit the carbon charge on natural gas after Ottawa exempted home heating oil.

The province has since introduced the “Carbon Tax Fairness for Families Amendment Act” into the legislature – and has taken steps to shield executives at SaskEnergy from being fined or facing jail time if the crown corporation does not remit the tax.

“If the federal government isn’t going to provide carbon tax fairness to families – your Saskatchewan Party will,” Lemaigre said in the announcement.

Opposition to federal carbon pricing remains one of the few issues both sides of the Saskatchewan legislature are in agreement on.

NDP Leader Carla Beck claimed that Moe’s announcement is in keeping with what her party has been calling on the government to do for months.

“Top line for us, absolutely. Affordability measures are needed for people in this province,” she said. “I would suggest he also look at the proposed suspension of the gas tax that we've proposed that they could do today without needing a whole lot more for details.”

Speaking to reporters Thursday morning, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau reiterated his previous statements regarding Saskatchewan’s intentions to flout the federal regulation.

“Canada is a country of the rule of law and we expect all Canadians to follow the law,” he said.

“That applies to provinces as much as it applies to individual citizens.”

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