No change on Saskatchewan's stand against carbon tax after meeting with prime minister

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe meet at the Legislative Building in Regina on Friday, March 9, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Michael Bell

REGINA - The federal government and Saskatchewan are still deadlocked on a national climate change plan despite what the two sides call a constructive meeting on Friday.

Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe met with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to talk about several issues, including climate change.

But Moe said he hasn't changed his mind about the province being the lone holdout from Ottawa's Pan-Canadian Framework on Clean Growth and Climate Change.

"Saskatchewan's stance with respect to carbon taxation is strong," Moe said. "We have a plan of our own.

"We sign agreements that we feel as though we can follow through with."

It was the first meeting as premier for Moe, who was elected by the Saskatchewan Party as leader on Jan. 27, and Trudeau. Moe succeeds Brad Wall, who recently retired from politics.

The prime minister was in Regina as part of a visit to announce a new RCMP commissioner.

Last week, federal Environment Minister Catherine McKenna urged Saskatchewan to sign on to Ottawa's plan or risk losing its share of federal money for emission-reduction programs.

McKenna said that $62 million would be available for Saskatchewan to use for energy efficiency programs. She added that signing on to the framework is a requirement for provinces to get the money.

The federal government will move forward with the plan, which includes a carbon tax, whether Saskatchewan is on board or not by the end of the year, according to McKenna.

Liberal Regina-Wascana MP Ralph Goodale attended the meeting with Moe and Trudeau. He acknowledged that work remains to be done.

"There are issues that remain outstanding and obviously there are points of disagreement, but we will continue at good will and good faith to identify solutions that can be viable and succeed," Goodale said.

"We're not there yet, but we're determined to continue."

Moe has previously said that Saskatchewan will still apply for its share of the money from the low-carbon fund.

Saskatchewan has also threatened in the past to challenge the plan in court.

Moe said despite their differences on carbon taxing he is willing to talk with the federal government about what Saskatchewan is doing to reduce emissions from mining, energy and agriculture.

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Follow @RyanBMcKenna on Twitter.


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