The carbon tax once entered debate at the provincial Legislature Wednesday.
This comes after opposition leader Ryan Meili drafted a letter to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, asking to return carbon tax funds paid by Saskatchewan farmers who are drying their grain after a difficult harvest.
Meili asked Premier Scott Moe to co-sign the letter, but he did not. Moe said the production of agriculture products is sustainable and does not need further punishment from a carbon tax.
“If I’m able to sit down with the Prime Minister, I would say he should not only exempt the carbon tax on the drying of agriculture (products), he has said that he would exempt agriculture, it was agricultural fuel only, not the drying, not the fertilizer production, not all of the other inputs that go into agriculture,” Moe said. “It has been a lack of understanding of the industry.”
Moe said the carbon tax should have never been charged on grain drying in the first place.
“We want it removed not only from grain drying, we want it removed from the fuel pumps, where families are driving their children to school, soccer practice and football practice,” Moe said. “We want it removed because it simply doesn’t work in this province.”
Meili responded by voicing his disappointment in the Premier for not working cooperatively on this issue to help Saskatchewan farmers.
He said instead of facing the federal backstop, the province should have gotten a deal with the federal government instead of going to court.
“We’ve known this was coming for a long time, the backstop came into place because the province refused to be at the table and try to propose something that would be acceptable and would work under the criteria, so we’re stuck with the federal program,” Meili said. “That’s what we should be doing, is being at the table to negotiate a whole new deal.”
Some farmers have shared their SaskEnergy bills on social media showing hundreds or thousands of dollars billed to them as a result of the carbon tax after drying their grain this harvest. Moe said he has seen more than 10.