Minister of Justice shares information on the “Just Transition” bill and the Sask. First Act

Minister of Justice and Attorney General Bronwyn Eyre and the Saskatchewan Chamber of Commerce came together to host an information session.

The session was about the Federal Government’s “Just Transition” bill and how it may affect Saskatchewan, the Saskatchewan First Act, and the independent economic tribunal that will work under the Sask. First Act.

Eyre shared her thoughts on how the “Just Transition” bill will be harmful to Saskatchewan’s economy and workforce.

She also talked about how the Sask. First Act is in line with the Canadian Constitution Act to help protect the province’s oil, gas, coal, etc. industries from the infringement of the Federal Government and how the tribunal will help determine the economic threats and work to stop the Federal Government from overstepping its jurisdiction in Saskatchewan’s workforce.

“If we’re looking at economic harm, once we see what is in the bill and the real impact that this bill could have, one of the tools (to help against it) could be through the Sask. First legislation and the parallel economic tribunal that is set up as part of the Sask. First Act,” says Eyre.

The tribunal will work under the Sask. First Act to assess the economic impact of the “Just Transition” bill. The logistics of the tribunal and who will be on it will be determined within the coming months.

Information was leaked recently that the “Just Transition” bill will likely cut up to 13 per cent of Canada’s workforce in these fossil fuel industries.

Erye points out that Federal Government hasn’t seemed to learn from the past attempts at this plan in Ontario and around the world.

Eyre says that in the 2010s, Ontario participated in a sort of transition experiment to renewable energy and saw 12,000 new jobs created in the process but saw a loss of 200,000 jobs which equals one job gained for every six jobs that were lost.

“There is a pretty major impact when you look at what transition has meant and where we’ve seen it, and in the case of Ontario, the Auditor General after that experiment found there had been zero impact in terms of GHG emissions and reducing them for all that pain,” says Eyre.

In a news statement from Eyre on Tuesday, she says, “There are over 70,000 people directly and indirectly employed by our agriculture and energy sectors – sectors which are vital to not only our province but also to our country and indeed the world.”

If the “Just Transition” bill’s prediction of losing 13 per cent of the workforce pans out, Eyre says thousands of people in Saskatchewan will lose their jobs or roughly 70 per cent of their income from this bill.

She also discussed the concerns around the environmental impact the bill will have by not quickly converting to renewable energy with the Federal Government’s timeline goal of 2035. She explains that the energy sectors have already said that this timeline is impossible for the province to reach.

Despite the environmental concern, she says Saskatchewan has the country’s most environmentally efficient agriculture and energy sectors.

One of her examples of this is how the province has cut its methane emissions by 50 per cent in recent years.

Eyre was also asked about the backlash that has been seen from Indigenous communities regarding the Sask. First Act.

She reassured that the act does not infringe on any treaty rights and that she and the provincial government are communicating with Indigenous leaders.

-An earlier version of this story suggested the Minister was speaking at the Regina Chamber of Commerce, when in fact she was speaking to the Saskatchewan Chamber of Commerce.  We apologize for this error, and confusion.

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