Federal Natural Resource Minister discusses carbon tax during visit to Saskatchewan

Carbon pricing, or the ‘carbon tax,’ has been a hot issue for Saskatchewan residents and the province’s agriculture industry.

Federal Natural Resource Minister Jonathan Wilkinson was asked about the federal carbon pricing policy during a Saskatchewan Chamber of Commerce event.

“The underlying kind of argument for the price is it is the most economically efficient way to reduce emissions,” he explained. “It actually drives you in the direction of making the kinds of reductions that are the most effective and efficient within an economy. It’s more efficient than regulating, and it’s more efficient than just spending money.”

Wilkinson said that the balance the government is attempting to make is ensuring it is done in an affordable way for Canadians.

“The way that’s done generally for individual Canadians is through the rebate system, and eight out of 10 Canadian families actually get more money back than they pay in the carbon price.”

As for the agriculture industry, Wilkinson said discussions are always ongoing with the industry.

“What we have endeavoured to do is to try to find ways to carve out areas that are particularly problematic,” he said. “Purple diesel, for example, is not subject to the carbon price. We continue to have conversations with the agricultural community to try to ensure that we understand the challenges. There are now programmes that actually rebate some of the money back to the farming community to address some of the challenges around natural gas, for example.”

Wilkinson added that carbon pricing will continue as, like 50 other countries, Canada has found it is the most economically efficient way to reduce emissions.

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