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Scott Moe plans to break federal emissions law

Posted on January 11, 2024 by Ryan Dahlman

  About four weeks ago Saskatchewan Cabinet Minister Dustin Duncan was interviewed on television about Saskatchewan’s intention to break federal law, on and after January 1, 2024. The interviewer asked him about Saskatchewan’s legal position, including how the constitutional rule of paramountcy applied to the planned lawbreaking. This was a logical question to ask of a minister of a provincial government publicizing its intended lawbreaking. Advice on this ought to have been sought and received from their best lawyers. Mr. Duncan was flummoxed, unable to reply, and seemed to not comprehend the question. He could not answer. He did not answer. Instead, after hemming and hawing and a long silence, he merely repeated some of an answer he had given to an earlier question. He could not explain his government’s position because his government, literally, does not understand what they are doing. 

     No one is allowed to opt out of a law with which they disagree. Four years ago Premier Moe supported respect of the law, saying it is “…a fundamental pillar of democracy.” The unconscionable ease with which his government now ignores his words are one reason his government is pathetically out of their depth on this issue. Here are two more.

     Firstly, the Saskatchewan government plans to try to legally shield executives in SaskEnergy from consequences for breaking federal law. That effectively means their changing (nullifying, or overriding, or amending) federal law, which no province can legally do. SaskEnergy executives should be very worried about this, because all the provincial law on Earth will not provide a legal defence to a federal offence.

     Secondly, their plan is to continue to collect the carbon tax but not remit it to Ottawa, who has the legal right to not only receive the tax collected, but to collect interest on late payments, on top of tax not remitted. How much will Saskatchewan waste paying avoidable interest? Also, it is reasonable to assume that the federal government, not receiving the carbon tax from Saskatchewan, will not pay the quarterly carbon tax rebate cheques to the 80 per cent of Saskatchewan residents who receive more in rebates than the carbon tax they pay. People will continue to pay the tax, but get no rebates. Will Mr. Moe and company be sending out quarterly cheques to all Saskatchewan residents whom they cause to not receive the federal rebates?

Yours truly, 

Gregory R. Côté, Irvine, Alta.     

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