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Report from the Legislature

July 12, 2018

Report from the Legislature
July 12, 2018

At a time when the NDP wants us to wave the white flag and allow Justin Trudeau to force a carbon tax on the people of our province, new analysis confirms why our government has never supported the tax and is challenging it in court.

The University of Regina's Institute for Energy, Environment and Sustainable Communities finds that a federal carbon tax could potentially reduce Saskatchewan's gross domestic product (GDP) by almost $16 billion, with little effect on emissions.

The Government of Saskatchewan, in conjunction with researchers from the Institute, looked at several detailed scenarios of a federal carbon tax. The most conservative scenario shows a carbon tax of $50 per tonne would reduce provincial GDP by 2.43 per cent or $1.8 billion annually. Total impact to the provincial GDP could reach approximately $16 billion from 2019 to the end of 2030.

The study also looked at the potential environmental impact of a federal carbon tax and found it will only reduce GHG emissions by less than one megatonne. This is approximately 1.25 per cent of Saskatchewan's total emissions and would result in a cost to GDP of $1,890 per tonne.

The federal government has significantly underestimated the economic impact of its carbon tax and overestimated the expected Greenhouse Gas (GHG) reductions. This new and more thorough model indicates GDP reductions in the billions, which translates to less competitive industries in Saskatchewan and fewer jobs across the province.

In addition to significant impacts on provincial and national GDP, research conducted at the University of Calgary confirms a federal carbon tax will cost an average Saskatchewan household more than $1,000 per year.

The federal government has not incorporated specific provincial economic data in its modelling. Saskatchewan exports more than any other province as a proportion of its total GDP. In 2017, Saskatchewan exports made up 47.7 per cent of the provincial GDP.

The federal government has not accounted for energy-intensive, trade-exposed industries that drive our economy and has not told Canadians what they will be paying or what little impact that price will have on emissions.

Saskatchewan's strategy will enhance our resiliency to climate change, result in actual emissions reductions, and ensure our industries remain competitive. It includes SaskPower's commitment to achieve up to 50% electricity capacity from renewable resources and reduce overall GHG emissions by 40 per cent by 2030. This will result in GHG reductions of approximately six million tonnes.

In addition, upstream oil and gas producers will reduce GHG emissions by 40 to 45 per cent through a methane reduction strategy, which will result in reductions of 4 to 4.5 million tonnes.

Prairie Resilience also recognizes the prominent role of agriculture in addressing climate change and reducing emissions. Producers already sequester nearly 12 million tonnes of carbon through innovations such as zero till technology.

Further reductions are expected from large industrial emitters as the performance standards are developed. Saskatchewan will make these significant reductions in GHG emissions without a carbon tax.

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Your Saskatchewan Party government understands the importance of high-speed internet and cellular connections both in business and in our personal lives.

We know that too many rural areas still have poor cellular coverage and slow internet service which is why we're working with SaskTel to expand and enhance its network.

Late last year, we announced a four-phase initiative to provide rural Saskatchewan communities with enhanced access to communications services. This work started with a SaskTel-led investment of $4.2 million to expand its High-Speed Fusion Internet Service to 34 additional towers.

The second phase of this initiative will see SaskTel deploy small cellular sites to will improve the level of service in 100 rural communities. The upgrades on the first 43 towers will be completed by March 31, 2019. The remaining 57 locations to receive upgrades will be announced once details are finalized.

This most recent round of wireless improvements will greatly benefit many residents, farms, and businesses across rural Saskatchewan.

Phase 3 will see us continue to explore ways for SaskTel to enhance its cooperation with the private sector to look for additional opportunities to improve rural wireless services while the fourth phase will involve research gathered to identify coverage gaps in mobility and internet service. The data collected will be used by SaskTel to formulate a broad expansion plan to improve services.

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