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Trudeau says Saskatchewan to get carbon rebates despite province not paying levies


Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says Saskatchewan residents will continue to get carbon rebates even though the province has stopped remitting levies from natural gas to Ottawa.

Trudeau said Tuesday in Saskatoon the Canada Revenue Agency has mechanisms to collect money the province owes.

“We’re going to continue to deliver the Canada carbon rebate to families right across to Saskatchewan despite the fact that Premier Moe is not sending that money to Ottawa right now,” he told reporters at an unrelated news conference.

“The Canada Revenue Agency has ways of ensuring money that is owed to them is eventually collected.

“We have faith in the rigorous quasi-judicial proceedings the Canada revenue agency uses.”

The Saskatchewan government decided earlier this year to not remit the federal carbon price on natural gas to Ottawa, a move that breaks federal law.

Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe invoked the measure after Trudeau exempted home-heating-oil users from having to pay the levy in a move largely seen as politically motivated to boost Liberal support in Atlantic Canada.

Ottawa had initially suggested rebates to Saskatchewan could be at risk, but that is no longer the case.

In Ottawa, federal Environment Minister Steven Guilbeault couldn’t say how the Canada Revenue Agency will collect the money but said Trudeau has directed the agency to get it.

“(Saskatchewan residents) won’t be penalized because their premier, Premier Scott Moe, is playing politics with climate change,” Guilbeault said.

“The prime minister, and I think cabinet, felt it wouldn’t be fair for the people of Saskatchewan to pay for the irresponsible attitude of the provincial government.”

Trudeau has faced conflict with Saskatchewan’s government and Moe over the federal Liberal government’s carbon levy.

Moe is among a majority of provincial leaders, including lone Liberal Premier Andrew Furey of Newfoundland and Labrador, who are asking Trudeau to convene a meeting to discuss alternatives to the consumer carbon price.

Moe has said the price is adding to inflationary pressures for Canadians desperate for affordability relief.

Trudeau said most Canadians receive more money back in rebates than they pay in carbon levies.

He has also challenged premiers to come up with their own climate plans if they don’t like carbon pricing.

Moe has said the province has looked at alternatives, but the province found them to be more expensive.

Trudeau made his comments Tuesday during an announcement for more supports for Indigenous communities.

He said Canada is offering $5 billion in loan guarantees to support those seeking ownership stakes in natural resource and energy projects.

The program, which was part of last week’s budget, would let Indigenous communities access loans from banks at lower interest rates.

Trudeau said Ottawa is also promising to spend millions of additional dollars to help with housing and health-care needs.

The budget promises $390 million to renovate health facilities, including more than $20 million to support the Virtual Health Hub led by the Saskatchewan Indian Institute of Technologies.

It also includes $243 million for post-secondary opportunities for Indigenous people and promises $918 million for housing and infrastructure in their communities.