The Sask. government is speaking out against a recent decision by Ottawa to only provide certain funding to provinces that join a national climate plan.
On Thursday, Federal Environment Minister Catherine McKenna said provinces have until the end of December to sign onto the plan – which includes a carbon tax – in order to receive infrastructure funding to help lower emissions.
So far, Saskatchewan and Manitoba are the only provinces who have not agreed.
Premier Brad Wall took to Facebook Thursday to share his feelings about the announcement, calling it “extortion.”
“Withholding funds from provinces that don’t go along with the federal government’s policies represents a new low in Canadian federalism,” he posted. “This is nothing short of extortion by the federal government.”
Saskatchewan’s Environment Minister, Scott Moe, said the move isn’t how he believes Canadians expect the federal government to operate.
“Quite frankly, we will be applying for this fund as well and we expect to be considered for it as it’s the Saskatchewan people who have contributed to the dollars that are being distributed for this fund,” he said.
Moe asserted this was only one stream of infrastructure funding being provided by Ottawa, and noted the province will continue to push for more.
The minister highlighted the ways Saskatchewan has helped lower its carbon footprint, including the carbon capture and storage at Boundary Dam Three in Estevan.
He said the province has continued to look at legal action it could take against the federal government-imposed carbon tax.
If Manitoba and Saskatchewan do not sign on in time, their shares — $66 million and $62 million respectively — will be transferred to a challenge fund.
Provinces can then apply for the challenge fund whether or not they join Ottawa’s climate plan.
— With files from the Canadian Press.