Saskatchewan's Brad Wall says he is open to broader carbon price in future

REGINA – Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall says he is open to a broader price on carbon in the future, but now is not the time for a new tax.

Speaking the day after his Saskatchewan Party won its third majority, Wall reiterated that he believes his province already has a price on carbon because it sells CO2 captured from its Boundary Dam power plant to oil companies.

But he isn’t ruling out a boarder application of a carbon price down the road.

The federal Liberal government believes carbon pricing is the best way to reduce emissions and spur green technology.

Some provinces, such as Alberta and British Columbia, favour a carbon tax.

Other provinces, such as Ontario and Quebec, have indicated they would rather see emissions capped and credits traded among polluters.

Wall was one of the loudest voices speaking against a broad-based carbon tax ahead of a first ministers meeting on the environment last month in Vancouver.

But he said Tuesday he has not closed the door to a carbon price.

“We haven’t ruled it out ourselves in the long term,” Wall said.

“Effectively we kind of have one because we are selling CO2 to oil companies out of Boundary Dam 3. But in terms of a broader application of a price, that’s possible down the road, but it is not right now.”

The campaign leading up to Monday’s Saskatchewan election rarely touched on environmental issues such as carbon pricing. The Saskatchewan Party, the NDP and even the Green Party said they wouldn’t institute a broad-based carbon tax.

The Saskatchewan government previously passed legislation for a carbon levy on heavy emitters, with any money collected going to a fund for clean technology. But that law has never been brought into force.

In Ottawa, federal Environment Minister Catherine McKenna was asked if she thought Wall might be more amenable to carbon pricing now that he has won re-election.

“I like robust conversations. I think it’s important,” she said. “I think now we have a real opportunity to work together and I’m looking forward to sitting down with my counterparts, from across the country, including from Saskatchewan.”