Sask. Premier Responds to Guilbeault Calling Him ‘Immoral’ for Withholding Carbon Tax Payment

Sask. Premier Responds to Guilbeault Calling Him ‘Immoral’ for Withholding Carbon Tax Payment
Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe speaks to the media in Regina on March 22, 2023. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Heywood Yu)
Chandra Philip

Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe has defended his government’s decision not to remit the carbon tax on home heating for the province’s residents after the federal environment minister called the move “immoral.”

“Apparently, it’s ‘immoral’ to give Saskatchewan families the same carbon tax break on the home heating that Trudeau gave Atlantic Canada,” Mr. Moe said on platform X, formerly Twitter.

“By the way, the carbon tax exemption for Saskatchewan families was passed unanimously in the SK Legislature,” he added.

Premier Moe’s government stopped collecting the carbon tax on home heating as of Jan. 1 in response to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announcing a pause on the tax for home heating oil, a move that largely benefits Atlantic Canada. Mr. Moe argues natural gas used for home heating should also be exempt from the carbon tax.

Environment Minister Steven Guilbeault recently accused Mr. Moe of being “immoral” and “irresponsible” for refusing to collect the tax.

“It’s irresponsible and it’s frankly immoral on his part. We can have disagreements about things like climate change, but to be so reckless is unspeakable, really,” he told reporters on March 5.

Mr. Guilbeault also said the federal government needs to take action and respond to Saskatchewan’s decision.

“If Premier Scott Moe decides that he wants to start breaking laws and not respecting federal laws, then measures will have to be taken,” he said.

“We can’t let that happen. What if somebody tomorrow decides that they don’t want to respect other federal laws, criminal laws? What would happen then if a prime minister, a premier of a province, would want to do that?” he added.

The Epoch Times reached out to Mr. Moe and Mr. Guilbeault’s offices for comment but did not hear back by publication time.

Following his government’s announcement on the pause of the carbon tax for heating oil, Mr. Trudeau said there would “absolutely not” be any further “carve-outs” to the carbon tax for home heating.


Feb. 29 was the deadline for Saskatchewan to submit the money it owed for the carbon price on natural gas. Minister of Crown Corporations Dustin Duncan announced the same day that the province would not be remitting the carbon tax for home heating.
“Today, I’m announcing, in addition to not collecting the carbon tax on SaskEnergy bills, the government of Saskatchewan will not be remitting the federal carbon tax on natural gas that Saskatchewan families have used to heat their homes,” Mr. Duncan said in a video posted on social media.

The minister said the province understood there could be “consequences” as a result, which could include fines and jail time. He also noted the province passed the SaskEnergy (Carbon Tax Fairness for Families) Amendment Act last year, which would appoint the provincial government as the sole registered distributor of natural gas in Saskatchewan in a bid to protect Crown corporation SaskEnergy and all of its current and former directors, officers, employees, and other associates from any legal consequences of not remitting the carbon tax.

Mr. Moe has said it seems unlikely Ottawa will call for jail time.

“As Minister Duncan alluded to, he doesn’t think that he’s going to be going to Carbonjail anytime soon,” Mr. Moe said on the Roy Green show on March 2.

Federal Natural Resources Minister Jonathan Wilkinson has said that the government could withhold carbon tax rebates from residents in Saskatchewan as a result of the government’s decision.

Mr. Moe responded to those comments by saying the province would stop paying the carbon tax altogether if residents stopped receiving the rebate.

“On what basis would they cancel the entire rebate, especially when they are still providing carbon tax rebates to families in Atlantic Canada?” he said in a Feb. 29 X post.

“If the Trudeau government follows through on this threat, they will once again be penalizing Saskatchewan families for wanting to be treated the same as other Canadians.”