The Saskatchewan Association of Rural Municipalities recently held their regular advocacy trip to Ottawa where they met various politicians, ministry officials, and other organizations.
SARM board members were in Ottawa from October 23rd to 26th and held 21 meetings focusing on a number of key issues including discussions around Bill C-234 an act to amend the Greenhouse Gas Pollution Pricing Act.
SARM President Ray Orb says it was the one topic that came up at almost every meeting especially given the federal government's recent decision to provide an exemption for heating fuel, while the carbon tax remains on natural gas for people who are using it to heat homes, barns, greenhouses and grain dryers.
"Natural gas is one of the fuels that's much safer to use and has lower emissions. It's been declared by the EU as a green source of energy and we think it should be too. We think there should be no Carbon Tax and of course, no tax on carbon tax which doesn't seem to make sense. So I think of all the meetings that stand out as being one of the most frustrating. We really couldn't get the Ag ministers or Deputy (Ag Minister) to understand why this carbon tax is so unfair."
During the discussions with Minister MacAulay, they also raised concerns about the funding issue around Saskatchewan's Lake Diefenbaker Expansion Project particularly as it relates to phase one and phase two of the project.
"We're really adamant that those phases go ahead because some of that infrastructure is already in place, we just need to finish it. But the federal government is now telling the province we're not kicking in any share of our money in. You have to borrow your share from the Canadian Infrastructure Bank to complete the projects. I don't think that was in the initial understanding and I think that's very frustrating."
Orb notes they also raised concerns about broadband connectivity, Agri-Recovery, Firearm Legislation, Healthcare and Policing, food security and the government's fertilizer emissions reduction targets.