CTV NEWS WINNIPEG
Jeff Keele, Political Reporter
Premier Brian Pallister is in a carbon tax tussle with the Trudeau government.
"I have a simple message for Ottawa today, back off or we'll see you in court," said Pallister Friday.
The Manitoba carbon tax plan would see a flat rate of $25 per tonne or 5.3 cents per litre of gas charged at the pump.
Ottawa is mandating at least $30 per tonne in year three, $40 in year four and $50 in 2022.
Pallister says the higher tax would hurt Manitoba's economy and he'll take legal action to stop the feds if they force the province's hand.
"If you can't prove your plan works better than the Manitoba plan, then you have no right to invoke a higher levy on the people of Manitoba," said Pallister.
The federal environment minister's office may see sees it differently. It released this statement to CTV:
"The federal price schedule is clear. We've also been clear that we will assess each province and territory each year against the federal benchmark."
And critics call Pallister's sudden threat bizarre.
“It seems like the federal government has the authority to tax Canadians, I paid my income taxes," said NDP Leader Wab Kinew.
But Pallister may have an ally next door. Saskatchewan says it won't implement a carbon tax at all. That province is already planning court action against Ottawa.
"They do not have the legal authority to do so is our opinion we feel we have a strong case,” said Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe.
In the end, Pallister says he doesn't think Manitoba will have to actually step foot in a court room with the feds.
“I am telling you this is just an empty threat, from a government spokesperson. I believe that they know they can't beat us in court," said Pallister.