Saskatchewan

Federal carbon tax protesters slow traffic at Sask.'s borders with Alberta, Manitoba for 2nd day

RCMP remain on scene at protests along Highway 1 at Saskatchewan's borders with Alberta and Manitoba as well as on Highway 16 near Lloydminster.

Litre of gasoline costs an extra 3.3 cents due to rise in federal carbon price

a group of people standing on a highway. a semi truck drives behind them in the distance. one person holds a Canadian flag. mountains in the back.
Protesters opposed to the federal carbon tax gather on the westbound side of Highway 1 in Alberta. (CBC)

Protesters opposed to an increase to the federal carbon price have slowed traffic at three locations along Saskatchewan's border. 

RCMP confirmed officers were deployed to sites along Highway 1 at Saskatchewan's borders with Alberta and Manitoba as well as on Highway 16 near Lloydminster yesterday. 

Protestors were there as part of a series of nationwide protests against the carbon tax held on Monday. In some locations they slowed traffic down to 30 km/h, according to Highway Hotline.

Videos posted to social media show vehicles honking horns, and decorated with Canadian flags and signs that read "axe the tax."

Locations of protests along major highways in Saskatchewan:

At least some of the protesters were at the same locations on Tuesday. 

Saskatchewan RCMP say they're working with protest organizers to allow them to exercise their right to protest while ensuring people remain safe. 

Police say that drivers heading to any of the three locations are asked to slow down. 

WATCH | Cross-country protests greet carbon tax increase: 

Cross-country protests greet carbon tax increase

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Duration 2:16
The carbon tax increase sparked protests across Canada, along with a call from the premier of Newfoundland and Labrador for an emergency meeting about the increase.

At last report, the Highway Hotline showed traffic down to 60 km/h at both borders. RCMP say they will remain on scene but that drivers should expect delays. 

In a statement, the government of Saskatchewan said the Ministry of Highways worked with RCMP to "ensure safety on our highways for road users."

Saskatchewan maintains opposition to carbon pricing 

The national price on carbon emissions increased from $65 per tonne to $80 on April 1. That works out to an extra 3.3 cents per litre of gas.

"So we know gas prices rise and fall," Brett Dolter, an economist with the University of Regina, told CBC's Blue Sky on Tuesday. 

"Now, if you hadn't seen the news about the carbon price, you might not have had a a big reaction to it, because it's actually smaller than a lot of the other times gas prices go up." 

LISTEN | How does the recent carbon price increase affect life in Saskatchewan?
The federal carbon tax increase kicked in yesterday and it has people talking. Some have even taken part in protests across the country and right here in Saskatchewan. Premier Scott Moe recently said the dispute over the price on carbon pollution likely won't end without a change in federal government. Today we heard from people in support of the tax and from those who say it's hurting their communities. 

Carbon pricing has added 17.6 cents to the cost of a litre of gasoline since it was introduced in 2019, and Dolter said the slow increase on the price of carbon is by design. 

It's meant to ease people into reducing their reliance on things like gasoline and give time for alternative technology to be developed, Dolter said. 

While the federal carbon price has gone up, the corresponding rebate has also increased. 

The rebate — which was recently rebranded by the federal government as the Canadian Carbon Rebate — is meant to offset the tax.

For a family of four in Saskatchewan, the quarterly cheque can be up to $376, and for a single adult the quarterly cheque can be up to $188. 

The federal government says eight out of 10 families receive more in rebates than they pay under the carbon tax.

On Tuesday, the provincial government said that it has been clear in its opposition to the federal carbon price.

"We believe it should be removed from everything, for everyone, and we continue to advocate for that to the federal government," the statement read. 

Kyle Bennett, mayor of Shaunavon, Sask. — a town located 350 kilometres south west of Regina — told Blue Sky the price on carbon brings with it a cost for municipal governments, which are forced to find new income to cover the increased cost of operating buildings. 

"There's not a lot of people in the community that do support the carbon tax. I haven't actually heard anybody that that has come to me and said, you know, 'I'm really happy we're paying this carbon tax,'" said Bennett. 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Alexander Quon is a reporter with CBC Saskatchewan based in Regina. After working in Atlantic Canada for four years he's happy to be back in his home province. He has previously worked with the CBC News investigative unit in Nova Scotia and Global News in Halifax. Alexander specializes in data-reporting, COVID-19 and municipal political coverage. He can be reached at: Alexander.Quon@cbc.ca.

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