Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe made it clear in a recent interview that his government would put its foot down on federal plans to require the province to shut down all coal and gas power plants by 2030 and 2035 respectively.
While speaking alongside Justice Minister Brownyn Eyre, Moe told the outlet Pipeline Online that he firmly believes that power regulation is “within the provincial jurisdiction” and the federal government was overreaching.
“I’m not going to answer hypotheticals with respect to this. But it’s our interpretation that these decisions on how you produce power, most certainly are in the realm of provincial jurisdiction,” said Moe.
Minister Eyre called the requirements outlined under the recent federal Clean Electricity Act an “absolute infringement” on Saskatchewan’s rights to determine its own economic and energy future.
“I think also key to the letter and the message that we’re really putting forward. Now more than ever, you know, to the federal government, is that where there are those direct infringement on the province’s constitution, constitutional jurisdiction,” Eyre told the outlet.
“It really is time to make that clear, that over and over again, including most recently, with the Clean Electricity Regulations, we see an absolute infringement of provincial jurisdiction over power generation, over natural resources.”
Some analysts have suggested that the latest federal law will be another staging ground for a brawl between the federal government and provincial jurisdiction, potentially furthering western alienation sentiments.
Eyre has suggested that the Act could be one of the first things that a tribunal operating under the province’s recent Saskatchewan First Act could tackle.
“With that finding of the dollar figure, we would then keep options open to use that as evidence for a legal challenge to the federal government based on irreparable economic harm,” said Eyre.
“We can’t invest in powering this province – and keeping rates affordable as we do it – with these threats hanging over us. That would represent stranded assets to us and enormous cost for the people of this province.”