Liberal Environment Minister Steven Guilbeault issued a veiled threat to provinces as the feds face a showdown over its Clean Electricity Standard, which would ban fossil fuel power generation by 2035.
While speaking on Wednesday, Guilbeault claimed that those not complying with his government’s new regulations would be in violation of the Criminal Code.
“We’ve regulated the ban on coal through (Canadian Environmental Protection Act), which is a criminal tool that the federal government has,” said Guilbeault.
“So not complying with this regulation would be a violation of Canada’s Criminal Code.”
Under the Clean Electricity Standard, provinces will be required to phase out coal-powered fuel by 2030 and natural gas afterwards.
Reacting to the minister’s comments, Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe said he would risk jail despite the threat.
“If someone’s going to jail. Come get me,” said Moe.
Saskatchewan relies heavily on natural gas and coal for its energy needs. According to the outlet Pipeline Online, the province saw 84% of its energy coming from those sources this last winter.
Earlier this week, Moe and Justice Minister Bronwyn Eyre accused the Liberal government of quashing provincial jurisdiction when it came to natural resources and energy.
“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.
According to Eyre, the recently-passed Saskatchewan First Act could be employed to counter the federal government’s overreach.
“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,” said Eyre.