Premier Scott Moe on Nov. 2, making his speech in response to the speech from the Throne. Legislative Assembly of Saskatchewan

REGINA – “To hell with that!” Premier Scott Moe said, with reference to federal policies that will shut down coal-fired power generation in 2030 and moves to similarly shut down natural gas, and restrict fertilizer usage.  

During the opening days of a new legislative session, the speech from the throne sets the government’s agenda. Each MLA has the opportunity to make their own speech in reply to it. It’s something akin to a pitcher warming up in the bullpen before getting into the game. The throne speech is a confidence motion, and a crucial part of parliamentary democracy is the government’s passage of the speech, ensuring it has the confidence of the House.

By tradition, the leader of the opposition and then the premier give the last speeches, laying out their policy agendas for the session.

In Moe’s reply on Nov. 3, he spoke at length about health care, education, policing and energy. And in his portion on energy, reproduced here verbatim from Hansard, he quoted a Nov. 1 Pipeline Online article entitled “Saskatchewan First Act introduced to literally keep the lights on in this province, and allow farmers to keep using nitrogen fertilizer.”

The video of his speech can be seen here. Go to time index 11:51:30 to watch this portion of the speech. The quotation from Pipeline Online is at 11:58:00.

 

Mr. Speaker, we saw, as we led into this fall, the release of a white paper, which was this government putting forward the opportunities that we have in this province and ultimately where some of the challenges are. Nine federal policies we had identified. Not Bill C-69 or the Impact Assessment Act. I’ll maybe get to that one in a moment. That was not part of it because we see that bill actually is being deemed unconstitutional by the Alberta Court of Appeal. And so that bill should ultimately be modified to be constitutional by the federal government, not taken to the Supreme Court like they’ve indicated they intend to do.

But the point of this, Mr. Speaker, and those nine policies, the cost is $111 billion. And there’ll be some discussion about whether that number should be lower or higher. I would say likely higher because we see moving goalposts by the federal government. It made all sorts of commitments that . . . Oh the carbon tax was supported by the members opposite. It’s going to be $50 a tonne. It isn’t going to be too bad. We’ll never go above that until we go to $170 a tonne, Mr. Speaker. That’s called a moving goalpost.

You’re seeing it time and time and time again. You’re seeing it with the clean fuel standard. You’re seeing it with a fossil fuel phase-out now. Not a coal phase-out by 2030, but now a fossil fuel phase-out by 2035, which is going to make for an awfully cold house in Saskatoon on January 1st, 2036 when the Queen Elizabeth natural gas plant shuts down, Mr. Speaker. And the same will happen in North Battleford and across this province.

So, Mr. Speaker, these are moving goalposts that ultimately are going to push that $111 billion cost higher. And most certainly if done, these types of environmentally, solely environmentally focused policies have pushed those electricity costs, those energy costs higher in other areas of the world, and we shouldn’t think for a minute that the same isn’t going to happen here.

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And one needs to look no further than the European Union, Mr. Speaker, and the conglomerate of European countries where there is a very cautionary tale unfolding for, I would say, the rest of the world to observe. And it’s on full display for the world to observe. The energy costs in the European Union over the last number of years, due to enacting these solely environmentalfocused policies, have been skyrocketing. There’s a number of countries. We see now a warning about brownouts, blackouts, and they’re already advising there’s going to be energy rationing as we find our way through these winter months.

Recently in this nation we had the chancellor of Germany, Mr. Olaf Scholz. He was in Canada and what he was trying to do was secure an LNG [liquefied natural gas] supply from Canada to Germany. What we provided to the chancellor of Germany, to Mr. Scholz, was in five years we’re going to provide you some hydrogen from a plant that isn’t built yet. Nor is the wind farm built to power that hydrogen production, but we’re going to have this all together in five years and we’ll send it to you then. That’s going to add up to a pretty cold winter in Germany this year, so that answer wasn’t sufficient to provide Germany with some of the most sustainable LNG that you can find on earth produced here in Canada.

So he went to the United Arab Emirates, Mr. Speaker. I was talking with my counterpart in the Emirates just a couple of days ago, and they were able to secure an MOU and secure a supply of LNG for Germany out of the Emirates about 10 days after the chancellor was here in Canada, Mr. Speaker. And that’s disappointing. Now that’s disappointing. I would say it should be disappointing for all Canadians.

What we see happening in Germany is they are actually nationalizing their refineries. The opposition party when they were government are familiar with nationalizing industries here in the province. They’re rapidly building LNG plants wherever they can, which they haven’t done for a number of years. They’ve been shuttering their coal-fired plants, but they’re restarting those because they aren’t able to restart the nuclear plants that some countries have been phasing out. And in Germany specifically, $60 billion is being provided over the next few months just to transition their residents through what is an electricity and energy crisis, Mr. Speaker — $60 billion over the next few months.

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And I would say that the Russian invasion of Ukraine is most certainly the immediate cause of this crisis that we’re seeing, this energy security crisis that the European Union has put themselves in. But I would say that that invasion, that Russian invasion of Ukraine, is only part of the explanation. Europe has put itself in a very precarious position by the policies that they have been enacting for a number of years prior to this invasion.

And there’s one observer that did note this a number of months ago. When you do your very best to discourage oil and gas production within the borders of your country, when you shut down coal-fired power plants and you don’t really have a realistic plan in place on how you’re going to replace that energy, when your plan is to purchase it from a country like Russia, that isn’t a realistic plan if you want true energy security.

When you fail to diversify your energy supplies within the confines of your border or your allied countries, when you put all your faith in renewables and renewables alone, which do have severe limitations when it comes to baseload power, when you do all of that you better have one good backup plan, Mr. Speaker. You better have a strong backup plan.

And in Europe, across the European Union, I would say — possibly with the exception of France with over 80 per cent of their power coming from nuclear power — they didn’t have a very good backup plan, Mr. Speaker. And now they’re dealing with the consequences of those very decisions.

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And I would say in this world wherever we are, whether you’re in government or opposition or business or whatever your role is in your community and your family, you can ignore reality for a period of time, but you can’t ignore the consequences of ignoring that reality.

The consequences of having an energy policy that does not prioritize energy security and subsequently food security, well they’re now on full display in the European Union for the rest of the world to observe. And we should know in this nation, and we do know in this province that we can’t be too complacent. We can’t be too complacent for a minute. We’re heading down this same dark cul-de-sac that we have seen the European head. And we see energy and climate policy at the national level in our nation that just is not grounded in the reality of the situation that we’re facing.

Most recently in the follow-up to that white paper — which is the foundation for a number of initiatives that we’re going to be looking at this fall, including the Sask first Act that was introduced by our Minister of Justice just this past week — there was an article that was written. And I would read the introductory couple of paragraphs in that article and I’d like to read them into the record.

“To hell with that!” Premier Scott Moe quoting a Pipeline Online story during his Nov. 2 speech in response to the speech from the Throne. Legislative Assembly of Saskatchewan

There was an article from Pipeline (Online) done by another esteemed reporter, Brian Zinchuk, entitled “Saskatchewan First Act introduced to literally keep the lights on in this province, and allow farmers to keep using nitrogen fertilizer.”

Mr. Speaker, it goes on and begins, and just a first couple of sentences go like this, and I quote:

Thou shalt not use coal for power generation post-2030, the federal government hath said. And it’s moving to do the same with natural gas by 2035. It also wants to limit farmers’ fertilizer usage, all in the name of climate change policies.

On Nov. 1, the province of Saskatchewan [has] said, [and I quote] “To hell with that,” but in a much more sophisticated, legal manner.

Mr. Speaker, more seriously with all of the chaos and uncertainty that we are seeing around the world, much of that centred in the Ukraine area, in that Eastern Europe area, Mr. Speaker, and what we’re seeing and how that’s impacting uncertainty in the rest of the world, including here in our province of Saskatchewan, Mr. Speaker, it’s absolutely necessary for us to — as a province that can provide the food, fuel, and fertilizer that the world so desperately needs — to provide energy security, to provide food security.

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It is incumbent on us to identify where our challenges are, Mr. Speaker, to put forward that conversation to our federal government and to other Canadians that energy security is important. We produce some of the most sustainable food, fuel, and fertilizer right here in the province of Saskatchewan. We’re proud of what we produce. We’re also proud of Saskatchewan residents as to how we produce that, how we produce that from an environmental perspective, from an ethical perspective, from a labour perspective, Mr. Speaker. We are very proud.

And we would invite Canadians, we would invite all Canadians to be proud of the products that we produce here, how we produce those products, and how we provide them to the world.

And I would put forward that we as Saskatchewan residents also need to be proud of what our fellow Canadians are doing in Ontario when they are manufacturing cars, manufacturing increasingly electric vehicles. And I would put forward that we also need to be proud of our Atlantic Canadian friends as well as they do what they do to add to the Canadian economy and add to global food security and ultimately add to making this nation what it is. And that goes across the nation, whether it be in Quebec, whether it be in Alberta, or even out into the West Coast of British Columbia or our northern coast.

We need to come together as Canadians, Mr. Speaker. We need to come together as Canadians to be a strong and vibrant nation so that we can be proud of one another and what we do and provide, ultimately, the products that we do as Canadians to the world. And for us in this province, how we are going to have to do that, it looks like, is to defend the very constitutional rights that we have as a province. That’s why the Sask first Act was introduced the other day, Mr. Speaker. It builds on what’s been identified in the white paper, Mr. Speaker.

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And the first thing that that Act is going to do — and this has been put forward very eloquently numerous times in the media and in this House by the Minister of Justice — but it’s going to clearly define and reassert the powers that we have, the jurisdiction that we have as a provincial government, Mr. Speaker, that are already present in the Constitution. This isn’t asking for additional powers. This is reasserting the powers that we have that are repeatedly being infringed on, Mr. Speaker, by a federal government, whether that be environmental policy that’s coming into our areas of developing our natural resources, whether it be environmental policy that’s coming in, impacting agriculture, Mr. Speaker.

Second, what this Act is going to do is we’re going to amend the province’s constitution, the Saskatchewan Act, Mr. Speaker. We’re going to amend the Act in much the same way as Quebec has done. We have heard the Prime Minister say that it’s quite fine for Quebec to do that, and so we expect that, as Canadians and being equal Canadians across the nation, that we most certainly will have approval to amend the Act in the same way that Quebec does.

And here, I would say, is an opportunity. We do have one issue, and it’s with a leader of a party that is propping up Justin Trudeau and his federal Liberals, because he hasn’t come to the table like the Prime Minister and said, yes, Quebec can do that. Well . . . Pardon me. He said Quebec can do it, but Alberta and Saskatchewan quite likely can’t.

Mr. Speaker, this is a problem. This is a problem for Canadians coming together. Jagmeet Singh, the leader of the NDP, Mr. Speaker, including the leader of the provincial chapter. Singh says, and I quote, “Only Quebec can unilaterally amend the Constitution, not Alberta.” He goes on to say, “Quebec has a unique situation, so they are going to have a different scenario that they’re going to have to respond to.”

Mr. Speaker, that’s not the case. We have a different scenario here in Saskatchewan as well, as we’re trying to make some of the most sustainable food, fuel, and fertilizer available to other Canadians to provide them with energy security, to other North Americans so we can have continental energy security, and ultimately do our part in providing that energy and food security to the world, Mr. Speaker. We will be putting forward our changes to the Constitution. We expect them to be approved in the same way the province of Quebec has been indicated that those will ultimately be approved there, Mr. Speaker.

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And next week — well, starting today with the Speech from the Throne — but next week we are going to see the first opportunity that the provincial chapter of the NDP are going to have to really make a decision on whether they’re going to put Saskatchewan people first or ultimately whether they’re going to put Jagmeet and Justin first, Mr. Speaker.

We’re going to have the opportunity, with the full introduction and the full readings of the bill to actually move it through all stages and pass unanimously that Saskatchewan first Act on behalf of the people of this province, reasserting the constitutional jurisdiction, ultimately, that we have. And we’ll be asking the opposition, most certainly, to do that next week. And that’ll give them something to think about over the course of the weekend.

Mr. Speaker, the passing of this Act, the passing of this Act most certainly is going to allow us not only today but into the future to provide that very growth that ultimately then can work for everyone in the province.

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Saskatchewan First Act introduced to literally keep the lights on in this province, and allow farmers to keep using nitrogen fertilizer

Brian Zinchuk: The Saskatchewan First Act is about power production and farming production, and not using kerosene lamps

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