Trudeau says CRA will resolve carbon tax spat during Sask. stop to promote federal budget

Star Phoenix. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speaks during a post=budget visit tp Wanuskewin Heritage Park near Saskatoon on Tuesday, April 23, 2024.

The prime minister took questions during a stop to promote Indigenous-related items in the recently tabled budget.

Bryn Levy

Regina Leader-Post

The federal Liberals’ budget promotion campaign continued on Tuesday in Saskatoon, when Prime Minister Justin Trudeau made a stop at Wanuskewin Heritage Park to highlight various Indigenous-focused items in the budget tabled last week.

“Everyone deserves a fair chance to succeed, and when Indigenous people succeed, it means that Canada succeeds,” Trudeau said as he outlined initiatives from the budget including $5 billion in loan guarantees meant to help First Nations communities secure financing for natural resource and energy projects.

The budget also included $918 million over five years to support improving infrastructure on First Nations, and more than $700 million for First Nations roads, emergency management and preparedness, and First Nations and Inuit-led policing initiatives.

After his remarks, Trudeau took questions from media on a range of topics.


The public acrimony between Trudeau and Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe has been a frequent feature of national and provincial politics in recent years.

Asked Tuesday whether he’d reached out for a meeting with Moe, Trudeau said officials from his office had informed Moe’s staff he’d be in the province and Moe’s office said they “didn’t need” or “weren’t able to organize” a meeting.

The Moe government recently took the step of refusing to remit federal carbon tax funds to Ottawa.

Trudeau said Saskatchewan taxpayers will still receive carbon tax rebate payments despite the dispute, while noting he has faith in the Canada Revenue Agency’s “rigorous, quasi-judicial” processes to eventually get the Saskatchewan government to pay what it owes.


Several questions touched on the plan announced in the budget to raise the capital gains tax inclusion rate from 50 to 66.67 per cent for individuals with gains over $250,000.

The move has drawn criticism from various groups, who have called for exemptions or carve-outs and warned of potential harms to doctors, retiring farmers trying to pass their operations on to a family member or seniors whose retirement strategy may hinge on the sale of a property.

Trudeau repeatedly pointed out that only a very small number of the wealthiest Canadians would ever have to pay the additional capital gains, calling the rate adjustment a matter of asking “the absolute wealthiest” to “contribute a little bit more.”

The prime minister also touched on the “fairness” of asking people who have benefitted from the current system to take a bigger tax hit on selling a second house or cottage in support of programs meant to help younger workers be able to afford their first homes.

In one of several campaign-style jabs at the Opposition federal Conservatives, Trudeau said it “bewilders him a bit” that they have indicated they won’t vote for a budget Trudeau described as seeking to tax wealthier Canadians to fund programs meant to provide a fairer housing market.


While the federal budget included several items focused on Indigenous infrastructure development, there is some question as to whether it’s enough.

The Assembly of First Nations questioned whether the funding will be enough to close an infrastructure gap that a recent AFN-commissioned report identified as requiring some $349 billion to address by 2030.

Trudeau said reconciliation will be the work of “decades and of generations,” and highlighted his government’s record since 2015 of increased spending on programs for First Nations communities.

The federal budget notes the Trudeau Liberals have raised spending on “Indigenous priorities” by 181 per cent since taking office in 2015, including an estimated $30.5 billion committed in the 2023-24 budget year.


Asked in French to respond to Canada Post’s decision not to accept firearms returned by people seeking to take advantage of a buyback program for weapons banned in 2020, Trudeau said the core of the government’s policy is to ban “assault-style” weapons that were “built for the battlefield, not for hunting.”

Now, he said the government continues to work out details of a buyback program to compensate those who legally bought now-prohibited guns before the ban, saying this would involve finding other courier services willing to take firearms under the program.