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Scott Moe is a Canadian politician serving as the 15th and current premier of Saskatchewan since February 2, 2018. He is a member of the Legislative Assembly of Saskatchewan for the riding of Rosthern-Shellbrook, first elected in 2011. He served in the Saskatchewan Party cabinet from 2014–2017 under the premiership of Brad Wall, twice as Minister of Environment and also as Minister of Advanced Education. In January 2018 he was chosen to succeed Wall as leader of the Saskatchewan Party. He led the Saskatchewan Party to a fourth-consecutive majority mandate in the 2020 provincial election.
|Net Worth||$4 million|
Scott Moe was born on July 31, 1973 (age 48 years) in Prince Albert, the oldest of five children, and raised on a farm near Shellbrook. After high school, he briefly moved to Yellowknife before returning to Saskatchewan and attending the University of Saskatchewan. He graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Agriculture.
In the mid-1990s, while still attending university, Moe and his wife established a farming business, buying equipment and renting land. By early 2000, Moe had filed for bankruptcy with $208,500 in assets and $320,900 in liabilities. He has also owned both gas stations and a pharmacy. After the bankruptcy, Moe moved to Vermillion, Alberta, where he worked selling farm equipment. He returned to Saskatchewan in 2003 and has worked in various community initiatives in and near Shellbrook including the Economic Development Corporation and the Shellbrook and District Physician Recruitment Committee, which seeks to attract general practitioners to rural areas of the province without convenient access to local medical facilities.
During the 1990s Moe was charged on two occasions for impaired driving. In 1992, Moe received a conviction for impaired driving while under the legal drinking age. In 1994 Moe was again charged with impaired driving as well as leaving the scene of an accident. The charges ultimately stayed.
On May 29, 1997, Moe was in a collision that killed 39-year-old Joanne Balog, who was travelling in another vehicle. Balog’s 18-year old son, Steve Balog, was the only other passenger and survived the collision with dislocated ribs and lacerations. An RCMP investigation determined that Moe had attempted to cross the highway when it was unsafe and gave Moe a ticket for driving without due care and attention. While Moe stated alcohol was not a factor, he also claimed he could not recall the collision happening.
Scott Moe was first elected to the Legislative Assembly as a Saskatchewan Party MLA in the 2011 election. He was appointed to the legislature’s Standing Committee on Crown and Central Agencies and was deputy chair of the legislature’s Standing Committee on Public Accounts. Moe entered Cabinet on June 5, 2014, as Minister of Environment and Minister responsible for SaskWater and the Water Security Agency. On May 21, 2015, he was appointed as Minister of Advanced Education.
Moe was re-elected in Rosthern-Shellbrook in the 2016 election and on August 23, 2016, Moe returned to his former role as Minister of Environment. It was in this second stint on the Environment file that Moe first drew national attention. On October 3, 2016, provincial Environment Ministers were meeting with Federal Environment Minister Catherine McKenna to work on a national agreement to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
On the same day, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced the federal government’s plan to introduce a federal carbon tax for provinces that refused to implement their own. Moe, along with his counterparts from Nova Scotia and Newfoundland and Labrador, walked out of their meeting with McKenna in protest, with Moe describing the federal government’s actions as reminiscent of a ‘national energy program 2.0.’
This signalled the beginning of a long battle between Saskatchewan, and eventually a number of other provinces, and the federal government over the tax. When an agreement was reached on a Pan-Canadian Framework for addressing climate change, Saskatchewan refused to sign because of the inclusion of carbon pricing, which meant the province left more than $60 million in federal funding on the table.
While he was Minister of the Environment and responsible for the Water Security Agency, Moe met with fellow Saskatchewan Party MLA Bill Boyd regarding Boyd’s personal irrigation projects. The projects were reviewed by Moe and later found to have illegally cultivated protected grasslands and involved building irrigation infrastructure into a river without obtaining the proper licensing permits.
Regarding the process, Moe commented that he did not discuss the matter with Boyd after he was made aware that the project was in contravention of the Wildlife Habitat Protection Act, but that “[t]here was a failure in following the law.” When asked about specifics of the meeting with Boyd, such as when it was, who had attended, and how it came about, Moe said he could not recall or did not know. Boyd was fined a total of $35,000 in relation to two charges laid in 2017 and ordered to remediate the shoreline violation. He was also removed from the Saskatchewan Party caucus by then-premier Brad Wall over the matter, and eventually resigned his position as MLA.
Saskatchewan Party Leadership Campaign
With the Saskatchewan Party falling in polls after forwarding a severe austerity budget in March 2017, Brad Wall announced in August of that year that he would be retiring, triggering a leadership race. On September 1, 2017, after resigning from Cabinet, Moe formally launched an unexpected campaign for the leadership of the party with the backing of 21 cabinet and caucus members, primarily from rural Saskatchewan.
Scott Moe’s campaign promises included a balanced budget by 2019, restoring $30 million of the $50 million in education funding that had recently been cut from Saskatchewan schools, reinstating the PST exemption on health, life, and accident insurance products, and a renewed focus on trade and exports including through a new Ministry of Export and Trade. In addition, he vowed to continue to fight against a federal carbon tax.
During his campaign, Moe stated that he did not personally support abortion and that he would support a discussion of parental notification and parental consent for women to have an abortion. In an interview with the anti-abortion group “Right Now”, Moe suggested he would be open to legislation to limit the time frame in which a woman could have an abortion.
On January 27, 2018, at the Saskatchewan Party convention in Saskatoon, Moe was elected the party’s new leader in a six-person contest, beating Alanna Koch, who had served as deputy minister to the Premier under Wall and who held a narrow lead on each of the first four ballots, with 54% of the vote on the fifth ballot.
Premier of Saskatchewan (2018-)
Moe was sworn in as Saskatchewan’s 15th Premier and appointed his first Cabinet on February 2, 2018. Notably, Alanna Koch was not returned as deputy minister to the Premier after narrowly losing her party leadership bid. From 2018-2020 Moe consistently ranked at the top of the table as Canada’s most popular premier. However, his ranking dropped to fifth in the summer of 2020 after the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Moe quickly followed through on key campaign promises, restoring $30 million in education funding as well as the PST exemption on life, health, and accident insurance products. His 2018 budget, the first after the deeply unpopular 2017 austerity budget, ran a $365 million deficit and added $2.3 billion of provincial debt. Moe also replaced the Ministry of the Economy with the Ministry of Trade and Export Development and has undertaken international trade missions in the United States, China, India, Japan, and South Korea.
Carbon pricing court challenge
Scott Moe also followed through on his vow to continue fighting the federal government over carbon pricing. With the federal government threatening to impose a carbon tax on provinces that did not institute their own by January 2019, Saskatchewan launched a court challenge in April 2018, arguing to the Saskatchewan Court of Appeal that the Greenhouse Gas Pollution Pricing Act is unconstitutional. Polling showed widespread support for the challenge within the province at 88%.
More than a year later and after a federal tax was imposed on Saskatchewan for refusing to institute its own, the Saskatchewan court released its decision in May 2019 upholding the federal law. The provinces of Ontario and Alberta followed Saskatchewan’s lead and launched their own constitutional challenges against the carbon pricing act; in June 2019 Ontario’s Court of Appeal also upheld the federal law, while in February 2020 the Alberta Court of Appeal ruled that the law was unconstitutional.
Saskatchewan acted as an intervenor in the other challenges, and each case was referred to the Supreme Court. After Saskatchewan’s Supreme Court case was initially delayed with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, it was eventually heard in September 2020, although the Court adjourned without a decision, stating that it would release a decision at a later date after hearing challenges from Ontario and Alberta.
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However, Moe continued his vocal opposition to carbon pricing when the federal government announced in December 2020 that the federal tax would be increasing to $170 per tonne by the year 2030, reiterating that the scheme is unconstitutional despite the pending Supreme Court decision. In March 2021, the Supreme Court ruled that the Greenhouse Gas Pollution Pricing Act is constitutional. As a result of the ruling, Moe signalled that the province would develop its own carbon pricing scheme to succeed the federal scheme.
Moe has based his approach to climate and environment on technology like carbon capture and storage and on agriculture. However, this approach, encapsulated in the province’s “Prairie Resilience” climate change strategy, has been criticized by environmental experts and organizations, including the Saskatchewan Environmental Society, as inadequate, especially in failing to reduce the province’s greenhouse gas emissions, which are the highest per capita in Canada. Moe has also been a staunch advocate for the building of new pipelines, and in February 2020 he formed a cabinet committee tasked with assessing how the government could help the cause.
While energy issues including carbon pricing and pipelines have been at the core of Moe’s adversarial relationship with the federal government, he has been a frequent critic of the Liberal government in other areas and has expressed a desire to set new terms for relations with the federal government. In the wake of the Liberals’ 2019 election victory, in which they did not win a seat in Saskatchewan, Moe released a statement calling for “A New Deal with Canada,” including a revised formula for equalization payments.
He further stated that he would explore how Saskatchewan could gain more control over taxation and immigration, citing Quebec’s unique powers in these areas as an example. While other conservative provincial governments denounced western separatist rhetoric and signalled a willingness to work with Ottawa, Moe maintained a hard-line approach and has been accused of stoking separatist sentiment.
After the 2020 provincial election, in which the separatist Buffalo Party received more than 2.5% of the popular vote despite running candidates in only 17 of 61 ridings, Moe stated, “[w]e share your frustrations, and we share many of your objectives,” and he called for more “independence” and “autonomy” for the province. Moe has also recently criticized federal firearms legislation, and in anticipation of a provision allowing cities to ban handguns, Moe’s government passed its own legislation banning municipalities from setting independent gun laws.
Wascana Park protests
In February 2018 protestors set up a teepee camp in Wascana Park near the Legislature to raise awareness about anti-Indigenous racism, and in particular the disproportionate apprehension of Indigenous children by Child and Family Services. Campers were seeking changes to the welfare system as well as updates to the police and coroner’s act. Moe refused to meet with organizers at the camp, which was dubbed “Justice For Our Stolen Children.” Rather, Moe repeatedly argued that the camp was violating local bylaws and, concerned over potential disruptions to Canada Day celebrations, the government issued an eviction notice in early June.
On June 18, six people from the camp were arrested and the camp was dismantled. However, the camp was set back up on June 21 with an even larger presence. Moe renewed calls for the police to remove the camp, and although representatives from the government agreed to meet with camp organizers in early July, Moe opted not to join them. The camp unsuccessfully requested further meetings, and the province and the camp each filed court cases, with the province seeking removal of the camp and the camp seeking for the June arrests to be deemed an infringement of charter rights. While a decision was reserved on the latter question, the court ordered the camp to disband in September. The camp disbanded on September 12, 197 days after it was first erected. Camp organizers expressed dismay that park bylaws proved to be a bigger priority than addressing the issues the camp brought forward.
In July 2020 another camp was set up in Wascana Park, this time in an effort to address a suicide crisis in northern Saskatchewan after the Saskatchewan Party voted unanimously against a suicide prevention bill in June 2020. Moe refused to meet with the organizer of what was dubbed the “Walking With Our Angels” camp, Tristen Durocher, and the government filed a court case to evict the camp for violating park bylaws. In this case, the court ruled against the government, striking down the bylaws for infringing on constitutional protections. Moe continued to call the camp illegal despite the decision, and he did not meet with Durocher before his 44-day protest ended.
Saskatchewan’s first case of COVID-19 was confirmed on March 12, 2020. Opposition leader Ryan Meili called for an all-party committee, including medical and economic experts, to be formed to handle the emerging pandemic, but Moe rejected the overture. Despite both the pandemic and the province’s fixed election law, Moe drew criticism when he mused openly about calling a spring election ahead of the scheduled October election.
However, on March 18 Moe declared a state of emergency, giving the province the power to institute far-reaching public health measures. The province mandated a wide range of businesses to close temporarily to slow the onset of the pandemic in the province, and with relatively low case numbers most businesses were allowed to re-open by July. In the fall, Moe vowed not to instate a “lockdown,” arguing that doing so would be detrimental to business in the province.
Saskatchewan proved to be one of the hardest-hit provinces in the second wave of cases beginning in the fall of 2020, and by early 2021 the province had the highest case rate in the country. The province introduced new public health measures during this second wave, but Moe persistently rejected calls for a short-term closure of businesses, opting to keep most establishments open at reduced capacities, even as some businesses argued that they would benefit from a stricter approach. Moreover, despite prioritizing keeping the economy open, Saskatchewan posted the highest number of job losses in the country between March 2020 and March 2021. Moe’s popularity began to wane as a result, and he has been criticized for his handling of the second wave.
Moe has further been criticized for unusually long adjournments of the Legislature during the pandemic and accused of avoiding democratic accountability. Moe himself persistently criticized the federal government for its handling of vaccine procurement. He has on multiple occasions defended Saskatchewan’s chief medical officer, Dr Saqib Shahab, after Shahab was subjected to racist insults and protests at his home by anti-mask protestors.
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On March 9, 2021, Moe moved to once again ease public health restrictions as cases trended downwards. However, public health experts criticized this move, particularly with the arrival of known variants of concern in the province. The province was subsequently subjected to a third wave that raised concerns among health care workers that the province’s health care system was strained.
With vaccines widely available and the third wave receding by May 2021, Moe angled to make Saskatchewan the first province to lift all public health measures related to the pandemic. On July 11, Moe announced that all remaining public health measures were lifted, and stated that “Instead of trying to control the infection rate through government-imposed restrictions and government rules, we can now control COVID through vaccines.”
At the time Moe also announced that regular public updates would end. However, despite this optimism, by August it was clear that Saskatchewan had the lowest vaccination rates of any province and was in the early stages of a fourth wave driven by infections predominantly among unvaccinated people. Local health experts renewed calls for public health measures to help curb the growth of cases, culminating in an August 26th letter signed by provincial medical health officers requesting specific measures such as mask mandates and reinstatement of mandatory isolation for positive cases.
Moe publicly rejected these requests, stating that it would be “grossly unfair” to vaccinated people to reinstate public health measures. By early September Saskatchewan’s case rate was three times higher than the Canadian average. Health care workers continued speaking publicly, detailing the strain the fourth wave was placing on the health care system and accusing the government of downplaying a crisis in emergency departments in particular. In addition, municipal leaders, including the mayors of Saskatoon and Prince Albert, publicly called for more action from the provincial government.
After weeks of spurning calls for a provincial response and amid record case and hospitalization numbers, Moe announced on September 16, 2021, that the province would reinstate certain public health measures as well as a proof-of-vaccination system for certain venues and businesses. Moe was criticized both for waiting too long to introduce the measures and for refusing accountability for having lifted all measures approximately two months prior.
Although Moe mused in the spring about calling an early election, the 2020 provincial election ultimately took place in October as per the province’s fixed election law. It was Moe’s first election since being sworn in as premier. On October 26, the Saskatchewan Party was re-elected to its fourth consecutive majority government. This was the first time a government had won four consecutive elections in Saskatchewan since the CCF led by Tommy Douglas in the 1950s. Moe was re-elected in Rosthern-Shellbrook with nearly 80% of the vote.
Scott Moe based his campaign on economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, promising to balance the provincial budget by 2024. As part of his pitch, Moe touted the province’s success in handling the pandemic. He also appealed to homeowners with promises of rebates on energy bills and a home renovation tax credit.
In March 2021, ahead of the release of the new provincial budget, Moe’s finance minister signalled that the government would not balance the budget by 2024. Moe admitted that the economic recovery period from the pandemic was uncertain and therefore would no longer commit to a date for when the budget would be balanced.
During the 2020 election, the sons of Joanne Balog, who was killed in a 1997 car collision with Moe, revealed that Moe had never apologized to them. Steve Balog, who was injured in the crash, claimed that he only learned that Moe was the at-fault driver in the incident when the Premier was asked about the crash by the media during the election campaign, as the police did not disclose his identity at the time of the crash.
Although Moe had publicly apologized for the crash previously, he declined to speak directly with the Balogs during the election campaign, stating it would be an inappropriate time to do so. Steve Balog criticized Moe for “flip-flopping” after he had suggested publicly that he would be reaching out to the Balogs. In the midst of this criticism, Moe revealed previously undisclosed stayed charges from a 1994 incident for impaired driving and leaving the scene of a crash or a collision.
In January 2021 after the executive committee for Regina’s City Council adopted a controversial amendment to its sponsorship policy that may have restricted the ability for some energy companies to advertise on City buildings and at City events, Moe released a statement threatening to withhold municipal surcharges from Crown energy companies SaskPower and SaskEnergy if City Council didn’t reject the amendment. Moe’s comments were criticized by Regina city councillors and the Municipalities of Saskatchewan for infringing on the city government’s autonomy. The debate spurred significant backlash from the oil and gas industry lobby, and Council ultimately voted unanimously against the amendment.
Scott Moe net worth
How much is Scott Moe worth? Scott Moe net worth is estimated at around $4 million. His salary is around $175,000. He is one of the influential politicians in Canada. However, in February 2021 Moe sparked controversy when he suggested that those calling for stricter measures to address the COVID-19 pandemic were those able to work from home. Polling at the time showed that 67% of people polled in Saskatchewan saw the need for stricter measures. Moe’s comments drew particular criticism from health care workers, many of whom have persistently called for stricter measures. The president of the Saskatchewan Federation of Labour, Lori John, responded by stating that the “numbers of people dying and becoming sick every day from COVID-19 are a direct reflection on the lack of action from our provincial government.”
In April 2021 Moe and his Health Minister, Paul Merriman, rejected an invitation to tour an intensive care unit at Regina General Hospital. Moe had been criticized for downplaying the impact of the pandemic on Saskatchewan ICUs and health care workers at Regina General Hospital who invited Moe for a tour was quoted as saying, “‘If only the leadership would come and see what’s really going on here, they would understand what we’re dealing with.”
Scott Moe is married to Krista Scott and the couple has two children: Carter Moe and Taryn Moe. Moe is an avid fisherman and golfer. In April 2021 Moe and his Health Minister, Paul Merriman, rejected an invitation to tour an intensive care unit at Regina General Hospital. Moe had been criticized for downplaying the impact of the pandemic on Saskatchewan ICUs and health care workers at Regina General Hospital who invited Moe for a tour was quoted as saying, “‘If only the leadership would come and see what’s really going on here, they would understand what we’re dealing with.