Carbon tax gets thumbs down from Sask. Heavy Construction Association

Carbon tax gets thumbs down from Sask. Heavy Construction Association

Industry group says incentives to buy newer, greener machines would be better

By John Weidlich, CBC News Posted: Oct 16, 2016 9:00 PM CT Last Updated: Oct 16, 2016 9:00 PM CT
Members of the Saskatchewan Heavy Construction Association are concerned about the possible imposition of a carbon tax, noting such a move could lead to significant added costs for road building and other infrastructure work.

‘There will be costs.’- Shantel Lipp

“We don’t have a lot of details,” Shantel Lipp, president of the association, said Sunday, referencing a recent announcement by the federal government which insisted that a carbon pricing system be in place in Canada within the next few years.

Lipp’s organization — which represents over 200 businesses that perform a range of work, from building roads and bridges to underground utility systems — is especially worried that a levy would impact their bottom line.

“We definitely do think there will be costs,” Lipp said, adding the association wants to know how a carbon pricing scheme would raise revenues.

“It’s still unclear exactly how it’s going to be applied,” she said, noting the industry has asked for more information.

Incentives preferred

The association sent a letter to federal officials outlining their position and, in a media release Sunday, called on the government to consider other ways to address carbon emissions.

One alternative advocated for by the industry is to provide incentives to encourage businesses to replace older pieces of equipment with newer and more energy-efficient machines.

“We think the industry should be incented,” Lipp said. “That doesn’t seem to be on the table.”

Lipp said a statement by federal cabinet minister Ralph Goodale that revenues raised by a carbon levy would remain in Saskatchewan was not helpful as it wasn’t certain how the money would be spent.

She said incentives would be a better way to promote green initiatives, compared to a tax.

“Any time that you’re imposing an additional tax, it’s a burden,” she said.

“We understand that emissions are a problem,” Lipp said, but noted a tax will hurt the industry and cost jobs. “Of course we want to try and do what’s best for the environment, but the industry needs to be successful.”

The industry’s suggestion involves allowing companies to accelerate the rate at which they can depreciate assets. That could provide a financial incentive to switch to new technologies sooner.

“We support the position Premier [Brad] Wall has taken on this,” Lipp added, speaking approvingly of the Saskatchewan government’s opposition to the federal move.

 

About prosperitysaskatchewan

Consultant on Saskatchewan's natural resources.

Posted on October 18, 2016, in economic impact, oil, political. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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