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MP Candice Bergen to voice industry concerns on carbon tax

Conservative MP Candice Bergen (Portage-Lisgar) has committed to voice the concerns the heavy construction industry has about the federal push to raise the carbon tax to $130 per tonne by 2030 without a corresponding or accompanying plan on how to achieve carbon footprint reductions.

“We can’t agree that to fight climate change we have to destroy our economy,” Bergen told the HCA in a video conference December 17. “If we actually want to fight climate change we have to reduce emissions around the world.”

Bergen, deputy leader of the Conservative Party, said the world would be better off buying Canada’s energy resources because they are produced through cleaner, GHG-reducing technologies than energy resources produced in other oil-rich nations.

MHCA’s Chair Nicole Chabot and immediate Past Chair Jack Meseyton spoke to Bergen about the main priorities, on a federal level, of Manitoba’s industry as part of the Canadian Construction Association’s virtual Hill Days.

Chabot noted that there is an absence of federal nation-building infrastructure investment program, so critical to ensuring the trade corridors and gateways are built and upgraded to take advantage of global trade markets that are opening.

Meseyton said that unlike the long-haul trucking industry, the electrification of heavy-duty diesel engines for construction work is not within the near future. The heavy construction industry is focusing on reducing emissions with technology, such as anti-idling devices, that is available now.

Government has to recognize that the rising cost of carbon-taxed fuel will have an impact on the value derived from public infrastructure budgets, unless adjustments are made, he said.

Chabot asked Bergen to press the federal government for a strong economic stimulus program that recognizes the large return on investment from infrastructure programs.

As well, she stressed Manitoba needs to see the Lake Manitoba/Lake St. Martin Outlet Channel projects approved soon by the federal government.

“That project is critical to protecting numerous communities and livelihoods in and around the Interlake,” MHCA President Chris Lorenc noted. “The cost of the 2011 flood damage to those communities was in the many billions. We cannot afford to see a recurrence. This is a climate change-resilience project that deserves immediate federal attention and support.”