Carbon tax will cost jobs: Saskatchewan Heavy Construction Association

Saskatchewan Heavy Construction Association says a carbon tax will hurt their industry and cost jobs. File / Global News

The Saskatchewan heavy construction industry has come out against a proposed carbon tax, saying it will hurt their industry and cost jobs.

Officials with the Saskatchewan Heavy Construction Association (SHCA) said it is asking the federal government to consider other ways to battle climate change.

“We agree that a reduction of carbon emissions is a laudable goal, however the implementation of a broad based carbon tax could harm the heavy civil construction industry in Canada,” the SHCA said in a letter to Catherine McKenna, the federal minister of environment.

“Many of our members are small and medium sized businesses who won’t be able to absorb the cost of a carbon tax. Lower margins mean fewer workers.”

READ MORE: Brad Wall calls Liberal carbon price disrespectful

The SHCA said a better way to reduce emissions would be accelerating depreciation on construction equipment and machinery.

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“New equipment emits less carbon, and an accelerated depreciation rate would better align with the productive life-cycle of the asset, and improve construction productivity, while also lowering costs,” said SHCA president Shantel Lipp.

Lipp said adding another level of tax would discourage investment.

The federal government announced in September a proposed carbon tax starting at $10 per tonne in 2018 and rising to $50 per tonne by 2022.

READ MORE: Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall willing to take carbon fight to Supreme Court

Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall has come out against the carbon tax, vowing to look at legal options the province might have to oppose the tax.

Wall has also said that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau should look at the plan proposed by U.S. presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, which he said supports energy efficiency, cleaner fuels and carbon capture, but does not include a carbon tax.

READ MORE: Brad Wall says Justin Trudeau should take note of Hillary Clinton’s climate plan

Saskatchewan has previously passed legislation to tax heavy greenhouse gas emitters, but it has never been brought into force.

The Saskatchewan government is expected to announce its climate change position on Tuesday.

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With files from The Canadian Press

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