The calendar flips to January and we’re inspired with a fresh start to another year, one in which we anticipate to be another busy and prosperous one for our industry.
We’re optimistic the Regina Bypass will be completed later this year, which will no doubt be a proud and historic moment for Saskatchewan. We also look forward this year to the completion of passing lanes on Highway 39 near Weyburn, one of several projects that will improve travel efficiency and safety within our province.
However, there’s a dark cloud hanging over 2019. Our federal government remains steadfast in its push to implement an unwanted carbon tax on all provinces and territories.
Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, New Brunswick, Yukon and Nunavut will have to pay a tax of $20 per tonne of emissions. The tax will increase by $10 a year until it reaches $50 per tonne by 2022.
An additional levy on fuel will be introduced in April.
No doubt, members of the Saskatchewan Heavy Construction Association will be impacted by this proposed tax, some contractors more than others. Hundreds of thousands of dollars would be spent by our members paying this tax instead of on upgraded equipment and additional employees.
As an industry we will do our part to reduce emissions, though we will continue to stand with our provincial government in its fight against the implementation of this tax.
The Saskatchewan Party will have its argument heard at the Court of Appeals in February.
We remain pessimistic of its overall effect on emission reduction. Coupled with the fact that our province’s oil sector has yet to fully recover from the downturn, it would not be helpful to put a carbon tax on top of that.
It is our hope that 2019 will be a successful one for our industry and one that will prove beneficial to all who travel and conduct trade here. Handcuffing our contractors with this tax will stunt our ability to grow and improve efficiency in these areas.