WINNIPEG — The carbon tax announced March 12 in Manitoba’s provincial budget will substantially increase operating costs for our province’s lodges and outfitters, unless the government agrees to exempt the industry like it’s doing for others.
Outfitters are large consumers of fuel, and will therefore be disproportionately affected by increases to the cost of gasoline, diesel and propane which are proposed to take effect in Manitoba on Sept. 1. Boats, airplanes and ATVs are common tools of the trade across the province, while electricity generation is usually fuelled by diesel generators at remote, off-the-grid facilities in northern and eastern Manitoba. Life in the north offers little alternative in the form of electric vehicles or other options.
The tax would add 5.32 cents to a litre of gas; 6.71 cents to a litre of diesel; and 3.87 cents to a litre of propane.
“The province’s budget speech talked about ‘working to increase tourism,’ but the way the carbon tax is being applied, it represents an increase in costs for tourism operators,” said Paul Turenne, executive director of the Manitoba Lodges and Outfitters Association.
Turenne noted other industrial uses of fuel such as commercial fishing, agriculture, mining and forestry are being exempted from the carbon tax. We believe the outdoor tourism industry should be exempt as well.
“When I see those exemptions, I think ‘Where is the same support for our industry?’” Turenne said. “We believe an exemption would be fair recognition of our sector’s contribution to Manitoba’s rural and northern economy, especially considering our proximity to exempt industries like commercial fishing and forestry,” he said. “This announcement caught us a little off-guard, but we will be asking the minister for an official exemption. We believe there is still time for us and the government to sit down and rectify this situation before the Sept. 1 implementation date.”