“Every province is acting like an island.
It would be great if we could get
everyone to the table and agree.”
– Shantel Lipp, Saskatchewan Heavy Construction Association
A similar scene is playing out in Alberta, where a new government is grappling
with how to manage a deficit that hovers near $7 billion.
Premier Jason Kenney’s first budget saw significant cuts across the public
sector, with more than $1.3 billion in reduced spending and the elimination
of thousands of jobs. The infrastructure budget was slashed by
In Saskatchewan, spending on transportation infrastructure plateaued
with little to no additional dollars earmarked for this sector.
“The picture for the three prairie provinces – B.C. seems to have enjoyed
an immunity – is one of a significantly depressed market,” said Chris
Lorenc, president of MHCA. “Within that definition, there are different
peaks and valleys between the three. To say that any of the three markets
are buoyant would be a misstatement.”
The policy paper is intended to have a national scope. However, it will
a possess a distinct Western Canadian flavour that will signify the importance
of the west in terms of the larger picture.
Western Canada is rich with natural resources, with the region’s top exports
being oil and gas, agriculture and mining. In 2017, the West exported
more than $193 billion in goods to other countries. Western provinces also
exported $154 billion worth of goods and services to each other and the
rest of Canada.
The west is well-positioned to take advantage of growing global opportunities,
but without the infrastructure in place to move products, then the
region’s wealth of natural resources becomes moot.
“The return on investment in trade-enabling infrastructure is well documented.
It is essential to our national, regional, provincial and local advocacy
efforts to assemble the business case into this policy paper,” said Lipp.
“Growing the economy needs to be our first priority at each level of government.
Without a healthy economy, other areas will suffer when it comes to
funding critical services and reaching environmental stability.”
The Canada West Foundation will research and produce the document,
one that industry leaders hope will spur discussions at the federal level in
terms of the economy and the importance of investing in trade-enabling
“We want the Canada West Foundation to speak to the three levels of
government and to the public that says there’s the infrastructure we want in
Contacting an underground utility line can be costly and dangerous. Plan ahead and stay safe.
Request a line locate today
ENERG-0185D_CBYD Ad_7.125x4.75.indd 1 2020-02-10 2:28 PM
16 | Quarter 2 2020 | saskheavy.ca