Structurlam’s Okanagan Falls plant manager Lyndon Chernoff with some wood set for a major construction project. A bill from MP Richard Cannings proposes federal government be required to look at wood when constructing infrastructure. Western News file photo

Major hurdle cleared for Cannings’ infrastructure bill

Cannings’ bill to push wood infrastructure got oak-ay from commons, headed fir committee study

After passing second reading in the House of Commons, Richard Cannings’ bill suggesting Ottawa seriously consider wood structures when constructing federal buildings is moving to the committee level.

Though he has previously had a bill he tabled be taken on by government as a policy, rather than going through the legislative process, Cannings, member of Parliament for South Okanagan—West Kootenay, said Bill C-354 was only one of two NDP bills to pass second reading in two years.

The bill saw support from all MPs outside of the Conservative Party, which voted entirely against the bill.

Related: Cannings reflects on a productive year

“I knew cabinet would be behind it, but I didn’t know how the rest of the caucus would feel, and I had quite a number of Conservatives lined up, but it turned out that they both whipped their vote in different directions,” Cannings said.

“It’s a nice feeling.”

Cannings said the natural resources committee, on which he sits, still has yet to decide whether they will move ahead with the bill quickly or sit on it, but he said he heard from cabinet that the governing Liberal Party would like to see the bill move forward, albeit watered down.

“The Liberal side and the parliamentary secretaries for public works and natural resources both brought up concerns about the strong language it has in there about giving preference and thought this might cause problems with international trade law,” Cannings said.

Related: Cannings calls for support for softwood workers

“I don’t think it does, because of the language around using this test of cost and carbon footprint cost. I think that would mitigate that. In British Columbia we have the Wood First Act, which does basically the same thing and no one’s ever complained about it.”

Cannings added Europe also has similar laws surrounding disincentivizing things like vinyl siding.

“If they can do it, I don’t know why we can’t,” he said. “We’re going to talk to people in the industry. The Forest Products Association of Canada is very, very happy right now that this passed.”

The bill would require the federal government to consider wood in federal infrastructure projects, while taking into account costs and greenhouse gas emissions.

Related: U.S. adds another border tax to B.C. lumber

In the House on Tuesday, Cannings made a final pitch for the bill.

“We are at the cusp of a significant change in how we construct buildings. For over a century, large building have been built with concrete and steel,” Cannings said.

“While that will continue for years to come,we have new engineered wood, or mass timber technology that can replace some or all of the concrete and steel in buildings.”

The Conservative Party took issue to the proposal, saying it distorted the market in favour of wood, but Cannings suggested the concrete industry had come to the government looking for similar treatment, and said the concrete and steel industries could compete with wood.

The bill, if passed, could support the wood industry in a time when wood’s future is still up in the air, as trade disputes, both surrounding the North American Free Trade Agreement and, more specifically, softwood lumber continue between Canada and the U.S.

Related: Penticton’s Structurlam continues to rise

That might be of help, also, to spots like Structurlam in Okanagan Falls, which does construction projects using wood beams.

Cannings also sought to quell fears of fire hazards from wood structures.

“Those that have been built already have been designed with direct involvement and sign-off by fire chiefs,” Cannings told Parliament.

“Remember, we are not talking about stick-frame buildings here. Fire acts completely differently when it encounters a beam that is a metre thick than when it encounters a 2×4. It is like sticking a match to a big log.”


@dustinrgodfrey

dustin.godfrey@pentictonwesternnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Man seriously burned in Rossland Avenue fire

An explosion was heard in the Trail Gulch neighbourhood at approximately 12:30 p.m. Friday

Mine exploration company bullish on old Rossland mine properties

Swath of claims purchased; test drilling to begin this fall

MP Cannings’ long-awaited wood-use bill passes in House vote

The private member’s bill is his first to pass the House, a rare feat for rookie MPs in opposition

Rossland arts group sees future for old Drill Hall

Heritage building ‘move-in ready’- if the stars will align

Rossland council sets direction for local pot rules

No limit on number of shops, but location, public smoking regulated

Trans Mountain pipeline: How we got here

A look at the Kinder Morgan expansion, decades in the making

Suspected scammer attempts to use Black Press newspaper to dupe woman

Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre offers tips after Langley resident received suspicious call

Vote points to abortion being legalized in Ireland

Voters asked whether to keep or repeal Eighth Amendment to Roman Catholic Ireland’s Constitution

COLUMN: Women’s breasts really aren’t that big a deal

A follow on some Princeton, B.C., students gained considerable exposure when they dropped their bras

Canadian soccer officials talk up World Cup bid at Champions League final

Current bid calls for 2026 World Cup games to be staged in the U.S., Canada and Mexico

B.C.’s devastating 2017 wildfire season revisited in new book

British Columbia Burning written by CBC journalist Bethany Lindsay

B.C. RCMP swoop in to save injured eagle

An eagle with a broken wing now in a recovery facility after RCMP rescue near Bella Coola

Bug spray 101: Health Canada wants you to stay bite free

Health Canada is reminding Canadians to use bug spray and other insect repellents safely

Most Read