Electoral candidates at a recent forum had little to say about the Progressive Conservative promise to increase the biofuel and ethanol requirements in Manitoba.
“Certainly we’re excited for that opportunity,” said Minister of Agriculture Ralph Eichler, adding he hoped the other provinces would follow suit.
Premier Brian Pallister announced on August 27 that a PC government, if elected, would raise the ethanol requirement to 10 per cent from 8.5 per cent and the biodiesel requirement to five per cent from two per cent.
“We will have the highest biofuel standards in the country,” said Pallister in a news release. “This directly benefits local canola growers and oilseed crushers who will supply the biofuels to help reduce emissions.”
The forum, held by the Manitoba Farm Writers and Broadcasters Association, was also on August 27.
Mitch Obach, who represented the NDP, said his party would respond to the news release. He said the province needs to look at more options for electric vehicles, including more charging stations.
Martha Jo Willard, for the Green party, said she was solidly in the “electric vehicle camp” and said we have to look for ways to reduce emissions at every level.
Terry Hayward with the Liberal party said he needed to see the press release. He called for more work to be done on solar and wind power.
Later that day, the Canola Council of Canada released a statement in support of the announcement.
“Enhancing biofuel use is a win win win for Manitoba. It reduces greenhouse gas emissions, promotes value-added processing of canola and creates a larger domestic market for canola that is free from international trade actions,” said Jim Everson, president of the Canola Council of Canada in the statement. “This announcement is welcome and timely given the current market access challenges facing our industry.”