UPDATE 1-Canada to invest in green technology, but less than some expected

Tue Mar 22, 2016 5:28pm EDT
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(Adds comment from executive, tax advisor)

By David Ljunggren and Alastair Sharp

OTTAWA/TORONTO, March 22 (Reuters) - Canada will invest in green technology projects and introduce tax breaks to boost energy efficiency, Finance Minister Bill Morneau said on Tuesday, but the initiative appeared to be less ambitious than some companies had hoped for.

The Liberals of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau took power last November promising to combat global warming by cutting emissions of greenhouse gases and providing money for advanced research to help the transition to a low-carbon economy.

"Some believe we must choose between a strong economy and a clean environment. They are simply wrong," Morneau told the House of Commons as he presented his first budget since the Liberals took power last November.

Ottawa will invest more than C$1 billion ($766 million) over four years to support clean technology in the forestry, fisheries, mining, energy and agriculture sectors, he said, adding that more precise details would be released later this year.

"We were hoping for some significant support for innovation and for new technologies and that has not materialized in the budget we have seen so far," said Phil Ross, a partner at tax firm Grant Thornton.

Canadian companies working on energy-efficient innovations said before the budget they were looking for tax breaks and other incentives, including loan guarantees to support proven technologies.

"I believe that they're going to be very disappointed with it," Ross added.   Continued...