Remaining Firm in Stance Against Carbon Tax for Grain Drying

After an incredibly wet harvest, farmers have been asking the Liberal government to exempt them from the carbon tax to dry their grain.

For months the Liberal Minister of Agriculture said she needed more data, but many suspected she was just buying time to delay the formal announcement to turn down farmers’ request.  

On a Zoom call to reporters, the Minister of Agriculture said that her analysis did not show, “that the impact of the price on pollution has a significant impact on grain drying”, nor “does not a significant impact on operating costs”. The Minister went on to explain that, “this is why we are not moving forward with more specific relief (for grain drying)”.

Numerous Westman farmers have contacted me to outline how they had to dry almost all their grain from last year’s harvest and as a result, are paying the carbon tax. There are no substitutes for propane or natural gas for drying grain and these fuel sources are not exempt from the Liberal carbon tax within the agricultural sector, as are gasoline and diesel.

As a farmer, I understand the challenges facing agricultural producers and I have stood up in Parliament on many occasions asking the Liberal government to act. It has been clear for some time that the Minister of Agriculture has not been prepared to make the necessary changes.

Instead of waiting for the Liberals to table legislation to fix this, I’ve worked with my colleagues and seconded Bill C-206, that proposes to fully exempt farmers from the Liberal carbon tax.

I officially seconded Bill C-206 in February, which was introduced by Philip Lawrence, Conservative MP for Northumberland-Peterborough South, Ontario. If passed, this bill will exempt qualifying farmers from paying the Liberal carbon tax on gasoline, diesel fuel, propane and natural gas, saving them tens of thousands of dollars a year on farming operations.

The Liberal government had a perfect opportunity to keep their word and exempt farmers from the carbon tax and yet they once again ignored their concerns. Between dealing with market disruptions, rail challenges, the global pandemic, and bad weather, the least the Liberals could do is to rebate farmers the carbon taxes they have already paid.

Farmers face countless challenges, including unpredictable weather, trade disruptions, and global pricing instability. On top of this, the Liberal carbon tax is costing farmers $3-4/acre and is decreasing their net income by up to 12%.

In Manitoba, the carbon tax cost farmers $1.7M on last years harvest just to dry their corn. The Keystone Agriculture Producers (KAP) estimates that the carbon tax has cost the average Manitoba grain farmer over $1,700 in grain drying alone.

Through practices including no-till farming and carbon sequestration in soil, agricultural producers are essential in protecting our air and water. Altogether, farmers help eliminate 1.5 million tonnes of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere per year in Canada.

Bill C-206 will help farmers save millions of dollars in unnecessary taxation and recognizes the positive contribution of farmers to the natural environment.

I will keep up the fight to fully exempt farmers from the carbon tax – farmers cannot wait any longer and want to see action now.”

 


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