Canadians tell Trudeau to scrap carbon tax on farms: poll

A Leger poll, commissioned by the Canadian Taxpayers Federation (CTF), says seven in 10 Canadians want no carbon tax charged on the agricultural use of natural gas and propane.

Canadians tell Trudeau to scrap carbon tax on farms: poll
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Most Canadians want a carbon tax exemption for farmers, recent polling shows. 

A Leger poll, commissioned by the Canadian Taxpayers Federation (CTF), says 7 in 10 Canadians want no carbon tax charged on the agricultural use of natural gas and propane.

Albertans (76%) and British Columbians (72%) strongly support the exemption. Two-thirds (68%) of Québecers and Atlantic Canadians also want greater relief for farmers.

“That means members of Parliament need to listen to Canadians and pass Bill C-234, a proposed piece of legislation that gives farmers this exact exemption,” said Gage Haubrich, CTF Prairie Director.

On December 12, Parliament passed Bill C-234, An Act to amend the Greenhouse Gas Pollution Pricing Act, after the Senate removed fuel exemptions for heating buildings used to raise and house livestock or crops.

Under the original bill, farmers would have saved $115 million in carbon taxes by 2026. The amended version will reduce those savings to just $26 million a year by the same date, reported Producer.

On April 1, the federal carbon tax will increase to $95 per tonne and will continue to rise by $15 per tonne annually until 2030.

“Canadians understand that just like the carbon tax costs them big money to fuel up their cars and heat their homes, it also costs farmers, but on a much larger scale,” said Haubrich.

The average livestock farmer can expect a $726 carbon tax bill every month, while crop farmers can look forward to a $2,024 bill, according to the Agriculture Carbon Alliance (ACA). The coalition of 15 farm associations has tirelessly pushed Ottawa to provide meaningful tax relief to farmers.

Greenhouses are the worst off, with an average carbon tax bill of $17,173. In some cases, up to 40% of a farmer's energy cost is just carbon tax.

Had its previous version become law, farmers would have saved almost $978 million by 2030.

“That’s a lot of money that farmers are paying on their bills every month,” said Haubrich, who adds their competitiveness with U.S. farmers is trending downward because they aren’t paying a carbon tax.

“Plus, if farmers aren’t paying millions of dollars every year in the carbon tax, it’s likely to help the rest out with prices at the grocery store.”

Adding insult to injury, a subsequent amendment lowered the sunset period of the bill from eight years to three. The original bill would have lasted until 2030, but the amended version will only run until 2026.

The bill sponsor, Conservative MP Ben Lobb, notes the legislative changes “did a lot of damage to the full intent of the bill.”

Three Liberal MPs favoured Bill C-234 as initially tabled, including Heath MacDonald, Robert Morrissey, and Kody Blois. The latter comes from an agrarian riding.

“This legislation has been through the wringer,” added Haubrich, who attributed further delays to the Senate.

“They removed the exemptions for heating barns and decided that the relief should end after three years,” he said.

The Commons in 2021 passed a similar Conservative-sponsored Bill C-206 but it lapsed in the Senate. 

Last December 6, the Senate rewrote the bill, earning wrath from at least one Conservative MP. 

MP Damien Kurek claimed Prime Minister Justin Trudeau “bullied his senators” into approving legislative amendments that weaken relief for farmers.

According to Blacklock's Reporter, Québec Senator Pierre Dalphond sponsored an amendment to exclude barns from the bill, earning the support of Liberal-appointed senators. Sixty-four of the current ninety-four senators are Trudeau appointees who have never opposed a Liberal measure.

He received the boot from Parliament the following day after calling the Prime Minister a ‘liar.’ Trudeau did not comment on the need for a Bill C-234 rewrite at the time.

The bill in its current form would see farmers pay $910 million in carbon tax by 2030, according to the Budget Office.

“It’s time for Ottawa to start listening to Canadians and stop charging farmers carbon taxes that make all of our lives more expensive,” said Haubrich.

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