Ag organization asks senate committee to reconsider carbon tax in Saskatchewan
By Kate Ayers
The Agricultural Producers Association of Saskatchewan (APAS) voiced its opposition to a carbon pricing policy yesterday.
Todd Lewis, APAS president, travelled to Ottawa to ask the senate ag committee to review the implementation of a carbon tax in Saskatchewan, an organization release said yesterday.
“We need to be very clear,” Lewis said in the release.
“The carbon backstop policy applies mainly to Saskatchewan, and to our members who make up a very large part of Canada’s agricultural industry.”
Farmers cannot pass along any increased input costs caused by a carbon tax, the release said.
As a result, a carbon tax adds a burdening cost to producers who already face narrow margins, Lewis added.
And the government is not recognizing farmers for their contributions to carbon emission reductions through carbon sequestration in ag soils.
“We believe that, if Canada is to meet its target to increase agricultural exports while meeting its commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 2030, federal policy must recognize both the economic impact of carbon pricing, and the essential services provided by managing carbon on the agricultural landscape,” Lewis said in the release.
The additional costs resulting from a carbon tax would pose a barrier for producers looking to invest in new technology for their businesses, he added. These costs could make the province less competitive on the world market.
The current exemption of farm fuels is valuable but other factors, such as rail transportation, natural gas, and fertilizer, are farm input costs that would be affected by the tax. Few fuel alternatives are available for those business costs so, it is hard for producers to identify energy cost savings, the release said.
APAS requests that the government conducts a cost estimate for the sector and reviews the impacts of the tax on the ag industry before the government implements the carbon pricing backstop.
Lewis spoke during a meeting held by the standing committee on agriculture and forestry as the group continues to examine items related to farming in Bill C-74.
Charles Knowles photo