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Ag in the House: June 17 – 21

Ag in the House: June 17 – 21

The House of Commons rose for the summer after June 19’s proceedings

By Diego Flammini
Staff Writer
Farms.com

The final week of question period saw the Conservatives continue to push the Liberals on the validity of the carbon tax.

On June 21, Shannon Stubbs, the Conservative MP for Lakeland, told the House that a family farm paid $500 in carbon taxes in one month, and that an ag group paid $5,000 in carbon taxes in six months before the tax went up on April 1.

She asked if Environment Minister Steven Guilbeault would admit the carbon tax is a cash grab, or if he’d resign.

Natural Resources Minister Jonathan Wilkinson responded by saying eight of every 10 families get more money back than they pay, and that the Conservatives have no plan for climate change.

That same day, Larry Brock, the Conservative MP for Brantford-Brant, took aim at the capital gains tax.

“An agriculture producer in my riding is deeply concerned that the tax is undermining the profitability and sustainability in an already volatile business environment,” he told the House before asking if the government has more surprise tax increases planned.

Rachel Bendayan, the parliamentary secretary to Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland, replied.

No one taking home a salary is going to see a change, she said.

“In fact what we are asking is with respect to those who do not make a salary, who have their money working for them, who make incredible profits on the investments that they sell. They will be paying a little bit more,” Bendayan said.

On June 18, Todd Doherty, the Conservative MP for Cariboo-Prince George, targeted the capital gains tax.

He told the House that farmers will pay about 30 per cent more in taxes, citing a Grain Growers of Canada report.

 “Canadians know that when you tax a farmer who grows the food and tax a trucker who ships the food, it is all Canadians who pay the price. How is that fair?” he said.

Finance Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland replied.

Her answer started with an acknowledgement of the hard work farmers do.

“Mr. Speaker, as the proud daughter of a farmer, I know the huge contribution farmers make to our country. That is why I am glad that with these tax measures, we are able to increase the lifetime capital gains exemption to $1.25 million for each farmer in Canada,” she said.

“I also know that farmers are hard-working people. They are on the side of the working people, not on the side of the multi-millionaires, but that is not the side the Conservatives are on.”

Richard Lehoux, the Conservative MP for Beauce, told the House farmers are concerned the tax increase will impact farmer retirements.

He then asked Minister Freeland if she would promise that no farmer would lose his or her retirement.

Minister Freeland’s response touched on an upcoming change taking place June 25.

“We are increasing the lifetime capital gains exemption to $2.5 million for a couple. This is an important measure for farmers in Quebec and Canada,” she said.

MPs rose for the summer after June 19’s question period.

The House sits for its fall session beginning in September.


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