Minister Bibeau voted against the bill
By Diego Flammini
A piece of legislation designed to provide farmers with carbon tax relief passed its third reading in the House of Commons on March 29.
In total, 176 MPs voted in favour of Bill C-234, Conservative MP (Huron-Bruce) Ben Lobb’s bill that exempts on-farm fuels like propane and natural gas, used for grain drying and barn heating, from the federal carbon tax.
That number is compared to 146 MPs who voted against it.
Marie-Claude Bibeau, the federal minister of agriculture, counted as one of the opposing votes.
Only three Liberals – Kody Blois, Heath MacDonald and Robert Morrissey – supported the bill.
Multiple industry representatives are pleased the bill will now head to the senate for consideration.
Keith Currie, the new president of the Canadian Federation of Agriculture, thanked Lobb “for bringing this bill forward and to all in the house who supported it! Now lets’ get it through the Senate,” he said on Twitter.
The Agriculture Carbon Alliance, which includes 15 organizations like Grain Growers of Canada, Dairy Farmers of Canada and the National Cattle Feeders Association, also voiced support for the vote’s outcome.
“This is a huge step towards realizing the full potential of #CdnAg,” the organization said on Twitter. “A big thank you to @BenLobbMP for introducing Bill #C234 and to all members who supported it with their votes.”
One industry organization, however, is warning the piece of legislation may not be as positive as it seems.
As C-234 currently stands, commercial grain elevators do not qualify for the exemption.
This means the exemption would result in a cost of production discrepancy of about $14 per corn acre for an Ontario producer, the Ontario Agri Business Association (OABA) said. And once the carbon tax increases on April 1, that discrepancy increases to $18 per acre.
“As a sector we cannot have government policy that results in winners and losers within the marketplace for undertaking a necessary grain management process where there are no realistic large-scale alternatives,” Russel Hurst, executive director of the OABA, said in a statement.
The bill also contains an eight-year sunset clause.
This means after eight years whichever party is in government at the time can decide whether to extend the legislation.
On the same day as the Bill C-234 vote, Agriculture Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau announced more funding for grain drying technologies.
The minister announced more than $22 million for 45 projects through the Agricultural Clean Technology Program – Adoption Stream.
In total, the program has invested more than $37.1 million into 99 grain dryer projects, AAFC said in a release.
Farms.com has contacted Minister Bibeau’s office for comment on her Bill C-234 vote.