The bill now goes back to the House of Commons for a third vote
By Diego Flammini
The bill which would exempt on-farm grain drying and barn heating from the carbon tax is one step closer to receiving royal assent.
The House of Commons Standing Committee on Agriculture and Agri-Food supported an amended version of Bill C-234 on Nov. 14 and referred it back to the House of Commons for a third reading.
The amendments include 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.
Another amendment provides clarity about the exemption, ensuring it’s used for on-farm buildings used to raise animals or crops and not to other buildings.
Commercial grain elevators would not be eligible for the exemption.
Conservative, Bloc Quebecois and NDP members of the committee voted in favour of the revised bill. The five Liberals on the committee voted against the bill.
Members of the ag community are pleased to see Bill C-234 move forward.
Providing this exemption for farmers can help ensure they’re able to produce food and strengthen national food security.
This kind of legislation requires support from all political stripes, said Dave Carey, co-chair of the Agriculture Carbon Alliance.
“Now more than ever, Canada must prioritize increased production of high-quality sustainable food, feed and fuel,” he said in a statement. “We need to do all we can to safeguard our food security, and with the cross-party support seen at the committee stage, we are hopeful the Bill will receive broader support at third reading.”
Grain Farmers of Ontario also welcome Bill C-234’s progress.
Until new ways of drying grain and heating barns become available, using fuels are a farmer’s only option.
This exemption is necessary, said Bredan Byrne, chair of Grain Farmers of Ontario.
“It is clear that these MPs understand the lack of current alternatives for grain drying and the need to provide an exemption until viable technological solutions are developed,” he said in a statement. “Now we need the Bill to pass the House and for Honourable Senators to pass the Bill into law during the life of this Parliament.”
Ben Lobb, the Conservative MP for Huron-Bruce, introduced Bill C-234 in the House of Commons on Feb. 7.
The bill needs to pass a third reading in the House, then through the Senate, before receiving royal assent.
Farms.com has contacted the Canadian Federation of Agriculture for comment.