The bill would provide carbon tax exemptions for natural gas and propane used for ag purposes
By Diego Flammini
A proposed piece of legislation designed to provide Canadian farmers with carbon tax relief has progressed in the House of Commons.
Bill C-234, sponsored by Ben Lobb, the Conservative MP for Huron-Bruce, had its second reading in the House of Commons on March 25.
The private member’s bill still needs to be referred to a committee, go through the report stage and have its third reading before it passes through the House and goes to the Senate for consideration.
The bill calls for amendments to the federal government’s carbon pricing legislation to exempt natural gas and propane used for on-farm applications from the carbon tax.
As it stands, the carbon tax is driving up farmers’ production costs, Lobb said.
“I will give one example of a pork farmer in my riding who sent me his December usage of natural gas,” he said in the House on March 25. “The natural gas bill for his hog barn was $11,391 in total. The carbon tax was $2,918, which is 25% of the base bill. When we throw the HST on, which is almost $1,500, 34% of the bill is in carbon tax and HST. That is really the problem.”
Putting a carbon tax on farmers doesn’t recognize the environmental work they do, he added.
The bill received support from other parties.
The NDP, for example, believes in the core principle behind Bill C-234.
“I would like to indicate that, as the New Democratic Party agriculture critic, I will be giving my support to the bill, demonstrating that we review every private member's bill that comes before us based on its merits and the principle behind it,” Alistair MacGregor, the MP for Cowichan-Malahat-Langford, said in the House. “I feel the principle behind this bill is sound.”
The Bloc, however, don’t support the bill completely.
The party is in favour of providing relief for farmers, but not at the expense of the carbon tax.
“The Bloc Québécois supports the principle of this bill. Even though we do not really agree with the idea of undermining the carbon tax, there is no question that farmers play an important social role and that we all depend on their work,” said Andréanne Larouche, the MP for Shefford.