Despite UCP opposition, Carlier says levy will benefit the ag sector
By Kate Ayers
The carbon tax may be beneficial to the agricultural sector, according to Oneil Carlier, Alberta’s agriculture minister. And he disagrees with the United Conservative Party’s (UCP’s) estimate that, in total, farmers in the province will pay nearly $200 million extra each year.
UCP says that western Canadian farmers will each be confronted with $3,705 in additional yearly costs when the carbon tax is implemented at $50 per tonne. This estimate was based on a federal department of agriculture document, according to a Red Deer Advocate article on Monday.
However, these figures do not consider Alberta’s Climate Leadership Plan, according to Carlier. The plan outlines the province’s effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, such as by assigning a price to such emissions.
The levy does not apply to farm fuels and electricity, he added. Also, two-thirds of Alberta homes will receive a carbon tax rebate, the article said.
The opposition, Drew Barnes, Cypress-Medicine Hat MLA, and Rick Strankman, Drumheller-Stettler MLA, said in a news release on Friday that the fuel exemption “has done little for the escalating costs resulting from this ideological tax.”
The carbon tax is causing Albertans economic pain, they added.
But Carlier said farmers are buying into the idea and are interested in reducing their impacts on the environment.
“They want to know what they can do to lower their greenhouse gas emissions, knowing there’s often economic benefit to doing so as well.”
The ag minister announced last week that the provincial and federal governments are jointly investing $81 million in new energy-efficiency programs over the next four years, in effort to reduce energy bills and emissions, according to a release from the Alberta government.
Together, the government’s plan and farmers’ actions will result in the carbon tax having a positive impact on the agricultural industry, Carlier said.
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