Senators supporting the amendment means the bill may never pass
By Diego Flammini
The Canadian ag industry is expressing disappointment after senators voted in favour of an amendment to Bill C-234 on Dec. 5.
On X, Drew Spoelstra, president of the Ontario Federation of Agriculture called it a sad day in Canadian ag and Canadian politics “to see so much hard work, advocacy and collaboration get derailed by an agenda that doesn’t support our farmers, ranchers and farm businesses across Canada.”
John Kowalchuck, an Albera farmer said Canadian farmers “have been caught in the political crossfire.”
“All Canadians will pay for this,” Terry James, an Alberta producer, said on X.
The amendment, proposed by Sen. Pierre Dalphond, would remove planned carbon tax exemptions for propane and natural gas used to dry grain and heat barns.
Senators voted 40-39 in favour on Dec. 5.
It’s the same amendment Sen. Dalphond proposed earlier in the process that senators rejected almost one month ago.
That vote finished 42-28 against, with three abstentions.
Some senators who acted differently about the vote in November supported it on Dec. 5:
- Sen. Peter Boehm rejected the November amendment but supported the Dec. 5 vote.
- Sen. Stan Kutcher abstained from voting in November but voted in favour of the change on Tuesday.
- Sen. Miville-Dechêne, Julie also abstained in November, but supported the amendment on Dec. 5.
- Sen. Paula Simons also abstained in voting on this amendment last month but supported it in December.
The Liberals also appointed new senators between the votes.
With these voting results, the bill must return to the House of Commons for MPs to vote on the amendment.
The bill passed in the House in March with support from all parties.
Because C-234 is a private member’s bill, the Liberals can control when the bill has another reading in the House.
This means the bill is likely dead.
“This bill is now gutted,” Sen. David Wells, who sponsored the bill in the Senate, said on X. “It is likely that this will die by process back in the House. It’s difficult to think that some in power would have our key food producers carry this tax burden. Our job should be to make operations in the food industry less expensive, not more expensive. Food is not a luxury.”
A report from the Parliamentary Budget Officer estimated removing the carbon tax from propane and natural gas could’ve saved farmers almost $1 billion by 2030.
Farms.com has contacted Senator Boehm for comment about what changed between the two votes that resulted in him changing his mind.