Farmers joined the Conservative ag critic during a press conference
By Diego Flammini
Pass Bill C-234.
That’s the message Conservative Agriculture Critic John Barlow, flanked by a group of Canadian farmers and industry reps, wanted to send to senators and Canadians on Nov. 21.
C-234, which would provide farmers with carbon tax exemptions on propane and natural gas, is up for third reading in the Senate this week.
The Senate hansard for Nov. 21 indicates senators will resume debate on Bill C-234.
Removing the carbon tax on those fuels will help with affordability and support farmers, Barlow said.
“A tax on farmers is an increase on the cost of food for every single Canadian,” he said during the press conference. “This bill will provide much needed financial relief for our farmers, who want to make food more affordable for Canadians in the face of Justin Trudeau’s inflationary taxes and deficits.”
And Barlow is warning political games could kill C-234.
Senators voted to adjourn debate on the bill during its third reading about two weeks ago. And more senators are being sworn in on Nov. 21.
The Liberals are “swearing in four new senators today to ensure they have the votes they need to kill this bill,” Barlow said, adding that since these new senators haven’t participated in any debates on C-234, they should refrain from voting on it.
Some of the industry members joining Barlow at the Nov. 21 press conference spoke about the effects the carbon tax has on their operations.
Hessel Kielstra, an Alberta poultry producer, estimated that by 2030, the carbon tax will cost his operation about $400,000 per year.
“A lot of farmers will fail,” he said, adding that if forced to reduce usage of natural gas to lower production costs, baby chicks will die.
Preventing Bill C-234’s passage puts Canada in a tough position, said Colin Chapdelaine, a representative with Star Produce.
“Getting our inputs taxed higher when we export 80 per cent of our product to the U.S. puts us at a competitive disadvantage,” he said. “We’re looking to have this passed unamended so we can be on the same playing field as our partners in the U.S.”
Farmers have also held rallies across Canada to raise awareness about the bill.
Producers in Alberta, for example, met in front of Liberal MP George Chahal’s office.
“It does add up,” Bernie McWilliams, a farmer from Mossleigh, told CTV. “Natural gas, when they put a tax on that – greenhouse, heating a building, a hog barn, a chicken barn – it all adds up to the cost.”
And in Nova Scotia, producers gathered outside the office of MP Kody Blois.
Six people are pictured standing in front of a trailer with a sign that reads “If you ate today thank the farmers and truckers. If you can’t afford groceries thank your Liberal government. Axe the carbon tax!”
And the Agriculture Carbon Alliance has an online letter campaign available for Canadians to send emails to lawmakers urging them to pass C-234.