The bill with carbon tax exemptions for barn heating included will go to third reading
By Diego Flammini
Canadian senators rejected a legislative amendment on Tuesday that would’ve removed carbon tax exemptions from propane and natural gas used for barn and greenhouse heating and cooling.
Senators voted 42-28 against the amendment to Bill C-234 on Nov. 7.
“The vote took about seven or eight minutes, and as the votes came in and realized we were going to win, I was quite relieved and knew that what we were doing was going to save millions and millions of dollars for farmers, growers and ranchers,” Senator David Wells, Bill C-234’s Senate sponsor, told Farms.com. “It’s not every day you do something that has an impact like that.”
The carbon tax savings could equal almost $1 billion.
A report from the Parliamentary Budget Officer shows removing the carbon tax on natural gas and propane could save producers up to $978 million by 2030.
Tuesday’s result clears the path for Bill C-234, in its original form, to have its third reading in the Senate on Thursday and is one step closer to receiving Royal Assent and becoming law.
But the fight is not over, and other senators could try to stall the bill, Senator Wells said.
“I think amendments will be put on the floor at third reading, which is entirely within our rules,” he said. “I think these are delay tactics to slow down the progress of the bill, regardless of its merit. I’ll be prepared to vote and pass the bill on Thursday to support our Canadian farmers. Food is not a luxury, and we will do everything we can to support those who produce it and to also help bring down costs for consumers.”
Senator Wells attended a gathering with canola farmers after the Senate’s vote.
He heard firsthand what the carbon tax exemption could mean for producers.
“A farmer told me the carbon tax exemption will allow them to invest in on-site drying of their grain with a 12-year payback,” he said. “So many things are already stacked against food producers, whether it’s weather or markets. To provide them with relief from the carbon tax can have generational implications for farm families.”
Multiple organizations, producers and fellow senators took to social media to voice support for the Senate vote.
“We commend Senators for ensuring Bill #C234 was passed in its original form & look forward to its quick passage in the third reading,” the Canadian Propane Association said.
“I was pleased to see the @SenateCA and many key Senators vote down the amendments to #C234,” Josh Boersen, a director with Grain Farmers of Ontario, said on X. “We are one key final step away from a much needed reprieve from the punitive #CarbonTax for much of #cdnag. For those that supported us, THANK YOU!”
“Thank goodness! The Senate just voted to REMOVE the (Senator) Dalphond amendment from Bill #C234,” Senator Denise Batters said online. “Barns + other farm buildings are not back IN this #CdnAg bill so farmers can receive a #CarbonTAX exemption for these ag essentials!”
Those Senators who voted to keep the carbon tax in the bill should be held accountable, Senator Wells said.
“I was disappointed to see senators who represent agricultural provinces vote to keep the amendment,” he said. “Even though they’re appointed senators, they should explain themselves about why they voted the way they did.”