Small group of farmers advocating for carbon tax exemption Bill

A small group of farmers gathered Monday morning to rally in support of Bill C-234. Laura Krause has more on what carbon tax relief for farmers could mean.

A small group of Alberta farmers were seen protesting outside the office of Liberal MP Randy Boissannault and advocating for Bill C-234 — a Bill that would exempt farmers from paying the carbon tax on natural gas or propane used to heat barns and dry grain. 

“We’ve seen like a 20-30 per cent increase in the cost of natural gas on our farm, just the add-on to levies applied. Which is really expensive for heating out big barns and our big shops, as well as drying grain for a lot of producers across the country,” said Jake Vermeer, the owner of Vemeer’s Dairy.

“The carbon tax is hugely impacting the entire food chain, so transportation from my farm to a processor, from a processor to a grocery store, and ultimately from the grocery store back to your home, you’re paying carbon tax at every single level so it’s a very levelled tax and it’s impacting us at a very high level.”

READ MORE: Alberta premier urges Senate to pass carbon price exemption bill for farmers

Bill C-234 has already cleared the House of Commons. Its fate is now in the hands of the Senate.

Ultimately as farmers wait to hear the vote, they say the carbon tax money is coming directly out of their own pockets, with no way to recoup that cost.

“We know that farmers want to be supported. We do that support, but at the same time, we need to be sure we are continuing to fight climate change, and making sure there is a clear and persistent price on pollution across the country is a part of that,” said Randy Boissannault, Edmonton Centre MP

“And we are going to continue to work with our colleagues in the Senate to see what amendments we can bring to this particular piece of legislation.”

Farmers at Monday morning’s protest say food price increases are concerning for all Canadians and this Bill would allow farmers to continue to produce an affordable product for consumers. 

“And eventually that pinch will be felt by farmers and some farmers will go out of business, and some farmers will have to increase their pricing, and that will ultimately increase the price of food across Canada at a time where Canadians are looking at their budgets saying ‘how can we survive as a family, and how can we put food on the table?’ So I think farmers are really really concerned about that,” explained Vemeer.

The Senate is scheduled to consider the Bill this week. If the Bill passes as is, it becomes law. But if senators make any changes, the Bill would have to back to the House of Commons which could be a long process. 

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