Alberta wheat farmers are cheering on the Saskatchewan government in its battle against the federal carbon tax.
The Western Canadian Wheat Growers Association supports action taken by the Saskatchewan government, and others, to oppose the establishment of a carbon tax by the federal government.
Saskatchewan has asked the Saskatchewan Court of Appeal to rule on whether the carbon tax is constitutional.
Growers say a federal carbon tax hurts farmers because wheat is sold into the global market and the tax makes Canadian grain less competitive.
“It’s more important than just the wheat. Whether you’re a corn grower, barley, wheat or canola, this impacts all of us. So when you finally have a government that’s going to stand up and say we’re not going to accept this, what a real exciting thing,” said Matt Sawyer, an association director with a mixed farm west of Acme.
“We have to move forward and implement policy with sound science, sound business practices, that enables our country to compete at a global level. If we continue to handcuff our industry with these ridiculous taxes that have no bearing whatsoever on our environment, and our sustainability, then we are really in trouble. That’s why we have to stand up. Enough is enough.”
He said the carbon tax has impacted Alberta farmers when it comes to the cost of transportation, manufacturing of farm equipment, products like fertilizer, and more.
Sawyer said much has been done in the past 20 years to reduce the impact of farming on the environment, such as using cleaner burning diesel engines, zero-till practices and watershed projects.
“People always say we’re the first environmentalists. We’re out there with boots on the ground, or boots in the barn.
“I think that the track record of commercial producers, whether you’re the dairy guy from Lacombe, or the chicken guy from Vegreville, everybody has made steps to be as environmentally sustainable and energy efficient as you can.”
He said farmers in Alberta are enduring the tax because Premier Rachel Notley sided with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to look good to special interest groups, tying the hands of the oil and gas industry.
“Reducing pollution is key — it’s not about the carbon tax. They implemented (the carbon tax) solely on a social license to try to look good, and what an absolute backfire that was.”