Red Deer-Mountain View MP Earl Dreeshen spoke out for farming interests by tabling a House of Commons petition and calling for federal exemptions on the carbon tax imposed on agricultural producers.
On Canada’s Agriculture Day, the Conservative MP urged for exemptions on all direct and indirect input costs that the carbon tax imposes on farmers — while also calling on the Liberal government to repeal the Clean Fuel Standard regulation.
“Canadian farmers and ranchers are losing tens-of-thousands of dollars in net income each year because of the Liberal government’s ill-conceived carbon tax and that is simply not sustainable for most of them,” Dreeshen said.
“Our global competitors are not burdened by the huge carbon tax debt. But Canadian farmers and ranchers do not have the ability to add the carbon tax levy to the price of their product.”
Dreeshen said exempting input costs will place Canadian farmers on an equal footing with their international competitors.
The Liberal government announced at the end of 2020 that the carbon tax will triple to $170 per tonne by 2030 following a commitment made in the last election that the tax would not increase beyond $50 per tonne.
According to the Parliamentary Budget Officer, a farm in Alberta with 850 seeded acres of crops can expect the Liberal government’s carbon tax to cost more than $17,000 per year once the tax reaches $50 per tonne in 2022.
The Liberal government is also proceeding with the so-called Clean Fuel Standard. Dreeshen said some studies estimate it will represent a total cost to the Canadian economy of $7 to $15 billion and 50,000 lost jobs, including an impact of $389 million to the agricultural sector.
“Nobody needs or wants an extra tax on top of another tax so we need to repeal the CFS before it even gets off the ground,” Dreeshen said in a release on Tuesday.
According to the federal Liberals, putting a price on carbon pollution is an essential part of fighting climate change and growing the economy. The Liberals agree with many environmental groups — and even some oil companies — that it’s one of the most efficient ways to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and stimulate investments in clean innovation.
Those favouring the carbon tax say it allows industries to find the most cost-effective ways to reduce carbon emissions, which is a better alternative than government regulation.
The federal fuel charge took effect in Alberta, in January 2020. The charge will increase every April 1, with Alberta’s TIER system replacing Alberta’s previous approach to pricing carbon pollution for industry.