A wave of frustration is sweeping through the agricultural industry as partisan politics is interfering with the Senate’s passage of a crucial bill that promises relief from the carbon tax on specific farm expenditures.
The legislation in question, Bill C-234, made its debut in February 2020, courtesy of Conservative MP Philip Lawrence.
Despite being opposed by the minority Liberal government, the bill successfully navigated the House of Commons in March 2021 with support from all opposition parties. However, its progress hit an impasse in the Senate, due to “Independent” Senator Bernadette Clement’s motion to adjourn the debate on the bill last week, just as it was poised for its third and final reading.
The adjournment motion secured backing from 29 senators, with 24 opposing it and 37 abstaining. The Senate’s hiatus until Nov. 21 compounds the frustration for farmers eagerly awaiting relief.
“It really feels like they don’t care about Canadian farmers. When some senators use these childish procedural methods to stall this bill, it really feels like a slap in the face,” Wheat Growers Association chair and farmer Daryl Fransoo told Farms.com.
C-234 carries the promise of exempting farmers from the carbon tax levied on natural gas and propane utilized in critical farm operations such as grain drying and the climate control of agricultural buildings.
According to the Parliamentary Budget Officer’s report, this exemption could translate to savings nearing $1 billion for farmers by the year 2030.
Farmers argue that the carbon tax is both unjust and burdensome, asserting that they lack viable alternative energy sources for indispensable work.
They contend that despite actively contributing to reducing greenhouse gas emissions and enhancing environmental sustainability, their efforts remain unacknowledged and unrewarded.
Jumping on the issue, the Conservatives are rallying support from rural Canadians, exerting pressure on the Liberal government and senators to expedite the bill’s passage.
Conservative leader Pierre Poilievre announced on Nov. 13 the launch of a campaign aimed at raising awareness about the bill. He implored Canadians to reach out to their Liberal MPs and senators to demand the bill’s passage.