December 21, 2020
Today KAP called on Minister Bibeau to support Canadian farmers and stand up to her government’s recently announced carbon tax increase.
“Putting in place an exemption for fuel used for drying grain and heating and cooling barns, just like the one in place for greenhouses, is a start,” said KAP president Bill Campbell. “We also need recognition that carbon tax costs are embedded in every aspect of the food supply chain, from inputs to production to marketing, and the proposed tax increase will put unnecessary pressure on farmers and consumers.”
“What is also missing from this announcement is recognition of the climate benefits that farmers provide every day, including carbon storage and green house gas mitigation,” said Campbell.
The National Inventory Report (NIR) is a means of accounting for emissions and reductions but does not include land use, land use changes, and forestry in agriculture’s emissions totals which could make them lower. Farmers manage nutrients on the landscape through nutrient stewardship practices, abiding by nutrient management regulations, and using enhanced efficiency fertilizer (at a higher cost), that they are not getting credit for in the NIR.
“The fact is that farmers store carbon short term in their products and long term in their soil, and thanks to good management practices and new technology, emissions intensity in agriculture has improved year after year,” Campbell said.
The carbon tax issue is an important one for Manitoba farmers and generates much heated discussion, and KAP had been making progress.
In February 2020, KAP met with a number of federal officials to talk about the carbon tax, including MP Philip Lawrence who tabled a Private Members Bill, An Act to amend the Greenhouse Gas Pollution Pricing Act (qualifying farming fuel). “We were glad to see concrete steps at the federal level that respond to the very clear message that all farmers have been sending. We see cross-party support for this bill and we are hopeful that the Liberal government will show their support for farmers by passing this bill.”
In July 2020, KAP communicated with Minister Bibeau to provide data on the impact of the carbon tax on farmers, including one situation where the carbon tax added 22% to a chicken producer’s natural gas bill in the first year of the tax. That impact will only worsen as the tax increases, and even more so under the latest announcement.
On March 5, 2020, the Manitoba Government announced a green levy for July 1 in conjunction with a 1% drop in Manitoba’s PST, which would have exempted fuel for grain drying and barns. Due to COVID 19 the government later announced the green levy would be deferred, and the federal backstop would remain in place.
“We need to see these efforts come to fruition and for the provincial and federal governments to figure out solutions that better support farmers as climate stewards,” Campbell said.
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For more information contact:
Keystone Agricultural Producers