(Ottawa, Ontario) March 11, 2020 – Upon news that Senator Diane Griffin has brought forward Senate Public Bill S-215 for debate, the Grain Growers of Canada (GGC) are calling on all Senators to support the bill which would exempt natural gas and propane from the carbon tax.
“We are very pleased that Sen. Griffin has brought forward this legislation so early in the parliamentary session,” said GGC chair Jeff Nielsen. “This bill lessens the burden of the carbon tax on our farmer members ahead of a crucial spring seeding season.”
On behalf of Canada’s grain farmers, GGC implores Senators to demonstrate unanimous support of Bill S-215 in the Upper Chamber and quickly advance this legislation forward to Committee.
“We must work collaboratively so that farmers are recognized for their environmental stewardship and to achieve the government’s twin goals of mitigating climate change and increasing the agri-food sector’s competitiveness,” explained Sen. Griffin.
In Sen. Griffin’s speech, she indicated that farmers are unable to mitigate costs of the carbon tax through direct action – as critical measures like drying grain are not a “discretionary fuel use.” She also reiterated the importance of maintaining agriculture’s competitiveness in order to meet the federal government’s states goal of $85 billion in agri-food exports by 2025.
“Senator Griffin articulated very well just why the carbon tax is simply not workable for farmers, and why these broader exemptions for fuel used to dry our grain is so important right now,” added Nielsen. “After the 2019 ‘Harvest from Hell,’ paying additional taxes to dry grain that would otherwise rot in the bin or be sold at a steep discount just adds insult to injury. There are simply no alternatives to fossil fuels to dry our grain and those costs are coming at a time that farmers can afford it least.”
The Senate Bill S-215 is similar in nature to Bill C-206, tabled by MP Philip Lawrence, which is expected to be debated in the House of Commons in the coming weeks. GGC is supportive of both pieces of legislation and hopeful that either will be passed into law in advance of the 2020 harvest to ensure the taxes are not applied to the cost of grain drying this fall.
“Given the clear desire for this legislative change in both Chambers and across Party lines, our hope is that the federal government would include broader exemptions for all fuels used in farming operations in the Budget Implementation Act – once tabled,” said Nielsen. “This is not about politics. This is about the sustainability of the family farm in Canada.”
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Grain Growers of Canada provides a strong national voice for over 65,000 active and successful grain, oilseed and pulse producers through its 15 provincial, regional and national grower groups. Our mission and mandate are to pursue a policy environment that maximizes global competitiveness and to influence federal policy on behalf of independent Canadian grain farmers and their associations.