A break for farmers is the first step in scrapping Ottawa’s carbon tax

Author: Gage Haubrich 2024/02/19

Those huge four-legged Imperial walkers stomping into the rebel base in Empire Strikes Back looked unstoppable.

Until they weren’t and toppled over.

That’s what fighting Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s carbon tax feels like sometimes, but we have a moment right now recreate that Star Wars scene and trip up the carbon tax.

Getting politicians in the House of Commons to reject the Senate’s watered-down amendments and pass Bill C-234 is a real way to strike back against the carbon tax and get farmers relief.

This bill will provide a break to farmers who need it and it will tie up another leg of the carbon tax machine. Every time that happens, the carbon tax gets wobblier and wobblier, until it crashes down completely.

Bill C-234 is a bill that would remove the federal carbon tax from natural gas and propane used on farms. Farmers use these fuels to dry grain and heat barns and other buildings.

Farmers already have an exemption from the carbon tax for the gasoline and diesel they use on their farms. The government proactively included that exemption because it’s unfair for Canadians farmers to pay a carbon tax when they’re competing against farmers from the United States to Australia who don’t pay a carbon tax. This legislation simply extends the exemption to other fuels Canadian farmers use.

The bill originally passed the House in March 2023, where it got unanimous support from the Bloc, NDP, Greens and Conservatives. Even three Liberal MPs voted for it. Then the bill got sent up to the Senate.

In the Senate, unelected six-figure-salary-earning senators decided it was their job to fiddle with the bill and water down the relief for farmers. The red chamber decided to amend the bill and remove the exemption for the heating of barns and other buildings and end the relief after three years. That’s a huge blow to affordability on farms. These amendments will cost farmers $910 million over the next eight years, according to the Parliamentary Budget Officer.

Now that C-234 is back in the House, Members of Parliament need to reject the nonsense amendments from the Senate and just pass the bill in its original form.

Because getting the original bill made law means big savings for farmers.

Take the example of a mid-sized chicken farm in Saskatchewan. To keep the chickens alive, the farmer needs to heat the barns to above 30 degrees the entire year-round. Imagine doing that in January with the temperature plunging below minus 40.

In 2023, this chicken farmer paid $23,000 in natural gas heating bills. Of that bill, about a third, or $7,500 is just carbon tax and GST on the carbon tax.

Farmers don’t have any other choice to heat their barns. They live in rural areas where the only available and reliable heat source is typically natural gas. They usually can’t just switch to another way to heat their barns, and if they have the option, it can’t be done without a massive upfront cost. That’s a massive upfront cost that they can’t afford, in part, because of all the money they waste paying the carbon tax.

If the House does not reject the amendments and passes the bill as mangled by the Senate, our chicken farmer gets zero relief and must continue to pay that $7,500 carbon tax bill. That carbon tax bill will increase as the federal government plans to jack it up every year until 2030.

The bill was originally introduced in the House over two years ago and farmers have been waiting for relief ever since. MPs can’t forget about it and have all that time go to waste.

MPs of all parties need to put this bill front and center and reject the Senate’s amendment to get farmers tax relief. And it will trip up the carbon tax along the way.

A Note for our Readers:

Is Canada Off Track?

Canada has problems. You see them at gas station. You see them at the grocery store. You see them on your taxes.

Is anyone listening to you to find out where you think Canada’s off track and what you think we could do to make things better?

You can tell us what you think by filling out the survey

Join now to get the Taxpayer newsletter

You deserve to know the real story about what happens to your tax dollars. We expose funny and infuriating stories about governments wasting money on stupid things. And we hold politicians accountable because taxpayers deserve transparency.

Looks good!
Please enter a valid email address

We take data security and privacy seriously. Your information will be kept safe.

Join now to get the Taxpayer newsletter

Franco Terrezano
Federal Director at
Canadian Taxpayers

Join now to get the Taxpayer newsletter

Hey, it’s Franco.

Did you know that you can get the inside scoop right from my notebook each week? I’ll share hilarious and infuriating stories the media usually misses with you every week so you can hold politicians accountable.

You can sign up for the Taxpayer Update Newsletter now

Looks good!
Please enter a valid email address

We take data security and privacy seriously. Your information will be kept safe.