Senators need to stop playing games on carbon tax relief for farmers

Author: Gage Haubrich 2023/11/21

The carbon tax increases costs for farmers. Farmers need relief, but the Senate’s in the way.

The carbon tax makes it harder for farmers to make ends meet and it makes the food you pickup at the grocery store more expensive.

Simple, right? The Senate doesn’t seem to think so.

The so-called chamber of sober second thought seems to have downed a few too many barley beverages without appreciating where that barley comes from.

Bill C-234, a bill that would give farmers that much needed carbon tax relief, currently sits in front of the Senate. That’s the last step before it becomes law.

The bill would remove Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s carbon tax from propane and natural gas used on farms. Farmers are already exempt from the carbon tax on gas and diesel and this bill simply extends the exemption to other fuels that farmers use.

Farmers use natural gas and propane to dry grain and heat barns and the carbon tax on these fuels can cost them thousands of dollars per month. Chicken farmers have to keep their barns above 30 degrees to keep their flocks alive. That gets expensive during cold Canadian winters.

Winter is right around the corner and farmers are still waiting on relief because the Senate is failing to get this bill across the finish line.

According to the Parliamentary Budget Officer, passing the bill would save farmers almost $1 billion by 2030.

This isn’t the first time a bill like this has been stuck in the upper chamber.

A similar bill was passed by the House of Commons in 2020, but it died in the Senate in 2021. This latest bill was introduced in 2022 and passed through the house in March 2023. It passed the house with votes from members of Parliament of all parties, including some Liberals.

Since then, it has been sitting in the Senate. That’s where the latest round of shenanigans begins.

First, while debating the bill in the agriculture committee, Senator Pierre Dalphond, a senator from urban Quebec, introduced an amendment that would remove the exemption for fuel used to heat barns. This was an attempt to water down the bill and delay it.

Thankfully, senators rejected this amendment when the bill went back to the chamber.

But now senators are playing games again.

Senator Lucie Moncion, from urban Ontario, recently introduced an amendment to make it harder to extend the exemption for farmers in the future. A similar amendment was already defeated in the Senate committee.

It’s clear that this senator isn’t looking to improve the bill, but is only trying to keep it from passing.

Every amendment that gets introduced needs to be debated and voted on. That delays the bill further every time it happens. Maybe senators, with their six-figure salaries, can afford to wait for lower costs and more affordable groceries, but farmers and Canadians certainly can’t.

Everyone knows that passing this bill is the right thing to do. The premiers of Saskatchewan, Alberta, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Ontario have all sent letters to their province’s senators, urging them to pass the bill. Opposition Leader Pierre Poilievre has also called for it to be passed as soon as possible.

The Agriculture Carbon Alliance is a national coalition of 15 farm associations and it called on all Senators to “show their support for farmers by ensuring Bill C-234’s swift passage into law.”

Environment Minister Steven Guilbeault accused Poilievre of lacking “moral decency” by pushing for the swift passage of Bill C-234. But Guilbeault also admitted to calling senators to tell them that he does not support this bill.

The Senate is now back in session and its time for senators to stop playing games. If our esteemed unelected senators had any moral decency, they would pass this bill, so farmers can start saving on their operations and the rest of us can start saving on our grocery bill. 

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

Franco Terrazzano
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.