The House of Commons has overwhelmingly passed a bill designed to make food cheaper and help farmers.
In fact, the House of Representatives passed the bill twice.
But after two years, the bill is still not law and this delay has cost families and farmers nearly $100 million.
What is slowing down the democratic will of our elected representatives?
The calculation is simple. The government gave farmers an exemption from carbon tax on diesel and gasoline. This helps farmers keep food prices low and compete globally. But the government has forgotten to exempt the propane and natural gas that farmers need to dry their grain and heat their barns.
So back in February 2022, Conservative MP Ben Lobb introduced Bill C-234 to fix the problem and extend the exemption to farmers’ natural gas and propane.
Bill C-234 would “reduce the financial burden that the carbon tax places on all necessary practices of farmers and ranchers, such as drying grain, irrigating crops, or heating and cooling livestock sheds,” it explains Deputy Chair John Barlow MP Parliament’s Agriculture Committee.
It may seem like a small change, but the carbon tax imposes big costs on farmers, even with the exemptions in place.
According to the Canadian Federation of Independent Business, the carbon tax cost Canadian farmers an average of $14,000 in 2019. Since then, Trudeau has increased his carbon tax every year. That means higher costs for farmers and higher food prices for Canadians.
The carbon tax on propane and natural gas will cost farmers $1 billion by 2030, according to the parliamentary budget officer.
Here’s the annoying part: the problem should already be fixed.
In March of this year, MPs passed Lobb’s Bill C-234 to eliminate the carbon tax on these agricultural fuels. Conservatives, New Democrats, the Bloc Quebecois, both members of the Green Party and some independents voted in favor of the bill. Liberals Kody Blois, Heath MacDonald and Robert Morrissey also voted in favor.
This law is supported by the majority in the House of Commons and MPs from all parties voted for it.
The bad news is that the bill has been stalled in the Senate ever since.
With their base salary of $169,600, perhaps senators aren’t too worried about the price of milk, hamburger meat or chicken? But many Canadians are.
In fact, six in ten respondents fear that their salary may not be enough to support their families.
Farmers work 20 hours a day to harvest the crops.
One would think that this might encourage the Senate to move this duly passed bill more quickly through the unelected upper chamber.
But the Senate doesn’t care. The bill was considered for second reading on June 13. Since then, the bill has been gathering dust in the Agriculture Committee chaired by Senator Robert Black.
The Senate Fisheries Committee felt it was important to meet during the summer recess to “study and report on Canada’s seal populations and their impact on Canada’s fisheries.” So why wasn’t Black willing to give up a few days of summer vacation to give farmers relief during the harvest?
This is not the first time the Senate has proposed a bill to eliminate the carbon tax on farms.
Conservative MP Philip Lawrence introduced the original version of Bill C-234 back in September 2020. On June 23, 2021, it passed through the lower house to the Senate. The Senate failed to pass it.
Canadians have now been waiting three years for legislation to repeal the carbon tax on agricultural fuels. The delay has already cost taxpayers nearly $100 million.
Canadians don’t expect much from senators. But is it too much to ask that they pass this bill?
Talk is cheap. Especially in Ottawa.
Don’t believe any politician or senator who claims they want to improve affordability unless they’re willing to do one simple thing: repeal their carbon taxes.
— Franco Terrazzano is the federal director of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation
https://torontosun.com/opinion/columnists/terrazzano-axe-the-tax-on-farms-and-food TERRAZZANO: Elimination of tax on farms and food