Whether he meant to say it or not, the federal agriculture minister is drawing criticism for a comment he made to the Senate on Tuesday regarding how farmers view the federal carbon tax.
Responding to a question from Senator Carolyn Stewart Olsen about the impact of the carbon tax on farmers in New Brunswick, Lawrence MacAulay told the Senate that a majority of Canadian farmers support the government’s actions.
“I have to reiterate that farmers are caretakers of the lands and waters, and you would find that most farmers support the moves we have made to make sure that we put a tax on carbon. That is vitally important, and that is going to happen. Farmers fully support it for the reasons that I’ve just indicated…,” said the minister. (Emphasis ours.)
MacAulay’s office tells RealAgriculture the minister meant to say “that farmers understand the importance of environmental sustainability and are wonderful stewards of the land.”
Conservative Senator Denise Batters immediately shared MacAulay’s comment on Twitter, which drew a sharp response from farmers saying they do not support the carbon tax plan.
MacAulay also responded to questions from Senators regarding the government’s new transportation legislation (C-49), Italy’s country-of-origin labeling rules on durum, funding for the Canadian Food Inspection Agency and other ag-related topics.
Listen to MacAulay’s responses to carbon tax questions in the Senate below (above quote can be heard at around 4:10.) Read the transcript of his appearance during the Senate’s Question Period here.