Private member's bill would lift carbon tax on fuel used for farm heating and grain drying

A Conservative Member of Parliament from southern Ontario tabled legislation in the House of Commons on Tuesday that would remove the carbon tax from fuels used for drying grain and heating on farms.

The private member’s bill, which would amend the Greenhouse Gas Pollution Pricing Act, was introduced by Philip Lawrence, MP for Northumberland—Peterborough South.

“In recent years, farmers have faced unpredictable weather conditions, trade disruptions and global pricing instability, and to add insult to injury, the Liberal carbon tax is cutting farmers’ net income by over 12 percent,” said Lawrence, referencing an estimate from the Agricultural Producers Association of Saskatchewan.

Private member’s bills are rarely passed, but it’s possible opposition parties could unite to approve the legislation with a minority government.

Grain Growers of Canada chair and Alberta farmer Jeff Nielsen spoke in support of the private member’s bill, alongside Lawrence and Conservative Ag Critic John Barlow in Ottawa.

“We have received broad support from opposition parties calling for immediate relief from the carbon tax for farmers after the disaster that was last year’s harvest,” said Nielsen. “We now need our federal government to step up.”

Along with exempting all fuel used for farming operations, Grain Growers is lobbying the federal government to directly reimburse farmers for carbon taxes paid on fuel used to dry the 2019 crop.

The group has launched a website — harvestfromhell.ca — as a platform for farmers to share info on carbon tax costs with government officials.

Keystone Agricultural Producers in Manitoba also applauded Lawrence’s private member’s bill.

“We’re glad to see concrete steps at the federal level that respond to the very clear message that all farmers have been sending,” said KAP in a statement. “Farmers should be exempt from paying the additional charge on fuel used for drying grain and heating and cooling barns as they are requirements of their operations, and farmers generally don’t have access to economical alternative sources of energy. We are hopeful that the Liberal government will show their support for farmers by passing this bill.”

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