RealAg LIVE! with Todd Lewis and Marla Orenstein on what's next for the carbon tax


The federal government has the right to impose a national price on pollution, says the Supreme Court of Canada. That means the government can set the standard by which the provinces deliver carbon pricing.

Several provinces and producer groups disagreed with the carbon pricing scheme — and still do, in principle — but with this ruling will have to move forward with the carbon tax as a reality. What happens now?

To delve in to that, RealAg LIVE! host Shaun Haney is joined by Todd Lewis of Agricultural Producers Association of Saskatchewan, and Marla Orenstein with the Canada West Foundation.

Check out a new RealAg LIVE! Q&A every weekday at 3 pm E on our social media livestream!

  • Supreme Court ruling on right to a carbon tax: was it a surprise? No
  • Marla wasn’t, but was surprised by some of the strong opinions and the why
  • Todd knew it was an uphill battle
  • It wasn’t about is it the right approach or the best approach, it was about does the government has the RIGHT to impose a carbon tax
  • Offers certainty to that this is going to happen. So, now, we can make choices based on it being a reality
  • Is the federal government using it as a proof of concept? Of course they do
  • How does a farm group pivot now? Todd: carbon credits, how will we treat carbon sequestration (retro active?), even if it will be difficult
  • Similar to health care, there’s a minimum level of “service”
  • Each province is likely going to end up doing its own thing — to a certain system
  • Feds are collecting and returning to people in the provinces where they don’t have their own system in place
  • Is ten or 12 different programs really the best idea? It’s what we’re going to have
  • Rebates and exemptions: Todd prefers exemptions to rebates
  • What’s the reasoning for rebates vs. exemptions? A lot goes into it
  • The importance of the ag sector has been reinforced to the public
  • Does all this impact investments into different industries? Do funds flow in?
  • Well, oil and gas industries get to pass costs on, farmers do not, Todd says
  • The consumer is going to pay on end products, and processors will pay on
  • It becomes a competition factor on trade, too
  • This is where carbon tariffs come in…oh boy
  • Canada may end up in a good spot with the U.S. on this, however
  • Questions! Carbon Alliance, does APAS keep going? Yes, moves forward.
  • Direct to consumer payouts …how does this change your behaviour? You’re in charge of your own margin
  • The payout happens regardless, so how much you spend on fuel, etc., eats into that, Marla says
  • Agriculture is part of the solution, not the problem
  • And spending money to pay the tax eats in to money you could use to improve efficiency
  • There are opportunities for partial wins for ag: biofuels (gas and diesel), offsets, renewable diesel

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