OTTAWA — A Trudeau government cabinet minister has defended the rising federal carbon tax by highlighting the impact of Hurricane Fiona on farmers in his Nova Scotia riding, even while brushing off farmer complaints brought forward by Conservative MPs.
In the House of Commons on Feb. 6, Sean Fraser (LIB – Central Nova), minister of immigration, refugees and citizenship, dismissed official opposition calls to ax the tax and drew a direct line between the Trudeau government levy and the September 2022 hurricane.
Fraser invited MPs to “see the silos hurricane Fiona tore apart and talk to the farmers who lost hundreds of thousands of dollars in their crops.”
Fraser was responding in part to Conservative agriculture critic John Barlow (CON – Foothills), who decried the carbon-tax burden on farmers — set to hit $150,000 a year on a 5,000-acre farm by the time all carbon tax increases take effect in 2030. Barlow pointed out that a national mental health survey found that farmers’ “biggest source of stress and anxiety, for the first time … was not commodity prices, and it was not the weather. The biggest threat to the family farm operations of Canadian farmers is Liberal government policy.”
Canada contributes just 2 % of global greenhouse emissions, with Canadian agriculture accounting for 0.2 %.
The carbon tax will increase again on April 1st, rising from $50 to $65 per tonne. For gasoline, this means the carbon tax will increase from the current 11.05 cents per litre to 14.31 cents, according to the Canadian Taxpayers Federation. And the hit at the pumps is slated to take another jump in July when a “second carbon tax” comes into effect and adds up to 13 cents more per litre, according to the Federation.
Meanwhile, farmers have some hope that a private member’s bill to exempt farm grain-drying and barn-heating fuel from the carbon tax will pass a final vote in the House of Commons later this month. Bill C-234 won’t become law, however, until it undergoes three more votes in the Senate.