Portage-Lisgar MP Branden Leslie has been involved in work with Private Member's Bill C-234 in cooperation with Grain Growers of Canada. He explains it's intended to exempt farmers from the carbon tax when they heat or cool their barns or dry their grain.
He explains a Conservative MP was required to sponsor the Bill which passed through the House of Commons with the support of the Conservatives, NDP, Bloc Québécois, Greens and even a couple Liberals, and the Senate.
"The so-called Independent Senate is pulling all sorts of shenanigans right now and preventing what has democratically passed through the House of Commons from passing," says Leslie. "The Liberal government is putting forward all sorts of pressure on senators, having ministers call them and tell them not to pass this legislation, seeing as the timing of it is bad optically, because of the recent carve-out for home heating oil for certain people in certain parts of the country, namely, Atlantic Canada."
He says there's a real political concern that further reductions or easing of the carbon tax is going to look bad, politically. However, Leslie notes, this is a billion dollars in farmers' pockets over the next seven years if Bill C-234 passes.
"So, we are at a full-court press to force the Senators to do the right thing and pass this legislation that's already went through the elected Members House of Commons," continues Leslie. "It's good for Canadians in the sense that it's going to ensure that our food prices can stop increasing so rapidly. It's good for our rural communities to ensure farmers have the money left in their pockets, so they can reinvest to make sure that they are sustainable, both financially and environmentally. And so, it is vital that the senators stop obfuscating this legislation. Let it pass. Let farmers do the work that they do best."
Leslie notes Trudeau has been stressing that no more carve-outs will occur with the carbon tax, and it's specifically in reference to Bill C-234 that he's making these statements.
"The reason that he's made this very clear is his Environment Minister has said he would, basically, resign if there are any more carve-outs," adds Leslie. "The reason we believe is that they are using any tool at their disposal to have the senators delay or even halt this legislation, and there are tools that they can use that could force it back to the House of Commons, which would, essentially, kill the Bill. So, we are at the 2-yard line here. We are in the red zone. We are at third-reading; one final vote. Senators have already voted to remove the amendments that Liberal senators tried to pass at the Committee stage. They voted to remove that, but now we need them to vote for the third and final time, and bring this into law, so that farmers can have a break on the carbon tax when they heat or cool their barns, or dry their grain, as we increasingly see corn being grown around here."
He explains grain drying is a part of this process and there are simply no viable alternatives other than propane or natural gas, for a grain dryer to operate. Leslie says this is pushing the farmers away from something that they have no choice but to do.
"I implore senators to do the right thing and pass this legislation immediately," adds Leslie.
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