Ag Carbon Alliance calling for cross-party support for Bill C-234 at third reading

(Kara Oosterhuis/RealAgriculture)

The Agriculture Carbon Alliance is calling for MPs from all parties to vote in favour of Bill C-234 — the private member’s bill that would remove the federal carbon levy from natural gas and propane used on farms — as it’s headed for its third and final vote in the House of Commons later this month.

The bill, introduced by Ontario MP Ben Lobb, would amend the Greenhouse Gas Pollution Pricing Act to exempt natural gas and propane used on farms for necessary farm practices, such as irrigation, grain drying, feed preparation, and heating or cooling of barns and greenhouses, from the federal carbon tax.

Unless something major happens that requires MPs’ attention, the bill is on track to be voted on at third reading in the House of Commons on March 29th, says Dave Carey, co-chair of the Agriculture Carbon Alliance, in the interview below.

Conservative, NDP, Bloc, and Green MPs have supported C-234 in earlier votes, while agriculture committee chair Kody Blois was the only Liberal member who voted in favour at second reading.

The bill has since been amended at the committee stage to include an eight-year sunset clause, which means whoever is in government eight years after the bill takes effect would have to decide whether to cancel, amend, or continue the exemption.

“Our expectation going into the vote at third reading is that we still have the support of the Bloc, the NDP, the Conservatives, the Greens, and the one or two independent Members of Parliament. And we’re hoping that we’re able to convince a few other Liberals this is a worthwhile bill, that this is not a philosophical argument. This is just about why are we penalizing farmers and ranchers for doing what they do best, which is growing Canadian Canadian crops, raising livestock, feeding Canada and driving our exports. So we’re certainly hoping but we’re not taking anything for granted.”

The Ag Carbon Alliance launched a click-and-submit campaign this week to encourage farmers and others to contact their MPs to ensure they place a priority on supporting the bill.

“So farmers or ranchers or those like myself that that work in agriculture, you can just type in your address, and it’ll pop up and you can send a letter of support asking your Member of Parliament to vote in favor of Bill C-234. Again, we don’t want to take anything for granted,” he says.

If passed by MPs at third reading, the bill must still go through the Senate’s approval process before it could take effect. The timeline for Senate approval depends on several factors, but is often less predictable than in the House of Commons, notes Carey. At this point, MP Lobb has not publicly indicated who would be sponsoring the bill in the Senate.

The Ag Carbon Alliance includes 15 different national commodity organizations, including the following: Canadian Canola Growers Association, Canadian Federation of Agriculture, Canadian Cattle Association, Grain Growers of Canada, Canadian Pork Council, Chicken Farmers of Canada, Turkey Farmers of Canada, Fruit and Vegetable Growers of Canada, Canadian Hatching Egg Producers, Canadian Forage and Grassland Association, the National Sheep Network, the National Cattle Feeders’ Association, the Dairy Farmers of Canada, the Canadian Seed Growers’ Association, and Mushrooms Canada.

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