Liberals’ disdain for agriculture showcased in senators’ “let them eat cake” actions on C-234

The agricultural industry is immensely frustrated with the challenges Bill C-234 has faced in the senate, and for good reason.

As I have watched the shenanigans in the senate the past month, I have been searching for a word that describes the vibe of the situation as the supposed “independent” senators have allegedly taken marching orders from the PMO and the Minister of Environment. The word I have settled on is “disdain.”

Disdain is the feeling that someone or something is unworthy of one’s consideration or respect and is akin to contempt.

The whole point of the carbon tax is to encourage Canadians to choose less emission-intense options. For some agricultural practices, such as grain drying or barn heating, there are currently no alternatives to using propane or natural gas. New technologies are in development, but they are nowhere close to ready today, which is why C-234 included an eight-year sunset clause. In not recognizing this or acknowledging it, the Liberal brass are showing disdain for farmers across Canada.

But some of the senators go further. Senator Pierre Dalphond of Montreal has been a key player in obstructing this bill from advancing as it was approved in the House. Dalphond has tweeted that the Senate will not be “pawns on a chessboard.”

The irony is that currently, pawns are exactly what Dalphond and others have been for the prime minister and the Liberal cabinet in putting this cross-party-supported bill on life support.

In the middle of the shenanigans transpiring on C-234, Senator Dalphond managed to subtweet agriculture with his regurgitation of farm income numbers from StatsCan. He tweeted, “Good news for farmers! Statistics Canada indicates farmers’ cash receipts for the first 9 months of 2023 are up 7.9% ($5.3 billion) from last year. Leading the pack, Saskatchewan farmers with over 40% of the national increase.”

One can only read that as sarcasm… dripping with contempt, right?

In Dalphond’s “let them eat cake” moment, he is not only omitting the escalation in costs from the tweet, but has also lost sight of what the bill was actually supposed to do in the first place. Many critics of the carbon tax feel it is nothing more than a wealth transfer and Dalphond’s position seems to support that angle.

I will watch with interest if Senator Dalphond tweets these kind of numbers when C-282 is debated in the senate. I mean, why protect the dairy industry in trade deals when revenues are up, right Senator?

Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland patronized the industry this week as well with her “as a daughter of a farmer” line while talking about the importance of the industry and that farmers are on the frontlines of climate change.

Ministers Freeland’s words echo what we’ve heard repeatedly from Agriculture Minister Lawrence MacAulay. Parts of what they say are true, but without a doubt, farmers do not support the carbon tax and especially not on propane and natural gas when there is no substitute fuel.

There are no wind-powered grain dryers or solar-powered hog barns in 2024. Contrary to what a senator from Vancouver suggested in the Senate, a heat pump can not keep a flock of day-old chicks warm enough on a winter day.

By conflating “farmers support climate action” with “farmers support the carbon tax,” Ministers Freeland and MacAulay, as well as some senators, make it sound like farmers are willing participants.

It seems the anti-farming sentiment of the Liberals is “don’t grow corn, don’t produce mushrooms, don’t heat your chicken barn” — oh, and, by the way, farmers have money, so they should just pay in the name of climate change. If that isn’t true disdain for agriculture and its realities, I don’t know what is.

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