Some Canadian farmers will have to pay upwards of $136,000 a year by 2030 should the Liberal government continue to raise the carbon tax.
Western Canadian Wheat Growers president Gunter Jochum told the House of Commons agriculture committee on Nov. 2 that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s carbon tax and fertilizer emissions reduction scheme will hurt the viability of Canada’s farming industry.
“The government wants to increase the [carbon] tax, which would cost my farm a whopping $136,000 per year by 2030. This will jeopardize the viability and sustainability of my farm,” Jochum told parliamentarians.
With support from the NDP, the Liberal government raised the carbon tax on Canadians by 25% to $50 per tonne this year despite an imminent recession. By 2030, the Liberals hope to raise the carbon tax to $170 per tonne.
On Trudeau’s 30% fertilizer reduction target first announced in 2020, Jochum explained that while a reduction up to 15% was possible using existing efficiency methods, the remaining cut would have to come from reduced fertilizer use.
“The government has stated that it’s a voluntary goal. However, they have also said that not meeting this target is not an option. Various scientists have stated that achieving this goal utilizing efficiency methods currently available to farmers will not be possible. At best, a 14% to 15% reduction may be possible. The other 15% to 16% will have to come from reduced fertilizer use,” said Jochum.
“Will the proposed emission cut reduce greenhouse gases? Maybe in Canada, but internationally, it will only work out to approximately 0.0028% of total greenhouse gases. Is this even worth it?”
President of the Saskatchewan Association of Rural Municipalities (SARM) Raymond Orb also told the committee that farmers would have to go into debt in order to acquire the technology necessary to achieve the policy goal.
“I think right now the whole point is that farmers broadly don’t have that technology available. It’s very expensive. To ask us farmers to take on more debt because of a federal government policy that tells us, on the one hand, that we need to produce more food, and then we’re told we need to reduce our emissions,” said Orb.
“We’re not sure how we can do that with the adaptation and the equipment that we have on our farms now. That’s a concern we have.”
SARM recently raised a motion to lobby Ottawa to reconsider it’s fertilizer emission plan citing “detrimental effects” to Canada’s food production ability.
“The Federal Government is planning to reduce fertilizer emissions by 30% by 2030 for Canadian agri-businesses,” the motion reads.
“Saskatchewan is an agriculturally based province, and such a reduction will have a major impact on food production and farm viability.”
The government of Saskatchewan has also taken measures to avoid federal meddling when it comes to agriculture policies by introducing the Saskatchewan First Act. According to the province’s Justice Minister Bronwyn Eyre, her government is concerned about “possible mandates” when it comes to fertilizer use.