Oct. 26, 2023 [Regina, SK] - The Agricultural Producers Association of Saskatchewan (APAS) urgently appeals to the Honourable Senators of Canada to rectify the recent amendment to Bill C-234, "An Act to amend the Greenhouse Gas Pollution Pricing Act." This call comes in the wake of the Senate Standing Committee on Agriculture and Forestry's review, which took place on October 24, 2023, leading to an amendment that significantly altered the original intent of the bill.
The amendment, which removed barn heating and cooling fuel from the list of exempted farm activities, poses a critical challenge to the agricultural sector. APAS passionately implores all Senators to reject this amendment and reinstate the bill in its original form, allowing it to proceed to the third reading.
“This Bill is intended to correct the oversight when carbon pricing was introduced,” stated Ian Boxall, APAS President. “The amendment suggests that some farms are less important in our industry, in their contribution to our food security, and in helping to address rising food prices. No farm should be left behind.”
Canada's agricultural sector serves as a cornerstone of the nation's economic growth. While striving to transition to a greener economy, penalizing this essential industry is counterproductive. The financial measures outlined in Bill C-234 underscore the agricultural economy's fundamental role in ensuring Canada's long-term prosperity.
Barn heating, especially within the rigorous conditions of Saskatchewan's winters, is vital to maintaining animal health. With alternative heating technologies not yet commercially viable, imposing a carbon price on heating fuel only increases costs for operators and consumers without achieving meaningful emissions reductions.
APAS urges Senators to rally behind the original Bill to put an end to persistent delays and stand alongside the dedicated farm families committed to food production and responsible land stewardship. By exempting barn heating, the Bill promotes a balanced approach that respects the unique needs of the agricultural sector.
Effective environmental policy should strike a harmonious balance between emissions reduction and support for essential industries. The concerns regarding greenhouse gas emissions must be weighed against the broader social, economic, and environmental impacts of specific regulations. In the case of Bill C-234, maintaining the exemption for barn heating stands as a rational policy decision that accommodates the agricultural industry's distinctive requirements.