SSGA Wor­ried About Im­pact of Fed­eral Car­bon Back­stop

The Southwest Booster - - OPINION -

The Saskatchewan Stock Grow­ers As­so­ci­a­tion is con­cerned about the im­pact that the fed­eral car­bon pric­ing sys­tem be­ing im­posed on Saskatchewan will have on the prov­ince’s beef pro­duc­ers.

On Oc­to­ber 23, the fed­eral govern­ment an­nounced it will be ap­ply­ing its fed­eral car­bon pric­ing sys­tem to Saskatchewan as well as to Man­i­toba, On­tario and New Brunswick in 2019. The car­bon pol­icy will add a tax to fos­sil fuel pro­duc­tion and dis­tri­bu­tion and for in­dus­trial emit­ters. The fed­eral govern­ment also an­nounced that farm­ers will re­ceive an ex­emp­tion for on-farm use of fuel for farm ma­chin­ery and ru­ral res­i­dents would re­ceive a sup­ple­ment. Nev­er­the­less, the SSGA re­mains un­con­vinced that a car­bon pric­ing pol­icy would make any mean­ing­ful re­duc­tion in global green­house gas emis­sions look­ing at the ex­pe­ri­ence of other prov­inces and coun­tries be­cause it is eco­nom­i­cally in­ef­fi­cient.

“De­spite th­ese re­bates and ex­emp­tions, pro­duc­ers will still be fac­ing higher costs to run their op­er­a­tions,” SSGA Pres­i­dent Bill Hu­ber stated.

In ad­di­tion to fuel, pro­duc­ers use goods and ser­vices like feed and in­puts from other sec­tors which are ex­pected to pass down their added ex­penses onto cat­tle pro­duc­ers. Get­ting Saskatchewan cat­tle to do­mes­tic and world mar­kets will also be­come more ex­pen­sive be­cause there are few fuel-ef­fi­cient trans­port op­tions. As a re­sult, Cana­dian beef, which is pro­duced sus­tain­ably, ef­fi­ciently and with one of the small­est car­bon foot­prints in the world, will be­come less com­pet­i­tive in the global mar­ket.

“Beef pro­duc­ers will have to ab­sorb th­ese ex­tra ex­penses into their op­er­a­tions which cuts into their bot­tom line. Th­ese ad­di­tional costs can not be passed down the value chain,” he added.

The SSGA sup­ports the Saskatchewan Govern­ment’s court chal­lenge of the car­bon tax and the pro­vin­cial Cli­mate Change Strat­egy which rec­og­nizes the car­bon se­ques­tra­tion ca­pa­bil­i­ties of the prov­ince’s grass­lands and pas­tures.

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