Kevin Sorenson Reports
The agriculture industry is taking hit after hit by China’s relentless retaliation and the Trudeau Liberals’ incompetent handling of this devasting situation. The Chinese government has now banned the imports of all Canadian meat, once again citing food safety concerns. In the last year, Canada exported almost $373 million worth of pork, beef and veal to China. Canadian farmers produce some of the highest quality meat in the world and any assertion by the Chinese government to the contrary is both false and baseless.
Canada has already lost Chinese market access for canola and soy. To date, Prime Minister Trudeau has failed to take decisive action and stand up to the Chinese government. At the time of writing this column, the Prime Minister was heading to the G20. Hopefully, he seized that opportunity to personally raise this issue with President Xi Jinping and demand that he removes these non-tariff trade barriers.
Alberta farmers were hit with the Notley Government’s carbon tax on January 1st, 2017 which drove up a myriad of farm input costs, such as fertilizer, pesticide and grain transportation. Fortunately, on April 1st, 2019, newly elected Premier Jason Kenney introduced the Carbon Tax Repeal Act. In the wake of that announcement, Federal Environment Minister, Catherine McKenna, said the Liberal government was working as quickly as possible to impose the federal tax on Alberta instead. The federal carbon tax came into effect on April 1st, 2019 in Manitoba, Ontario, New Brunswick and Saskatchewan in the absence of a provincially imposed tax.
The Agricultural Producers Association of Saskatchewan estimated the carbon tax will cost the provinces’ 20,000 grain producers about $60 million this year and double this
amount by 2022. The estimate is based on costs for: propane or natural gas for drying grain; railway transportation to move grain from delivery centres to export ports; trucking transportation to move grain from farm to grain elevator locations; delivery and heating of farm buildings; and electrical increases for farm operation.
Conservative Leader, Andrew Scheer, has vowed to repeal the federal carbon tax which he characterizes as a revenue plan, not an environment plan. Canadian families and small businesses will pay 92% of the carbon tax, while big polluters are only on the hook for 8%. If the Liberals are re-elected on October 21st, the carbon tax will go up. The Parliamentary Budget Officer recently revealed that the carbon tax would have to increase five-fold for Canada to reach its Paris targets. This would mean a litre of gas would increase by twenty-three cents and it would cost the average Canadian family more than $1,000 a year.
In place of the Liberal’s revenue plan, a Conservative government will introduce “A Real Plan to Protect Our Environment” based on three guiding principles: 1. Introducing green technology, not taxes is the best way to lower Canada’s emissions; 2. Working with farmers, hunters and anglers, Indigenous peoples, provinces and territories is the best way to promote a cleaner and greener natural environment to protect our air, land, water and wildlife; and 3. Canada taking a leadership role is necessary to fight climate change globally.
To learn more about our plan, you can visit: ARealPlan. ca.
If you have any questions or concerns regarding this or previous columns you may write me at 4945-50th Street, Camrose, Alberta, T4V 1P9, call 780-608-4600, toll-free 1-800-665-4358, fax 780-6084603 or e-mail Kevin.Soren[email protected]