MEDICINE HAT - It’s no secret that the carbon tax imposed by the NDP is heavily impacting Alberta’s farmers and ranchers. Anyone reading this is likely more than familiar with the extra cost of filling up just to get into town, or the heightened costs that producers face in transporting products.
Now, the NDP is claiming that they are expanding agricultural efficiency programs to help farmers and ranchers “reduce their emissions and energy bills” following their latest 50 per cent carbon tax hike. However, this latest government effort to buy Albertans’ loyalty with their own money is a smoke and mirrors illusion. The announcement won’t go anywhere near off-setting the carbon tax’s impact on our farmers and ranchers.
The NDP claims that their scheme will provide $81 million over four years for the agriculture sector. The actual impact of the carbon tax is much, much higher than that and the government’s latest vague promise won’t off-set it.
A document obtained from the federal Department of Agriculture last year reveals that farmers in the West can expect to pay up to $3,705 after the national carbon tax is implemented at $50/tonne. With approximately 49,000 farms in Alberta, the carbon tax will cost Alberta farms upwards of $182 million each year – an expense that is clearly more than the government’s vague $20 million promise. Frankly speaking, with this latest announcement, the NDP is insulting the intelligence of Alberta’s farmers and ranchers.
The Trudeau Liberals are attempting to impose their own carbon tax on the provinces, and their allies in Alberta’s NDP are predictably cooperative. In fact, the NDP’s own Environment Minister said that “our carbon price increases will track with the federal legislation.” Once again, Alberta’s NDP is acting like a doormat for Ottawa, unwilling to speak up for rural Albertans.
While purple fuel remains exempt from the NDP’s carbon tax (for now), Alberta farmers and ranchers are well aware that this minor exemption has done little for the escalating costs resulting from this ideological tax. Readers are likely more than aware of the extra costs in heating and electricity.
The carbon tax imposed on Albertans is resulting in economic pain. Reports obtained from the federal Department of Agriculture reveal that despite the extra costs on farmers, they don’t expect the carbon tax to actually lower emissions in the farm sector, thereby negating the so-called environmental aim of the carbon tax.
Alberta has a proud history of farming and ranching, but the most recent Ag census showed 4,400 fewer farmers in Alberta than five years earlier. Alberta’s government does not need to be making it harder for farmers. Alberta’s farmers deserve a government that will stand up for them.
Drew Barnes, United Conservative MLA for Cypress-Medicine Hat
Rick Strankman, United Conservative MLA for Drumheller-Stettler
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