The Manitoba Farmers’ Plan on Carbon Taxation

Siemens Says –  Farmers at a meeting in Winkler, MB Friday morning became aware there are not many options when it comes to dealing with a mandatory carbon tax that Premier Minister Justin Trudeau will implement in 2018. 

On October 3, 2016,  Trudeau took provinces by surprise by announcing they have until 2018 to adopt a carbon pricing scheme, or the federal government will step in and impose a price on them.

Since then eight provinces have signed on in some form or other, but two provinces have not but are looking at it from different perspectives. Premier Brad Wall of Saskatchewan has said a flat no to the feds implementing a carbon tax in his province and is prepared to fight it in court.

The federal government is putting a price on carbon and wants each province to design their own system to get this national price. The Manitoba PC government has committed to developing a ‘made-in-Manitoba’ carbon pricing system.

A paper put out by the Manitoba farmers organizing a series of meetings to make farmers aware of what is actually going on with this carbon tax and distributed at the Winkler meeting says it is a certainty that the carbon tax will happen in Manitoba. But there are still many design options on the table.

A poorly designed carbon price could really increase costs for farmers – However, a well-designed carbon price could help farmers be part of the solution to benefit the environment.

“In my opinion current public policy is gonna get forced on us regardless if we like it or not, and with that premise I can support this plan,” says Eldon Klippenstein a farmer from the Altona area referring to the plan laid out by the Manitoba Farmers at the Winkler meetings and two previous ones and more to come.  “As a Manitoba farmer I don’t like the carbon tax idea, but I do support Gerry Demare and the  Manitoba farmers plan on carbon taxation.”

Denmark and other Manitoba farmers have presented the Manitoba Farmers’ Plan on Carbon Taxation to the Government of Manitoba and KAP, for the Benefit of the Environment.

Here is what so many farmers think of this whole scenario as expressed by Daryl Devos of Somerset – The first choice is no carbon tax for anyone. Second choice the Gerry Demare plan, or the plan that he calls the Manitoba Farmers’ plan.

“We propose a carbon tax on all inputs such as; diesel fuel, purple gas, natural gas, propane, fertilizer, chemicals, freight and transportation costs off the farm. These taxes paid will appear as a line item for invoicing purposes,” said Gerry Demare, who is spearheading this group with other farmers. “Carbon Taxation on the manufacturing of farm equipment and/or in the processing of farm produce or goods, within Manitoba will be 0 rated at the time of purchase or delivery.

Next, he moved on to direct emissions

“No exemption on direct farm emissions which are emissions from the use of fossil fuels, applying fertilizer, as well as methane from livestock. The carbon taxes on direct emissions are dealt with now, and in consultation with us to determine the correct tax levels associated with these emissions. Our view is if direct emissions were exempted now, the government would impose a tax on them at a later date.”

The agricultural producers pay the tax.

The Manitoba Farmers’ Plan on Carbon Taxation’s plan says due to the fact that building a stable and strong society relies on farms supplying food which is safe, reliable, abundant, and cheap, and with the use of 4R’s in fertilizer use (right rate of fertilizer, right time of application, right place and right source), and other things, producers have the right to perpetually and on an annual basis apply and receive a total refund on the costs of the carbon taxes they paid in that year, (or reporting period), just like GST.

“We pay the tax, it’s got to be shown as a line item on all our invoicing, and we apply for it back like a GST,” said Odiel Sanders, another Somerset area farmer. “It is that simple. Farmers are waking up to what this can really cost, whether $2 an acre or $50 it is too much.”

Sanders recognizes like I do, while that taking one dollar from his pocket and giving it back to me, robbing Odile to pay Harry will not fix the environment. However, slapping a carbon tax on the farmer of maybe $40 to $50 dollars makes us uncompetitive. For every carbon tax dollar going out, there needs to be a credit coming back. I agree with him and the Manitoba Farmers’ Plan on Carbon Taxation being Provided to the Government of Manitoba and KAP, for the Benefit of the Environment and the farmers who produce the food we all enjoy, and many people around the world.