Prime Minister Justin Trudeau took the provinces by surprise Oct. 3 by announcing they have until 2018 to adopt a carbon pricing scheme, or the federal government will step in and impose a price.
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 Manitoba farmers organizing a series of awareness meetings 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. On the other hand, a well-designed price could help farmers be part of the solution to benefit the environment.
“In my opinion, current public policy is going to get forced on us regardless of whether we like it or not. 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.
“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.”
Demare and other Manitoba farmers have presented the ‘Manitoba Farmers’ Plan on Carbon Taxation’ to the government of Manitoba and KAP.
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 Demare, who is spearheading this group.
“Carbon taxation on the manufacturing of farm equipment and/or in the processing of farm produce or goods, within Manitoba will be zerorated 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 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 4Rs in fertilizer use, 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 Somersetarea farmer.