Farmers, politicians want pause on carbon tax increase

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Heather Wright/The Independent

As the price of gas climbed three cents a litre April 1, farmers and politicians pressed the federal government to ease up the pain at the pumps.

The federal price on carbon increased Monday by 23 per cent. For drivers and people who use natural gas for everything from home heating to drying grain, that means an extra three cents per litre of fuel.
April 1, a handful of protesters demonstrated against the move under the Bluewater Bridge in Sarnia. Two more protestors, waving Canadian flags, could be seen at the Forest Road overpass on Highway 402.

April 2, Ontario’s Premier, Doug Ford, and Agriculture Minister, Lisa Thompson, stood with representatives of the farm and small business communities to take aim at Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and the carbon tax.

“According to the Grain Farmers of Ontario, they’re going to see an additional $2.7 billion worth of expenses associated with carbon tax,” said Thompson who added 20.9 per cent of her farm’s last propane bill was due to the federal carbon charge.

“If you talk to vegetable growers by the year 2030 the carbon tax is going to add on an additional $90,000 per acre.”

The head of the Ontario Federation of Agriculture, Drew Spoelstra, agreed. “We support a clean environment but farmers just don’t have any alternatives. We have to use fuel and energy to grow the food that we all eat three times a day…We support the request to pause the 23 per cent carbon tax hike as a first step towards eliminating this tax in its entirety.”

Ford said the carbon pricing increase couldn’t come at a worse time. “Because of this awful carbon tax, families across Ontario, spent their Easter weekends lined up around the block waiting to fill their gas tanks up one more time before the increase kicked in,” he told reporters Tuesday.

“This carbon tax has to go or in a year-and-a-half the Prime Minister is going. It is as simple as that. He will be going I’ll guarantee you. He will not be there if he doesn’t start looking after the people and the businesses of Ontario.”

The Liberal government’s carbon pricing started in April 2019. Since then, the feds have increased each year.

As the price on carbon increases, so does the rebates sent to Canadians. In Ontario, the average family of four will receive about $1,120 a year to offset the cost at the pumps and on home heating fuel.

Ontario fought the imposition of the carbon tax in the courts and lost.

A federal bill which would have exempted farmers from the carbon tax to produce food was defeated in 2023.