HASH(0xbf7fbc)

Justin Trudeau defends carbon tax after visit to Saskatchewan farm

Trudeau defends carbon tax after farm visit

GRAY, Sask. — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau appears to like farmer Todd Lewis’s combine, but Lewis does not like Trudeau’s carbon tax.

Trudeau happily hopped into a combine during a visit Thursday to the Lewis family’s century-old farm in the community of Gray, south of Regina.

“Glad to see how you guys have developed some amazing ways to succeed,” Trudeau said.

He climbed into a sprayer too, and was told how it uses a GPS so that the nozzles automatically turn off if they overlap to save fertilizer and fuel costs.

Most of the farm technology has been developed in Saskatchewan and Western Canada, Lewis told him.

“A real point of pride for all of Canada,” replied Trudeau.

And that’s the recognition Lewis wants for farmers when it comes to Trudeau’s carbon tax.

Trudeau has said all provinces must set up a cap-and-trade system or impose a price on carbon of at least $10 per tonne starting next year, increasing to $50 by 2022.

“Putting a price on carbon pollution is a way of encouraging and rewarding people who are innovating and reducing their carbon pollution outputs,” the prime minister said at a news conference in front of a couple hundred people at the Gray rink.

Trudeau said every penny collected from a carbon tax in Saskatchewan will stay in the province.

But the carbon tax idea is not popular among producers, who fear it will hurt income and competitiveness, especially with their American counterparts who don’t have a carbon tax.

“There’s lots of work due for the recognition that agriculture is part of the solution, not the problem,” said Lewis, who is also president of the Agricultural Producers Association of Saskatchewan.

“Intuitively, farmers recognize you burn fuel, you spend more money, so intuitively for years, we’ve been on the carbon band wagon just from the practices we do.”

Jacob Froese, president of the Canadian Canola Growers Association, says the tax will go on fuel, fertilizer, and chemicals. Railroads that ship farm products will also face the tax and pass that onto farmers, he said.

The canola crushing industry could be in trouble because they compete globally with countries that don’t have a carbon tax, he suggested.

“We don’t want to be alarmists, but we want to be realists and look at what is coming down the road,” said Froese.

“They have to find a way to neutralize the tax on producers. We have picked all the low hanging fruit, so to speak. If you look at agriculture in Western Canada, it has revolutionized in the last 15, 20 years.”

Froese also says producers sequester a lot of carbon with the crops that they grow and haven’t been recognized for improvements that have been made.

Lewis says that’s why, despite disagreeing with Trudeau on the carbon tax, it was important to have the prime minister out to the farm and for producers to talk to him at the rink.

“We gotta start the conversation,” said Lewis.

“As somebody said once, if you’re not at the dinner table, you’re probably on the menu, and today we’re at the dinner table.”

Jennifer Graham, The Canadian Press

Just Posted

Fernie Museum fundraiser a blast from the past

Retro themed evening raises over $10,000 for museum programming

Fernie Alpine Resort opens for preview weekend

Fernie Alpine Resort will be opening for a preview weekend, this Saturday and Sunday

Local boys raise money for sick children in unconventional way

Four local boys have found a way to use their passion for… Continue reading

Skid Steer stolen from Sparwood Transfer Station

Elk Valley RCMP are seeking the public’s assistance with a theft that… Continue reading

Golf pro has big plans for Sparwood Golf Course

Golf pro looks to a promising future for golf in Sparwood

VIDEO: Rare comic showing Superman’s 1st appearance to be auctioned

The 1938 comic features Superman hoisting a car over his head

Ghostriders play hard against Nelson Leafs

Fernie Coach proud of team’s effort against top KIJHL contender

Cokato resident receives Order of Canada

Dr. Bryan Kolb has been instrumental in helping society understand what happens inside our heads

Mainroad discusses road conditions, standards

Last week, Mainroad, the Ministry of Transportation, the City of Fernie and… Continue reading

An adopted cat is the best 10 pounds you’ll gain this season

BC SPCA encouraging families to add a forever feline friend during adoption event Nov. 24 to Dec. 3

Uber official says public needs to push for ridesharing in B.C.

Mike van Hemmen tells Kelowna Chamber of commerce ridesharing would be ‘win-win-win’

B.C. co-ops relieved with Ottawa’s housing strategy

Federal government to have a new co-operative housing funding model in place by 2020

B.C. NDP referendum plan sparks legislature battle

David Eby says public will decide on proportional referendum

Most Read