Oct. 25, 2023 (Ottawa, ON) – The Agriculture Carbon Alliance (ACA) urgently calls on all Senators to defeat the Senate Standing Committee on Agriculture and Forestry’s (AGFO) proposed amendment to remove heating and cooling of barns, greenhouses and other food growing structures from Bill C-234, An Act to amend the Greenhouse Gas Pollution Pricing Act.
ACA, representing 190,000 farm families from coast-to-coast, expresses profound disappointment at AGFO’s decision to adopt this amendment and urges the Senate to restore Bill C-234 to its original form, as passed in the House of Commons.
“C-234, in its original form, recognizes the industry’s widespread lack of viable fuel alternatives,” states Dave Carey, Co-Chair of ACA. “Adopting this amendment establishes an unjust precedent within the industry. Our farmers, ranchers and growers pay tens of thousands of dollars in carbon pricing annually, and it takes time for the needed infrastructure to be built and emerging alternative technology to be scaled up and be readily available to all farmers at a reasonable price.”
Scott Ross, ACA’s Co-Chair, says the consequences of the amendment could be far-reaching for poultry, egg, cattle, dairy, pork, sheep, fruit and vegetable and mushroom growers.
“In the absence of viable alternatives, this amendment doesn’t just impact farmers’ competitiveness, it jeopardizes our future sustainability and efficiency. Continuous carbon pricing without viable alternatives for essential farm practices diverts funds from critical investments in innovation that drive efficiency,” he says.
“We’re burdening ranchers and growers with punitive taxes, sometimes reaching tens of thousands of dollars, limiting their ability to adopt technology. Further delays in passing Bill C-234 could indefinitely stall progress, hindering our farmers who have waited far too long for this crucial support.”
ACA is deeply concerned this amendment will dramatically change the scope, spirit and intent of the bill, as passed by the House of Commons. This violates typical Senate practices as was acknowledged by some members of the AGFO committee during clause-by-clause review. Furthermore, the amendments were deemed inadmissible by the Chair of the AGFO committee, who ruled it out of order.
Witnesses during AGFO committee proceedings underlined that emerging technologies that would provide alternatives are at least eight years away from commercial viability. C-234 includes a sunset clause to revaluate its context in eight years, ensuring justification for such an exemption. ACA commends Senators for rejecting an amendment aimed at shortening C-234’s sunset clause from eight years to three years.
To safeguard the profitability and sustainability of farmers, as well as to defend our food production and food sovereignty, ACA urges all Senators to reject the AGFO committee’s amendment and uphold the integrity of Bill C-234.
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ACA is a national coalition of 15 farm organizations committed to meaningful and collaborative dialogue with the federal government around carbon pricing. Our membership encompasses all major agriculture commodities and represents 190,000 farm businesses that steward 62 million hectares. Canada’s farmers are the heart of our agri-food value chain, which contributes $135 billion annually and provides one in nine Canadian jobs.
Our members include Canadian Canola Growers Association, Canadian Federation of Agriculture, Canadian Cattle Association, Grain Growers of Canada, Canadian Pork Council, Chicken Farmers of Canada, Turkey Farmers of Canada, Fruit and Vegetable Growers of Canada, Canadian Hatching Egg Producers, Canadian Forage and Grassland Association, the National Sheep Network, National Cattle Feeders’ Association, Dairy Farmers of Canada, Canadian Seed Growers’ Association, and Mushrooms Canada.