South Peace News
Local farmers say the provincial carbon tax has deeply hurt them and could drive agriculture out of business.
“If these Canadian and provincial governments continue on this track, they will kill farming, ranching and small business,” says Roland Cailliau, a rancher in the New Fish Creek area and vice-chair of the Alberta Beef Producers last year.
“Big business will simply move; some of this has already begun.”
The Alberta NDP government introduced a carbon tax for fuels on Jan. 1, 2017 and increased the levies by 50 per cent on Jan. 1, 2018.
“To make it look good for themselves, they exempted farm fuels from the carbon tax,” Cailliau says.
“However, the tax affects everything that we buy or sell that goes on public transport and further, all our purchased input costs are affected by the carbon tax.
“All of that leaves us at a distinct disadvantage to our competitors in other countries.”
But he admits, the industry can’t do much to combat the carbon tax.
“We will continue to voice our concerns to governments, but I believe that is not going to get any great results,” Cailliau says.
“We are price takers and we can’t pass most costs on.”
Alder Ridge beef and grain producer Sieg Holleis agrees.
“It is safe to say that farmers carry a much bigger burden of the carbon tax than the average Albertan,” Hollies says.
“Agriculture has a particular problem with cost increases like this because we cannot pass it on like the freight hauler does.”
As a result, farmers have a disadvantage to compete on the global market
“We are exporters and our competition is worldwide and every time costs go up, we loose advantage and eventually market share,” Holleis says.
“Small business gets picked on hard by socialists and the carbon tax is another example,” Holleis says.
The cost of carbon tax for farmers is in the thousands of dollars, he adds.
“It is left-wing agenda to move money from the hard-working men and women to someone less active and more supportive of that government,” Holleis says.
“The tax is also reflected in every part we buy or shop hour we hire, and so on.”
That particularly hurts the small farmer.
“We are a family farm and our entire income comes from it and any additional cost is right out of my pocket,” Holleis says.
He intends to make his concerns known to the decision makers.
“It is important that we speak out and support institutions that keep an eye on governments and go to battle for the working man, so that is why I joined the Canadian Taxpayers Federation recently,” says Holleis.
“I was taught in school that if we sleep in democracy, we will wake up in dictatorship.”