Farmers say carbon tax driving agriculture out

Beef producers say the provincial carbon tax has hurt the industry and could kill agriculture in Alberta.

Richard Froese
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.”

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10 thoughts on “Farmers say carbon tax driving agriculture out

  1. Alberta is one of the lowest taxed regions in Canada and in the G7. In order for farmers to be on the same footing as everyone else, they should welcome a sales tax and higher corporate taxes, in addition to the carbon tax!

    BC, ON, Quebec, and California have carbon taxes and they also have sizzling economies! Are their farmers crying about the tax? Albertans need to stop whining. They are being played by the UPC and media!

  2. I would suggest that the NDP did in fact mention that they intended to do something around climate change without specifically saying “Carbon Levy” but what could that have been? Of course any logical mind would be able to connect the dots.

    After all, On February 19, 2008, the Government of British Columbia announced its intention to implement a carbon tax of C$10 per tonne of Carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) emissions (2.41 cents per litre on gasoline).

    So when I hear or read that the NDP didn’t campaign on a Carbon Levy, I say you were not paying attention!

    Taken from the Alberta NDP’s published platform document……

    (5.12) We will strengthen environmental standards, inspection, monitoring and enforcement to protect Alberta’s water, land and air. We will build standards based on independent science and international best practices, designed transparently in careful consultation with Albertans.•

    (5.13) We will take leadership on the issue of climate change and make sure Alberta is part of crafting solutions with stakeholders, other provinces and the federal government. First steps will include an energy efficiency strategy and a renewable energy strategy.•

    (5.14) We will ban gas drilling in urban areas.•

    (5.15) And we will protect the Castle Wilderness Area.

    1. Something as intrusive and damaging to the economy as carbon taxes should have been mentioned specifically in an election. They knew that making the production of everything produced in Alberta much more expensive would have been wildly unpopular, and rightfully so. Driving farmers and all other business costs up in a competitive world will impoverish Albertans. When Alberta production moves to places with lower environmental standards (human rights records, etc.), the planet as well as Albertans will be worse off due to ill thought out NDP policy.

      NDP climate leadership looks more like socialist wealth redistribution and destruction.

      1. Intrusive and damaging?
        Dealing with climate change is a reality of the present age and all the foot dragging farmers engage in will not change that fact. Either Albertans pay a carbon tax to the AB govt and have the $$ stay in the province for provincial projects, or it will go to the feds. All of Jason Kenney’s threats to take the feds to court over it is just horn blowing. It would never succeed. There are other jurisdictions coping with carbon tax levies and their farmers have adapted without going out of business. Alberta’s farmers can, too.

  3. Not really true Michael. Even the NDP supporters had no knowledge of the carbon tax during the last election. The NDP did not run with this tax in their platform.

  4. Uh, how about GIVING farmers part of the tax revenue instead? Farmers that can demonstrate that they have increased the carbon content of their soil (SOM), thereby mitigating the CO2 problem, that is. Also, farmers who use no or low-till methods and no artificial fertilizer will also be much better off. Eventually, once electric vehicles become widespread (thanks in part to carbon taxes like this), the cost to farmers won’t affect them nearly as much. Farmers will eventually become big proponents of carbon taxes done right.

  5. Remember that Albertans freely and willingly voted to elect the politicians that enacted those insane taxes. It is always about the money. The mantra is more money for the politicians and their minions. Everyone else is insignificant.

    1. Tim Ball, why is it necessary to lie about your qualifications? You were a geography prof in the geography department who wrote a couple of papers about historical climate. I understand you need to claim this authority to promote your anti-science beliefs about climate, but wouldn’t we all be better off if there were more honesty in this discussion?

      While we’re on the subject of qualifications, why didn’t you include your relationship with the Heartland Institute? It wouldn’t be because Heartland takes money from the US fossil fuel industry to promote contrarian views about climate science, would it? In fact, your Heartland “About” page calls you a Climatologist, so why not include that in your list of links? Most people who have been following this discussion know it’s not true, but its about the only place anyone thinks you’re a “climatologist”…

      More about Tim Ball:


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