When it comes to productivity, Canadian agriculture has always punched above its weight and modern Canadian agriculture has unleashed incredible potential.
What Canadian farmers, ranchers and processors are looking for is a champion to stand alongside them.
There is good reason to champion our agriculture sector.
One in eight jobs in Canada is directly related to agriculture and food production. It is by far the largest manufacturing employer in the country supporting more than 250,000 jobs.
Modern agricultural practices have helped reduce carbon by 80 million tonnes and reduce diesel fuel use by 200,000 litres per year.
By embracing innovation and new technology, Canadian agriculture is reducing its environmental impact, improving efficiency and conserving water and soil.
By definition, agriculture is sustainable. I do not know of any farmer, rancher or grower who is not committed to protecting their land, the water and their livestock.
Yet instead of being a champion for Canadian agriculture, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and the Liberal government are punishing hardworking Canadian farm families with a debilitating carbon tax.
Instead of being punished for their conservation efforts, Canadian producers should be given credit for their innovation because they are among the most efficient managers of water, soil and animal health in the world.
Agriculture Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau has been dodging farmers by saying she is collecting data on the impact the carbon tax has on farmers.
However, when asked about a full exemption for farm fuels from the Liberal carbon tax, she admitted her department is not collecting data on the impact the carbon tax has on Canadian agriculture.
The evidence cannot be more clear.
Statistics Canada estimates the average costs per farm will be in the tens of thousands of dollars as the tax goes from $20 to $50 per tonne.
Farmers have shown their energy bills and agriculture groups have done their homework.
Keystone Agricultural Producers of Manitoba and the Agricultural Producers Association of Saskatchewan have provided ample evidence the carbon tax is devastating to farmers and processors.
The Liberals are carbon taxing Canadian agriculture into bankruptcy.
According to APAS, the Liberal carbon tax cost a grain farmer $10,000 last year. In 2022 Saskatchewan farmers can expect to pay $17,000 per year in carbon tax.
APAS President Todd Lewis said: “It’s comparable to having 12 percent of your pay cheque disappear.”
The carbon tax could not have come at a worse time when farmers are drying their grain, heating their barns and paying for fertilizer, and they cannot pass these higher costs on.
This is on top of the loss of critical trade markets around the world impacting canola, soybeans, wheat, beef and pork.
This situation is clearly dire. In 2018, net farm income fell by more than 45 percent thanks to the Liberal’s geopolitical bungles and punishing policies like the carbon tax.
Farmers are seeing their profits evaporate into red tape and taxes.
Producers are looking for a champion who will push back against the activists undermining our agriculture sector and help promote what they do, how they do it and why they do it.
They are looking for a champion with a vision where decisions are made on science not ideology; where producers have the tools, infrastructure and market access they need to succeed; where less red tape allows farm operations to reach their full potential; where producers are given credit for their environmental stewardship and not carbon taxed into bankruptcy.
John Barlow is a Conservative MP from Alberta and the shadow agriculture minister.