Ag in the House: April 8 – 11

Ag in the House: April 8 – 11
Apr 15, 2024

Conservatives continued to pressure the Liberals to pass Bill C-234

By Diego Flammini
Staff Writer

Conservative MPs used part of question period on April 8 to pressure the Liberals to provide Canadians and farmers carbon tax relief.

Jasraj Singh Hallan, the MP for Calgary Forest Lawn, asked if the upcoming federal budget will include Bill C-234’s removal.

Employment Minister Randy Boissonnault responded citing Alberta Premier Danielle Smith’s experience with the Canada carbon rebate.

“Guess what? She lives in rural Alberta, so she gets even more,” Boissonnault said.

Leslyn Lewis, the Conservative MP for Haldimand-Norfolk, also pressed the government about Bill C-234, asking them to pass the bill in its original form.

Natural Resources Minister Jonathan Wilkinson provided the response, repeating that eight out of 10 Canadian families receive more than they pay in the carbon tax.

On April 9, Michael Kram, the Conservative MP for Regina-Wascana, asked if the government would pass Bill C-234 in its original form to provide carbon tax relief for farmers.

Minister Wilkinson responded, reminding the House that farmers have exemptions.

“Mr. Speaker, again, it is important to ensure we are dealing with the facts,” he said. “Ninety-seven per cent of on-farm fuels are exempt from the price on pollution, and there is a rebate to address farmers' and farm incomes on a go-forward basis.”

Earl Dreeshen, the Conservative for Red Deer-Mountain View, and a farmer, said he knows first-hand how the carbon tax affects farms, and asked the government to pass Bill C-234.

Agriculture Minister Lawrence MacAulay fielded the question.

A farmer himself, “I am dully aware that farmers are on the front line of climate change,” he said. “It is important to realize that farmers are devastated by massive storms.”

Terry Dowdall, the Conservative MP for Simcoe-Grey, also called for Bill C-234’s passage.

Minister Wilkinson responded, highlighting that eight of 10 Canadian families are better off.

Arpan Khanna, the Conservative MP for Oxford, asked the Bill C-234 to be passed too.

Housing Minister Sean Fraser’s response highlighted a government plan for a national school food program.

When Khanna asked about Bill C-234 again, Families Minister Jenna Sudds replied by saying the Conservatives will cut programs.

Conservative MPs Jake Stewart (Miramichi-Grand Lake), and James Bezan (Selkirk-Interlake-Eastman) also pressured the Liberals to pass Bill C-234.

Minister Fraser responded to Stewart by highlighting past Conservative votes. Defence Minister Bill Blair replied to Bezan, but didn’t answer his question.

Conservatives continued their Bill C-234 pressure on April 10.

Kyle Seeback (Dufferin-Caledon) and Mark Strahl (Chilliwack-Hope) want the carbon tax removed for farmers.

Minister Wilkinson repeated the government’s position that eight of 10 Canadian families receive more than they pay in carbon taxes.

Government House Leader Steven MacKinnon replied to Strahl’s question, saying farmers are important in the fight against climate change, and that Conservatives can bring the bill up for debate.

“This is a Conservative private member's bill that they can prioritize at any moment and that they can bring to a vote in the House,” MacKinnon said. “It is up to them. Bill C-234's fate is decided on the Conservative side of the House.”

Rosemarie Falk, the Conservative MP for Battlefords-Lloydminster, wants Bill C-234 passed so food prices can go down.

Minister Wilkinson’s response said cutting the carbon rebate would hurt vulnerable Canadians.

“It is those people who live on the most modest incomes who would be most impacted by their plan to cut the carbon rebate,” he said. “That would be reckless and irresponsible, and it would put at risk people who live in this country on modest incomes.”

Philip Lawrence, the Conservative MP for Northumberland-Peterborough South, said passing Bill C-234 would make life more affordable for Canadians, and asked if the Liberals would pass it.

House Leader MacKinnon reminded the House that Bill C-234 is a private member’s bill.

On April 11, Laila Goodridge, the Conservative MP for Fort McMurray-Cold Lake, brought up Bill C-234 and asked the Liberals to pass it.

House Leader Steven MacKinnon answered.

The Conservatives “should remember that the vast majority of the fuels farmers use are tax exempt under the pollution pricing strategy,” he said. “Farmers in the country are supported big time by adjustment policies, because they know, more than anyone, that climate change is a reality.”

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