Conservatives accuse Liberal government of “imposing its will” on Senators to vote down Bill C-234

The federal tories are putting pressure on the Trudeau government to stop imposing its will on the senate.

Bill C-234 is only one step from crossing the finish line, but managed to get tripped up during third and final reading last Thursday.

The bill is now gaining national attention, and that’s because timing is everything. This is all happening just days after the Prime Minister carved out an exemption to its federal carbon tax for people still heating their homes with oil, the vast majority of those are in Atlantic Canada.

That’s opened a pandora’s box with several provincial leaders now demanding a carve out for all heating fuels as winter approaches.

Senator David Wells, who is the sponsor of the bill in the upper chamber, says this issue has certainly struck a nerve across the nation.

“I’ve rarely received as much email, phone calls, and letters, people actually writing letters on this topic than mostly any other topic,” Wells said.

Wells previously said he’s had conversations with other senators who were contacted by Environment Minister Stephen Guilbeault, and also named Energy and Natural Resource Minister Jonathan Wilkinson, to vote against Bill 234.

The Senate, just like the House of Commons, is off this week. The next planned meeting in the chamber is a week from today. Wells also claimed Prime Minister Justin Trudeau appointed 5 new Senators ahead of the break in order to defeat the bill.

“This is a clear attempt to kill the bill that would help farmers, ranchers, and growers, ease their costs a little bit more by removing the tax from propane and natural gas on heating their barns in the winter and cooling them in the summer which is a necessary activity across Canada…and this would apply to grain drying as well.” Wells added.

Meanwhile, Guilbeault pushed back on the allegations of trying to influence Senators to vote down Bill 234.

“We’re against the creation of a new exemption. We were against Bill C-234 when it was in the House of Commons. I’ve had conversations with, I don’t know, maybe half-a-dozen Senators in the last two weeks…so I’ve had conversations with some of them to explain our position and why we don’t support that bill, but this is what they’ve been – they’ve been conversations.” Guilbeault said.

Guilbeault also claimed that 97 percent of fuels used on farms were already excluded from the carbon tax. “At the time when we put in place carbon pricing in Canada, we realized there was no alternatives for these applications, so the price on pollution in the agricultural sector only applies to 3 percent of fuels that are being used.” he added.

He also noted the federal government provided more than $500-million in funding to support farmers in transitioning to greener technologies.

(With files from Dean Thorpe, CFCW)

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