More debate in the Senate over Bill C-234, but same outcome

Plenty of debate among Senators but no progress made on Bill C-234, an exemption of the carbon tax for natural gas and propane used for grain drying and heating & cooling of barns.

The bill has been in third reading for weeks with some Senators wanting an amendment to exclude fuel used for heating and cooling farm buildings, while others want to pass it in its original form. Several farms groups have called for Bill 234 to give farmers a financial break and to keep from passing costs down to the consumer.

“Exemptions should be limited to very exceptional cases and not a way to axe the tax one step at a time,” said Senator Pierre Dalphond who is against Bill 234.

Dalphond tried again to pass the amendment of excluding heating barns from the tax exemption, but it was again defeated.

Senator Donald Plett, who is in favour of the bill, was aggravated as he says Dalphond keeps introducing stuff that’s already been kicked to the curb. Plett also wanted to know how many votes they have to take on the same thing.

“I don’t know how we could be any more clearer than that,” Plett said of defeating the amendment at the senate committee level and in the upper chamber.

Saskatchewan Senator Brent Cotter says he supports climate change policies but also supports the Bill in its original form because he says farmers in western Canada are committed to the environment.

“In my province, there’s a remarkable partnership between the federal and provincial governments, farmers, innovators, business leaders, and universities to advance agriculture in sustainable ways,” said Cotter. “A magical combination of partners to produce better results for farmers, less burdensome treatments of the soil, and returning carbon to the soil.”

Senator Pierrette Ringuette doesn’t want to grant an exemption from the carbon tax for farmers because she says there’s no way Canada’s trading partners will accept Canadian farmers not paying a carbon tax.

“I can just imagine the retaliation,” Ringuette said.

Debate is supposed to resume at the next sitting.

(With files from Cheryl Brooks, CFCW)

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