Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise virtually in the House today to speak to Bill C-206.
I would like to thank my colleague, the member for Northumberland—Peterborough South. I am sure he has had many discussions with farmers.
I also want to thank Michel Dignard and Réjean Pomainville, two farmers from my region I greatly respect and who informed me of the impact that the changes could have on farms. I am very grateful to them.
Personally, I supported the bill because I made a commitment to those two farmers. I want to thank them. They did the right thing by telling me about the potential repercussions this could have on farming.
The bill seeks an exemption to the price on pollution. There are computerized grain dryers, but they are still rather rare in Canada. Most farmers have to use propane dryers, and those who are lucky enough to have a natural gas connection can use a natural gas dryer.
Given that the price of the carbon tax will increase to $170 by 2030, we hope that new technologies will be available on the market by then. I am sure that our government will present potential solutions and that it will invest to enable our farmers to take advantage of those solutions, which must, of course, be market solutions.
Climate change is real. For example, we know that the oil and transportation sectors account for approximately 52% of greenhouse gases produced in Canada, the heavy industries account for about 10%, and the agricultural sector accounts for roughly 10% as well.
We are trying to reduce the effects of climate change in the agricultural sector. The goal is not to penalize our farmers but to decarbonize their suppliers.
I supported Bill C‑206, and I also support the objectives and changes that our government presented.
The rebate program for farmers, which will allocate an estimated $100 million to the four provincial jurisdictions that have decided not to put a price on pollution, is a recognition by our government that we have to decarbonize the way we dry grain. However, right now those technologies may not be available to the majority of farmers. Obviously, by 2030 the price on pollution will rise to $170 a tonne, which sends a market signal to those who create new technologies to adapt technology so that it is not necessarily carbon heavy. That is where I believe we need to go. It is the only way to decarbonize our economy.
We know the ag sector contributes 10% of our greenhouse gases. However, I know that farmers have done a tremendous job, such as our egg farmers, who are able to produce more than 50% of what they used to 50 years ago while reducing their carbon emissions by 50%. There are positive stories out there. Farmers have adopted new technologies, whether they are biodigesters, solar panels or those to make their dairy barns extremely energy efficient. They are doing a fantastic job. What we are trying to do now is decarbonize the majority of their suppliers.
I was happy to hear that there is now a $200-million fund to help with the adoption of cover crops. I think that is an extremely important domain of science. If we could reward farmers so that cover crops play an even bigger role in capturing carbon, it would be an extremely good news story. The world will be looking at our net-zero products, and whether it is our produce or the other things that farmers grow, farmers will always be there. However, I think cover crops have a major role to play. I have started seeing farmers adopt it in my riding. Not everyone is, but some surely are, and the $200-million fund that was presented in budget 2021 will be there to help and guide them.
Last week, the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food launched the agricultural clean technology program, which has a fund of $165 million. There will be some money there to help farmers improve their green energy and energy efficiency, and help them further adopt precision agriculture. When we think about precision agriculture, we know there used to be days when farmers would just lay fertilizer across the land. Nowadays they can actually pinpoint, to the plant and to the row, where they need to put fertilizer, should they need it, to help improve plant health. That is the way of the future. The fertilizer industry has a role to play, and it is stepping up to play that particular role. Soil health is another important conversation we need to have in this country, and I think farmers want to be part of this particular conversation.
To get back to the matter at hand, as I said at the beginning of my speech, I have supported Bill C-206 because of a simple commitment that I made to two farmers back home. I certainly do not support an exemption that would last forever, but I do know that technologies will be available to our farmers. With the funds that were announced through budget 2021, there will be some dollars to help farmers adopt new technologies on the farm.
Grain drying is something that I will be looking at in my riding to see who has the most efficient method. It is part of my summer pet project to visit farms once it is safe to do so. It will help me better understand where farmers could make changes and where they might not necessarily have to rely on traditional technologies.
I want to raise another issue. Earlier we talked about cover crops and our government's $200 million fund for cover crops. There are a lot of trees on our farmland, and deforestation of private lands is a major problem.
I am not trying to single out farmers, because I know they are doing what they have to do to earn an income and support their families. However, part of that $200 million our government announced is for a reverse auction program, which is a really interesting initiative that encourages farmers to conserve existing wetlands and trees on their private property to capture carbon. These are all measures we announced in budget 2021 to help farmers reduce on-farm greenhouse gas emissions. This is an important thing to do because that is where the industry is heading.
I think we would be sending a wonderful message to the rest of the world if we could produce food while having a positive impact on the environment and limiting our greenhouse has production. We would be the envy of the world, and I think that is how Canada should position itself.
Again, I thank my colleague from Northumberland—Peterborough South for his bill, which I support. I wish him luck. Even though this bill will not help the green transition, it is an important part of the conversation.