Thanks, Mr. Chair.
I do have some prepared comments. Normally I would wing it, but seeing how it's five minutes and I didn't want to go over the time and miss a point, I made some prepared comments today.
Good afternoon. Bill C-234 is a bill that amends the Greenhouse Gas Pollution Pricing Act. Bill C-234 is a bill that will help farmers by eliminating the carbon tax for the purposes of growing food, and cutting the carbon tax on propane and natural gas used to heat barns and to dry corn, beans, grains—i.e., food.
Agriculture provides many benefits to society. Firstly, it provides food to our nation and other nations that are unable to.... Secondly, agriculture is the number one economic driver in Ontario and one of the top economic drivers in our country. It provides a rural way of life, passed down through generations, and provides jobs throughout the value chain—in processing, trucking and shipping, to name just a few.
Agriculture also provides numerous benefits to our environment. Firstly, crops, grasslands and woodlands are natural carbon sequesters. Farmers practise ethical crop rotation, plant fall cover crops and are concerned about the quality and overall health of their soil. Farmers are involved with on-farm environmental plans, which also have manure management plans built into them. Nothing is wasted on your farm. From the tools passed down through generations, to lumber, scrap steel behind the shed, or even a corn kernel that didn't find its way to the bin, there's always a way. Farmer are environmentalists, recyclers and stewards of the land.
A friend of mine, who has a sizable hog farm in the region, sent me a heating bill for the period of November 30 to December 31, 2021. His bill from Enbridge was as follows: customer charge, delivery, vendor admin fee, transportation to Enbridge and gas supply charge, for one month, $8,473, before the carbon tax. The carbon tax was an astonishing $2,918, and one penny, in memory of Jim Flaherty. Now, if you factor in what that is on the original $8,400 bill, that's astonishing, and also factor in the HST charged on top of the carbon tax.
Some may say, “Well, Ben, we have that covered now with the carbon rebate that was delivered in Bill C-8 in the fall economic update as relief for farmers.” Well, in my opinion, and in the opinion of many, the carbon rebate falls short, maybe almost 100% short—88%, likely. For the last year, it was $1.47 per $1,000, and in this economic year, it's $1.73 per $1,000. On $10,000 of eligible expenses, your rebate is $14.70.
Now, remember that heating bill I told you about of the hog farmer in Huron County? It was $8,473.60, and his carbon tax bill was $2,918. It's not really fair: $12.50. Where I'm from, that's about four king cans, which is not much.
With Bill C-8, this carbon program once again asks the farmer to be the government's line of credit. The farmer is currently the government's line of credit for business risk management programs like AgriStability, as well as HST and your rebate. Now we're asking farmers to once again be the government's line of credit for the carbon tax rebate. With rising inputs—seed, fertilizer—the farmer's line of credit is maxed out, folks.
To summarize, farmers are price-takers, they are not price-makers. They do not make the market. They are within the whims of the weather. The market is in Chicago; the crops in the Midwest, Brazil and other places; and there are trade deals, whether they work effectively or they are not enforced; rail lines; ports that may or may not be functioning properly; the lack of container capacity in this country; and geopolitical tensions that we've seen in Europe this year, all have an impact.
In this committee, you have the opportunity to help a neighbour, maybe a hard-working rural family you've never met before. You can help a farmer.