Mr. Speaker, I am delighted to stand and follow up a question I asked in the House this spring in relation to the carbon tax and the environment.
Agriculture is is extensive in my area, and the carbon tax is really tough piece for the agriculture sector. Farmers are at the bottom of the supply chain, which means that whatever price they can get is the price they have to take, and they cannot raise it. However, they are then subject to all of the cost increases above that, with input costs such as seeds, equipment, particularly fertilizer and fuel, and this year grain drying, because the crops will be harvested much later. All of these input costs, along with a hidden and a regressive tax on everything, are going to be very difficult for the agriculture sector.
We will hear the federal government say that the provincial government could do something to subsidize that or to put in exemptions, but this is a federal tax, and the availability of exemptions will vary. It is a tax on the agriculture sector. The government is asking farmers in the agriculture sector to increase their productivity from $55 billion to $70 billion to export, yet it is handicapping them with this tax. Their competitors do not have this tax to compete with in the international market. Therefore, with this hidden tax on everything and the upfront tax on agriculture, the government is playing it twice, and this makes it very difficult.
The government does not take into account all of the mitigation effects that have happened in the farming industry. The farming industry has become a very precise and technical industry. It has achieved many advances in how farmers work with planting, fertilizer, zero till, and the carbon sinks it creates. There is no credit for that. The costs of this tax are very regressive, but there is no recognition for how those in the industry are creating carbon sinks.
We have the federal government saying that the province could return money, but it never responded about the GST and the possibly hundreds of millions of dollars out of Alberta and B.C. alone that will go to the federal government. Is that money coming back? The Liberals talk about possibly returning money if the carbon tax is implemented, but they do not talk about the GST.
However, it is interesting that the government will exempt some industries, like the large cement industry being built in Quebec. That industry is getting an exemption from the carbon tax. The LNG project that has been announced will also get an exemption. Where are the farmers and the agriculture industry in this? They are are paying it not once, but twice.
This is a very regressive tax and very tough on the agriculture sector, a huge industry. When the minister says he has not met a farmer who does not support it, my response is that I have not met a farmer who does, and there are thousands in my riding.