Catching up with Chatham-Kent-Leamington MP Dave Epp

Tilbury Times reporter recently sat down with MP Dave Epp to talk about a few current issues including food inflation and agriculture issues that revolve around the current Carbon Tax implemented by the Liberal Government.

1./ Talk about the cost of living and food inflation and how the Carbon Tax plays into this issue?

“This is probably the number one issue that I’m hearing about from constituents,” said Epp. “For most of the summer food inflation has run double what it has been and there are a number of reasons why.”

“With the interchange between primary producers, processors and retailers…the common theme comes down to the Carbon Tax. This tax affects the supply chain, the cost of transporting goods for example, the tax is embedded in every single transaction, ultimately those costs are passed on to the consumer and will continue to rise. Global issues like the war in Ukraine and the pandemic also impact overall inflation.”

“So, I am concerned that the drivers of inflation are not being addressed by the current government.

“The greenhouse gases issue amongst other environmental issues need to be addressed…is the stick or the carrot the better way to go? There is a philosophical difference between the Conservative and Liberal approach. For example, greenhouse gases do not respect international borders.

“The best thing that we could do if this current government is truly serious about addressing this issue would be to ramp up our L and G supply (Liquified Natural Gas) and move away from fossil fuels. This would help Canada to both increase our economic response and our environmental responsibilty to the world.”

2./ Thoughts regarding the about the current housing crisis and solutions being implemented?

“There are a number of drivers of this issue. For one, we’re seeing other auxiliary issues like immigration and international students rolled into the conversation.

“A generation ago, 4.3 people lived in a household…today its 2.7. We have chosen as a population in general to live with less people in a household, So, even if our population wouldn’t have grown, we would need that many more houses to address that lifestyle.”

“Our birth rate is low at 1.4 per cent, so Canada’s population is growing solely based on immigration…which is a good thing. I solidly support immigration for several reasons including addressing labour shortages and people taking early retirement.”

“The Liberals just announced a number of changes to the housing issue, for example, a 100 per cent GST rebate on new residential rental properties and addressing zoning changes in higher density residential areas.

“The public should see that we were right, we have been pushing the current government to take those type of actions for well over a year now.

The government in waiting will address these problems.”

3./ You recently spoke to the Essex County Federation of Agriculture. Please talk about agricultural issues across our region.

“We talked about the current status of three bills…for example C-234 is a private members bill, which exempts the Carbon Tax from being applied to barn heating and grain drying.”

“Our over all philosophy is ‘axe the tax’ and address the climate issues through other means and incentives.”

“We feel there are better ways to handle this without directly affecting farmers lives directly.”

“We are in competition with American growers when it comes to providing wheat and corn to market, however, they are not paying a carbon tax. So, our producers are at a disadvantage.”

“The Liberal government has proposed a solution, however it falls far short of what we are proposing.”

Two other bills are pending as well to help protect farmers.

Bill C-275 will assist farmers and bring bio-protection from activists who trespass onto private property and create biohazards to barns with animals. This bill is designed to prevent disease being spread and prevent the mental anguish to farm operators.

“Everyone in Canada has the right to protest, but it should be done on public property. People don’t realize that diseases like Swine Fever and Avian Flu can be unknowingly and unwittingly spread.”

Bill C-280, the Financial Protection for Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Farmers Act, aims to establish a deemed trust, a vital financial protection mechanism for fresh produce sellers in Canada.

This mechanism will help secure payment in the event of buyer bankruptcy, providing stability and support to the industry while safeguarding Canadian food security. This Bill has passed at second reading.

Matt Weingarden, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Tilbury Times Reporter, Tilbury Times Reporter