Council seeks information on effects of carbon tax on Perth County agriculture

·3 min read

PERTH COUNTY – During the Perth County council meeting on March 18, Coun. Todd Kasenberg asked to discuss a letter Norfolk County sent to the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change and the Ministry of Agriculture and Agri-Food recommending that the federal government consider the concerns of the agricultural community and move to exempt all primary agriculture producers from current and future carbon taxes.

“There’s an opportunity for us to try to understand the implications of the carbon tax in Perth County,” said Kasenberg. “Some effort has gone into studying this in Norfolk County and expression of concern has been raised and a policy approach has been suggested.”

He suggested staff bring a report about the implications of the carbon tax on agriculture in Perth County.

Coun. Rhonda Ehgoetz noted farmers are paying a carbon tax on their fuel to dry corn and to run their machinery and the rate is being raised.

“Now I thought the government was already looking into this but it still wouldn’t hurt for us to support this,” she said.

Coun. Bob Wilhelm said the carbon tax is a little over eight cents and on April 1 it goes up 2.68 cents per litre.

Warden Jim Aitcheson said that the Ontario Grain Farmers have been corresponding with the county recently and he suggested they would be a good source of information for the report.

“If we could go one step further and get a clear understanding of how charging over eight cents a litre on diesel fuel, how that reduces carbon,” said Wilhelm. “Where’s the incentive – to me it’s a tax grab – that’s all it is and no-one has been able to show me how it’s going to reduce carbon and improve climate and that is where I’d like to see some answers.”

Kasenberg asked that the Perth County resolution not be worded to support the resolution from Norfolk County but instead focus on the research of the local impact of the carbon tax.

“We need to find out what are the economic impacts on Perth County of this tax even if it’s crude numbers beyond the cost per litre,” he said. “I think that could be a useful first step towards us creating a position or a statement on where we stand on this.”

Aitcheson said he agreed with Wilhelm that they should find out where these carbon taxes go to and if they come back into Perth County or not.

“I’m thinking not,” he said. “We should follow the carbon tax from front to back.”

Kasenberg repeated that his focus is on Perth County.

“Coun. Kasenberg has really touched on it well,” said Coun. Daryl Herlick. “Let’s see the average effect. Let’s see where it is and then finish up… is it coming back to Perth County or is a percentage of it… let’s dissect this down.”

Council passed a motion asking staff to bring back a report on the effects of the carbon tax on agriculture in Perth County and to investigate where the carbon tax revenue is distributed.

Colin Burrowes, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Listowel Banner