Ford gov’t takes carbon-tax fight to the farm, warns of higher food prices

MPP Jim McDonell shakes the hand of Premier Doug Ford, last spring in Cornwall. Zandbergen photo, Nation Valley News

Trudeau’s carbon tax goes into effect April Fool’s Day

EASTERN ONTARIO — Prepare for higher food prices and job losses as the federal Liberals’ carbon tax begins to bite, warns the Ford government.

Ontario’s governing Conservatives, including local MPP Jim McDonell, yesterday chose farm country to launch their latest volley against the Trudeau government’s impending “job killing” tax on carbon that will “increase the cost of food on tables across Ontario.”

Premier Doug Ford discussed the “impacts of the disguised, unconstitutional” federal carbon tax and restated his government’s “ongoing support for Ontario farmers and agri-food businesses” during a visit to rural Woodstock while accompanied by his Agriculture and Environment ministers.

The Ford government says stakeholders in the agri-food sector fear Trudeau’s tax will “further reduce the competitiveness of Ontario’s agribusinesses in the global marketplace. Many are also concerned about its economic impact and potential job losses as a result of increased costs, and feel that the federal carbon tax will not help the environment or reduce emissions.”

McDonell says he’s been similarly “connecting” with the farming community about the coming federal levy, which goes into effect April Fool’s Day.

“Our farmers deal with lower yields due to our shorter growing season, higher taxes, more expensive fuels and electricity, and more expensive regulations and red tape,” McDonell said. “To make matters worse, the prices for most goods are set in the United States, where farmers enjoy huge government subsidies but do not have to deal with expensive costs — most of which are set by its own government.”

“Ontario’s farmers and agribusiness leaders have told us that a carbon tax will increase the cost of doing business, from heating fuels to transportation costs of shipping products to market. This not only hurts their businesses, but also negatively affects our economy,” Ontario’s Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, Ernie Hardeman, said on the same day. “When costs go up, consumers often pay the price, and less money goes into the pockets of farmers and workers. That’s why I am standing up for our farmers and agribusinesses — to protect the sector, our economy and Ontario jobs.”

Rod Phillips, Ontario’s Minister of the Environment, Conservation and Parks, asserted that his made-in-Ontario environmental plan “meets emissions targets without imposing a carbon tax on farmers or families, and serves as proof that you can both oppose a carbon tax and continue to do more to fight climate change. You don’t have to choose.” Ontario has already cut emissions by 22 percent since 2005, say the provincial Tories, highlighting a time period that happens to cover the mandates of prior Liberal governments.

Ontario remains committed to cutting emissions to 30 percent below 2005 levels by 2030, according to the minister.

Part of a series of “conversations” underway across the province, Ford and his ministers are travelling across Ontario to “talk with families, small business owners and communities about how the federal carbon tax will make life more unaffordable, while putting the province’s economy at risk.”

The Ford Conservatives maintain that “fighting the federal carbon tax is an important step to keeping Ontario open for business and open for jobs.”

 

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