An Open Letter To Justin Trudeau

October 18, 2016

Rt. Hon. Justin Trudeau, P.C., M.P. Prime Minister of Canada
80 Wellington Street
Ottawa, Ontario, K1A 0A2

Dear Prime Minister,

My name is Jake Leguee, and I am a farmer in Saskatchewan. I am writing this letter to express my tremendous concern with your plan to impose a carbon tax on my province. I chose to publish this as an open letter so the rest of this nation has an opportunity to understand what a carbon tax could mean to other farmers like myself.

While I recognize you have environmental goals you wish to pursue, understand that the consequences of a carbon tax may be severe for my farm. Mr. Trudeau, you may not have much experience with agriculture, but let me tell you, it is an amazing career. Not only do I get to run my own business, but I get to run one that is also a way of life. I get to farm alongside my father; my mentor, business partner and friend. My sister and I are the next generation of this business, and our whole family comes together at planting and harvest to get the crop in the ground, and to put it in the bin. My son was born a year ago, and I hope someday he may have the opportunity to farm alongside me, just as I do with my father.

Farming is, at times, a difficult business. One bad weather event – one storm, one cold night, one windy day – can devastate us. If we don’t get a crop, our bills still have to be paid. And nature does not care one way or the other.

Not only do we rely on the vagarious disposition of Mother Nature, we are also exposed to the volatility of the markets and – indeed, the point of this letter – politicians.

A carbon tax has the ability to drastically increase my costs, without creating an incentive to reduce my emissions. In fact, I already have such incentives. Our farm’s move to no-till started in the late 1980’s, as many other Prairie farmers did, to reduce risk of soil erosion, increase soil organic matter, and, ultimately, increase yields. No-till (essentially means that tillage is avoided if at all possible) has been a boon for our farm, and it allows the storage of massive quantities of carbon dioxide.

As equipment changes and my farm grows, there will be a continuous need to upgrade to newer machinery. Due to the emissions laws already in place, our newer equipment has lower emissions; but that came at a cost. Emissions equipment on our tractors is faulty, unreliable, and expensive to fix. If my tractor’s emissions system has a plugged filter, it can shut down my seeding operation for hours, even days. When you have only two weeks to get your crop in the ground, this is hardly acceptable.

Adding a carbon tax to my farm’s cost of production will make it less profitable, and ultimately less competitive with my neighbours to the south and across the oceans. I can only take what price is offered to me; I cannot pass along a carbon tax to my customers. I cannot switch to electric tractors, or run all new equipment to have the latest in emissions technologies. Sometimes my field needs to be blackened to clean up sloughs from excess moisture, or to deal with high residue crops. That tillage pass already represents a cost to me, and I don’t need a tax to encourage me to avoid it.

So, let’s exempt farmers, right? Make it revenue-neutral? While that may seem a simple solution, how will you go about that? I still have to purchase fertilizer, crop protection products, fuel, machinery, and so on. If those industries are paying a carbon tax, you can bet they will pass along that cost. What about my grain buyers? If a craft beer manufacturer has to pay a carbon tax, they may have to reduce what they pay for their malt barley. That also costs my family farm.

If a carbon tax drives up my farm’s costs without creating an incentive for me to reduce emissions, why have one at all? It does not achieve the required goal of reducing emissions, and hurts my family in the process. I thought your government was going to help the middle class?

Mr. Trudeau, please reconsider your plans to impose a carbon tax on my province. You speak about working together as Canadians, of uniting us as a country. Your proposed carbon tax will be divisive, ineffective, and detrimental to Canadian agriculture. Your carbon tax will hurt my family’s ability to make a living doing what we love to do – feeding the world.

Sincerely,

 

Jake Leguee

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79 thoughts on “An Open Letter To Justin Trudeau

  1. Barry Dickson October 19, 2016 / 4:29 am

    Thank you for telling everyone what the real cost of carbon taxing is, it will hurt everyone’s pocket in so many ways.

    • Tyler October 29, 2016 / 9:40 am

      I think Premier Brad Wall needs to stop fighting this and figure out what he is going to do with the money. I dont think there is a lot FARMERS can really do to cut their carbon emissions. On the other hand there is a LOT OF THINGS the oil and coal industry can do. According to what i have heard the Sask government could be makng enough on carbon to cut everyones income tax by half. So i think there should be a kick back or a subsidie for many farmers once this carbon tax is fully implemented.

  2. drmikep2000 October 19, 2016 / 9:03 am

    The insanity of this politically driven feel good scheme is that there is no plan or blueprint for any of the monies collected from this tax. Currently provinces are simply supposed to collect massive amounts of money under the guise of some kind of environmental righteousness to do with as they see fit! We as consumers are left waiting for industry to make more efficient products whenever they see fit or the markets will bear the increased costs for these products.
    Our so called political leaders should be encouraging those polluters to develope better and more efficient products, and we would be willing to pay more for those individual items. Think of the safety of modern automobiles. All now have antilock brakes, use non-leaded gasoline, airbags, sensors of varying types and far more efficient engines. We are now paying significantly more for these cars, and most people are willing to pay more for a safer and far more efficient automobile. If, however you choose to walk everywhere, you are still paying a carbon tax on virtually everything else in your life, being penalized for simply existing.
    Climate changes are cyclical events that have been occurring since this planet was formed. Perhaps the massive burns in the Amazon rainforests, or the tens of millions of acres of deforestation that occur in Africa or the Far East should be indentified as the real climate changers. But of course that doesn’t make any of our political leaders feel good and self righteous pretending that they are going to help stabilize the world’s climate by imposing this nonsense tax!

    • Darlene Belford October 20, 2016 / 11:54 am

      So true! People seem to forget that our politicians & their related bureaucracies don’t have the same problems as the average Canadian and Trudeau for sure does not have a clue. They have the gold-plated pensions, medical plans, Trust funds, non-taxable income, etc. Trudeau has never started a business, struggled to make payroll, struggled to save to fund his OWN retirement–assuming it ever happens for the average Canadian.

      Governments at all levels today seem to view the taxes they collect as THEIR money–spending and giving it away without consequence, accountability or responsibility (and it would seem, zero understanding of economics/finance)–unencumbered by any personal obligation to repay the huge debts they also take on along the way–kicking that can down the road. They do not let reality, science, or serious analysis of their schemes and pet projects get in the way–on the contrary, commentary or analysis that does not support their views is labelled as racist, greed or my personal favorite response “don’t you care…”–when they can’t find even one scientific or economic FACT to support their view.

    • Grant October 20, 2016 / 3:28 pm

      so you do not believe in climate change and feel a tax would be the end. If money is spent on upgrades of plants ie oil if upgrades are made on other plants the talk is loss of jobs but what about the ones created by upgrades. We live with the tax and heard the same when it was proposed but the doom never happen and we are agricultural as well. If our carbon foot print is reduced it not going to be harmful. Your right about no plan for funds collected unfortunately we have seen the funds given back to large corporations not into transit green, not into solar power farms, or wind power. If i could see funds go into these areas i would not complain. I do believe in climate change and only hear the opposite when its going to cost someone funds.

      • Dwayne October 20, 2016 / 6:20 pm

        Which climate change do you believe in? The one telling us the earth is getting warmer or colder? Just curious

  3. Agriculturetodayblog October 19, 2016 / 10:03 am

    Very well written, you touched on many of the points that are so hard to explain to those not involved in agriculture. Thanks for this.

    • Jake October 19, 2016 / 3:29 pm

      My pleasure! We farmers need to make sure our voices are heard.

      • Patricia J October 19, 2016 / 4:11 pm

        Hi Jake, Well written letter👍🏻
        My husband and myself although retired live on a 10 acre parcel of land in rural Saskatchewan. We plant approximately 4 acres of it to a garden which we plant tend and harvest and donate to a friendship inn in Saskatoon which feeds approximately 1400 meals daily to the homeless and low income families. Living in the country makes it impossible to cut costs of travel to do all the things we have to do. If you need to see a doctor, buy supplies, groceries etc in the city you can catch a bus. In the country you have to drive. This carbon tax will destroy the rural life and place a real hardship on so many farmers, pensioners and families.
        Thank you for speaking up for us all.

      • Sandi October 20, 2016 / 7:29 am

        Hi Jake, awesome letter. We also farm. In west central sask there are a lot of crops still under snow and will not get harvested this year I am sure. We already have to pay for next years seed and fertilizer, now are faced with more expense, ridiculous! Have you signed the petition that Brad Wall has put out?

      • Jake October 20, 2016 / 7:31 am

        Yes I have, and the one by the Western Canadian Wheat Growers too.

  4. Brenda Olson October 19, 2016 / 11:49 am

    Well said.

  5. Karen Watson October 19, 2016 / 1:30 pm

    I think what we have here is a Prime Minister who would impose a carbon tax without caring about the destruction of the family farm in western Canada while flying a fuel guzzling carbon emitting government aircraft from Ottawa at taxpayers expense to support a Liberal candidate to assist in the destruction and alienation of western Canada.

    • Doell Elmer October 21, 2016 / 8:31 pm

      Amen to that Karen!!!

      We as Canadians are already Carbon Neutral , in fact we’re a carbon sink and ought to receive
      massive credits from the rest of the world.

      The tax is simply ludicrous !!!

      Elmer

  6. Bonnie Freitag October 19, 2016 / 2:16 pm

    Very, very articulate and well written. If only this federal government will listen. It just does not make sense!!!

  7. Jocelyne Cook October 19, 2016 / 2:34 pm

    A very well written letter. I wonder if you , Jake, would consider sending a copy of your letter to your federal member of parliament and ask him to read it during question period. I tend to agree with DRMIKEP2000 who replied to your letter , that climate changes are cyclical events that have been occurring since the beginning of times. I feel this is a tax grab, and Lord knows how many more things our politicians will have to dream up to impose taxes on so they have money to dish out all over the world, to place themselves on the world stage, and so they can live the good life at the tax payers expense. Every time our PM is flying all over the world with his entourage, it is at our expense that the jet they are flying in releases carbon emissions. I think it would make sense for them to stay home and try to figure out a way to help the west.

    • Jake October 19, 2016 / 3:27 pm

      I absolutely agree. It is a common problem with climate change advocates – it’s okay for me to jet around the world telling everybody what to do, but your car emits too much carbon. And yes, I plan to send this to my MP, and Trudeau himself.

      • A. Lackie October 19, 2016 / 8:35 pm

        Jake please let us know if the Prime Minister responds. Thanks for your letter!

    • Courtenay-Dawn Bondarchuk October 19, 2016 / 4:17 pm

      I 100% agree. This letter needs to be read at all levels.

  8. Kevin sherwood October 19, 2016 / 3:47 pm

    To top it all off there is no actual proof of climate change,scientists just released a report saying the arctic ice has grown larger and is thicker,they are reporting this will be the coldest winter in Canada in 100 years,so exactly when is the earth heating up.Its just a money grab by not just the liberal government but by left leaning governments around the world.

    • Jake October 19, 2016 / 3:55 pm

      I think whether climate change is a reality of not is independent of whether a carbon tax will work. If climate change is a serious issue, a carbon tax will not provide a real solution. It’s the wrong path to take.

      • Roberta Rach October 20, 2016 / 7:35 am

        I so agree, Jake.

  9. Gordon Howell October 19, 2016 / 5:37 pm

    This is a great letter that deserves a response from the govt.

    It is well known that a price on GHG emissions is the cheapest and most effective way to reduce GHG emissions. We have long needed a fee so that people and industries will reduce the damage that they are willfully causing the environment.

    • Jake October 19, 2016 / 6:10 pm

      I don’t think industry “willfully” damages the environment. I think that we all want to see a clean world. A government tax won’t make that happen – incentives are a much better option.

      • elna October 19, 2016 / 8:47 pm

        Very well written. I also believe that GHGs are not as much of a problem as our garbage, as in the islands of plastic in the oceans, and all the wastage here in our communities.

  10. Len October 19, 2016 / 5:51 pm

    Very well said. I totally agree what you were saying. Now the question is. Is he going to listen. He really don’t care bout us farmers.

    • Donna October 20, 2016 / 11:45 am

      Hey, the grocery stores have lots of food, who needs stupid farmers, right? Sad that many city people think like that.

  11. Lynne Cooper October 19, 2016 / 6:49 pm

    Excellent well written respectful letter. Please print the reply. Should be interesting. Why is it the rich always seem to make the decisions the middle class person has to live with?

    • Mick A October 22, 2016 / 4:38 pm

      Lynne – Thats the Golden Rule and always will be – them with the gold makes all the rules

  12. Kevin Woolsey October 19, 2016 / 7:08 pm

    I am really impressed with your letter,Jake.While i am not a farmer myself,what this carbon tax is going to achieve is absolutely the stupidest thing this federal government has ever muttered.Lord knows they have really come up with some dillies in the short time they have been in power.This tax not only affects farming,but trucking ,mining,the fuel industry,the fertilizer industry,every business not only in this province,but all across the nation.By imposing this tax,the government is virtually killing our competitive edge in the global market.apparently that is indeed what their intention seems to be. How does this tax fix the problem,it doesn’t,kind of cutting off nose in spite of face.Ludicrous. But if any of us believe that this letter will be read in parliament or at all remains to be seen,as the government doesn’t seem to know that the country extends west of Ottawa.Good Luck!

  13. robert rust October 19, 2016 / 7:18 pm

    if anybody thinks that they can control climate change better get their heads out of the sand there is no way possible they can change the weather

  14. Shane Fair October 19, 2016 / 7:26 pm

    Well
    Put Jake. We need more young folks like yourself to understand that this is a tax and nothing more. The carbon tax that the federal government wants to implement will not solve “climate change “in Canada and for that matter anywhere in the world. It will put all Canadians at a disadvantage to compete economically in the global markets. We as a people in this beautiful, diverse and entrepreneurial country need to stand up and give our federal leaders a resounding no to this proposed tax. Our elected officials tend to forget the oath of office if you will, that they “Are elected by the people, for the people”. They should live by this premise wether they are municipal, provincial and or federal officials. Let the people decide if they want a carbon tax with a referendum vote of confidence. If the present government has the conviction that this is truly the will of the people then they should be confident of a vote of confidence through a referendum vote.

  15. Shirley Fontaine October 19, 2016 / 7:44 pm

    The Liberals new dream a scheme will drive what remaining manufacturing we have left to Mexico or USA.

    We have become a communist country being controlled by a few feel gooders patting themselves on the back. They have left most of us wondering how all this happened!

    This past week are Federal announcements of the health budget being cut in half to provinces. Did they give any thought as to health costs when bringing in tens of thousands of refugees, their potential off spring, and more to come. Another pat on the back!

    What happened to the economic stimulus that was promised during their election selfies? Now with real estate sales on the decline, our economic rating has dropped. How and why should the overpriced housing market have any bearing on Canada’s economic rating! Economics should be jobs!

    I just don’t get it when I see mobs of people wanting to shake Mr Trudeau’s hand. I am actually ashamed to have him as our Prime Minister. He is on a fast train to destroying our beloved country.

  16. Sharon Adams October 19, 2016 / 9:35 pm

    You spoke from the heart and with common sense. Thank you for taking the time to put your thoughts to paper and to try and enlighten our Prime Minister on a few real facts. I fear for all of us and I am afraid nothing will sway him from his personal agenda. Good luck!

  17. John Manly October 19, 2016 / 9:37 pm

    Great letter Jake but, sadly, it looks to me as if JT really couldn’t care less about you and your farm or the West in general. I truly wish it was otherwise.

  18. Joe Arava October 19, 2016 / 9:40 pm

    How about simply refusing to pay this tax. It is extremely unlikely that they will throw all the farmers in jail, or anyone else for that matter. Canadians standing up for what is right and fair and saying ‘enough’ to greedy politicians who are high on promises but in reality only serve to serve themselves – that may wake them up and back into reality.

    • Kelly October 21, 2016 / 12:49 am

      I have thought of this too, but the tax is in things that are required for living as a cost passed on to us. Not sure how one can just refuse to pay it.

  19. Jason LeBlanc October 19, 2016 / 10:10 pm

    Jake, you hit some key points. This letter needs to be read in the House of Commons by you or your MP. I will assist in getting you there if you should choose. I don’t believe we have ever met, but we have a lot in common

    • Jake October 19, 2016 / 10:15 pm

      I have sent the letter to my MP and the Prime Minister’s office. But if you have any ideas as to how we could ensure this happens, let me know!

  20. Dale Barabe October 19, 2016 / 10:52 pm

    so glad you and Mr. Wall will stand up for all of us in saying this is an insane idea, and Mr. Trudeau had better keep his election promises to help Canadians, rather than tax them some more…GST was shoved down our throats, and what have be gotten out of that?

  21. Brian W. Allan October 19, 2016 / 11:06 pm

    I was born and educated in Saskatchewan. I tried to live through an NDP government in Saskatchewan… But was ultimately forced to move to Alberta to find work. In Alberta I’ve lived through a Liberal Federal government’s Nat’l Energy Program which devastated the energy industry in all of western Canada. Now the Liberal Fed’s are instituting another money grab which has the potential to destroy industry across Canada. What the heck are these idiots thinking!? Actually, the problem is they’re not thinking! As for the NDP government in Alberta, I don’t wish to get my post censored!!

  22. Thakur October 19, 2016 / 11:15 pm

    Absolutely points to be noted and 100% practical. I want mr. Prime minister to walk together, to work together and to stand together with all Canadians which is being canadin and Canadian leaders. Work for farmers & work for Canadian.

  23. Owen October 19, 2016 / 11:20 pm

    Not sure why you think “incentives” are better than a carbon tax; the vast majority of economists disagree with you. Putting a price on carbon is the most efficient way to get reductions, whereas subsidies often end up costing hundreds or thousands of dollars per tonne of CO2. The government of Saskatchewan can come up with their own plan (including incentives!), which is the best feature of the plan although you twist it into a bad thing. Also keep in mind that the price rises gradually, and BC already has a$30/tonne tax. Although you have legitimate and important concerns, I found your “open letter” disingenuous; it would have been better if you voiced your concerns without repeating the conservative talking points.

    • Jake October 20, 2016 / 6:59 am

      Here’s my problem with a carbon tax. It doesn’t actually force me to reduce emissions. Why? Because I can’t.

    • Paul Zwick October 20, 2016 / 8:12 am

      Wake up and figure out how economists get paid.
      They lobby for someone with an agenda. They use the supporting ‘facts’ to their advantage, ignoring the ‘facts’ that don’t support their theory.
      Follow who pays an ‘economist’ , and it will be easy to figure out who needs ‘ supporting facts ‘ to back up their plan

    • Wes October 21, 2016 / 9:24 am

      Here’s the thing Owen…these economists base their models on an “ideal world” …. when it comes to the “real world” however , it has been proven several times over that a carbon tax does not meet the expectations of their models.
      Point 2 Owen – I would be cautious of these Economic organizations, before understanding where their funding comes from.

    • Ray October 21, 2016 / 1:30 pm

      You are correct – it is up to the Saskatchewan government to develop an appropriate carbon pricing scheme. If Brad Wall gets off his butt and does that the farmers’ issues can be addr4esses. If he does not, and one is imposed by the Federal government, it may not be good for farmers. The choice is up to the people and government of Saskatchewan.

  24. Brad wells October 20, 2016 / 1:08 am

    If you want to know how bad the tax could be, check out California’s air resources board. It’s a good way to force manufacturing business and agriculture to move elsewhere.

  25. James Mayer October 20, 2016 / 3:59 am

    You also did not mention with present pubs and bars trying to remain open and the high price of beer and spirits is wiping out an industry that has been around for centuries. This has eroded a social environment I grew up with which I do not see today anywhere. That means jobs go and a total focus on money earning and a kind of disciplined dictatorial approach to lifestyles that focus only on being on this planet to work. Social life is important and keeping costs down is as well. Bravo to this Farmer for putting a very valuable lesson forward, but, alas, I fear your words are wasted on desert air. Mr Trudeau is a townie and an uneducated one at that who thinks farmers are a boorish lot. He couldn’t be more wrong. He has no policy on Canadian agriculture and never will. Give everything to the Chinese and to hell with home industries. That is not the way to go. I grew up on a farm, and farmed for 10 years on my parents farm, before heading out to the great unknown. It educated me on aspects of life, that stand to me today. I am proud of my heritage.

  26. Devil's Advocate October 20, 2016 / 6:46 am

    I have hard time sympathizing for someone who has basically inherited everything. Sounds like another trump idioism. You shouldn’t be getting rich off something given to you. Accept the fact that you have to work for your money like all the other millions of lower class in this country. You are not the only ones living to make ends meet, and you should be fortunate for what you have, while the rest of us live in our slums and not on beautiful farm land that you payed nothing for.

    • Jake October 20, 2016 / 6:54 am

      If you think I inherited everything, you have no idea how farms work. I worked hard since I was a child to have a chance to farm. We built this business together, and farming is a very tough business to make money in. Try running one before judging a farmer.

    • Nicole October 20, 2016 / 6:38 pm

      Clearly you have no idea how farming works. We buy or rent land from other farmers. Who do you think pays those bills. You don’t inharet land, you buy it from you family, your neighbour, or whoever it happens to be. How do you think farmers retire. Don’t knock it till you have either tried it, or know a little more about it.

    • Mary Miller October 20, 2016 / 9:52 pm

      You have obviously never spent time working on a farm!! Farmers work 365.25 days a year, in rain, snow, excessive heat, cold, for long hours with no vacation or sick days. Farming families are ALL expected to work together from the time they are little because there is a lot of labour needed on a farm and hiring people costs $ (also, many employees are not willing to do such hard work) Whether it be crops or livestock, there are many nights when farmers get very little sleep because their cows are calving, crops need irrigating or protection from weather conditions or an animal is sick and needs care etch. Their livelihood is affected by many things out of their control such as weather, predatory animals, insect infestations, diseases, changing climate, etc. The equipment they must purchase to be efficient and maximize their ability to be productive is extremely expensive, and if it breaks down, could shut down their operation while they work to repair it, assuming they can get parts they need. Farmers are very hard working: they & their family invest many many hours of labour day after day: they may own the land together after generations have farmed it, but it’s no cushy privileged job!

  27. chris October 20, 2016 / 6:58 am

    To start how proud i am to have fellow canadians stand and be counted against this ruthless federal powerhouse. Climate change proven or not who knows and likely nobody will. My farm operates in western manitoba and the past six years has seen some postive changes towards JTs climate plan. one pass seeding to reduce fuel comsumption costs, running mostly 2011 and newer equipment equipped with emission technology, costly maintained and unreliable technology to boot. postive changes to just one farm alone!
    Farming sectors will be effected in every aspect with a carbon tax, All inputs on farm and to the end product that has to be hauled to its destination worldwide that ultimately the farmer will pay for.
    Will a tax reduce or reverse the damage?no.
    Simply the money grab will be handed out towards useless causes instead of invested back into the country to help his fellow brothers and sisters of this green nation that contributes to less than 2% of global ghg, let me say that a tax will come regardless of any effort and will plummet canada into a recession!!!
    Farming today with the money grab awaiting me will devastate my business with a $55,000.00 tax per annum on top of all the expenses.
    Can my business survive this? absolutely it can NOT. Farming is a high risk low reward job we are controlled by weather events, grain prices and ultimately controlled by our new PM. Combined efforts for all farmers to feed the world because we love to farm and now having to farm our land for a tax that we can not afford.

  28. Jamieson October 20, 2016 / 7:23 am

    Instead of getting angry and sending hate towards the PM/federal gov’t like most of the people posting have done I applaud Jake for taking a balanced and restrained approach to this post and his comments/replies. That said it sounds like Alberta and B.C. will have exemptions for the agricultural sector so if Saskatchewan doesn’t shouldn’t you be asking Brad Wall why he’s not pushing for the same exemptions?

    https://www.thestar.com/news/canada/2016/10/03/5-things-to-know-about-canadas-carbon-pricing-plans.html

    “Who is exempt?

    Alberta and B.C. have several exemptions to the tax, such as those that apply to the agricultural sector and some air travel. Large emitters in Alberta including oilsands operations fall under a different system that sets specific emission reduction goals.

    The federal government said any carbon pricing should minimize competitiveness impacts and avoid simply driving emitting industries abroad, particularly for trade-exposed sectors.”

    • Jake October 20, 2016 / 7:28 am

      As I said in my letter, exempting Ag will not protect us. Also, it disproportionately places greater emissions reductions in other industries.

      • jamiepepper October 20, 2016 / 7:58 pm

        If the goal is to exempt the AG sector it needs to be from farm to table. Whether that means tracking your sources of carbon use over the year and getting it back in tax breaks or however it’s done doing it half-arsed won’t work. Put some pressure on Brad Wall to answer how Saskatchewan will implement exemptions and how they work in B.C. or Alberta already.

      • Jake October 20, 2016 / 9:57 pm

        My concern with this approach is the tremendous time investment required. Who will administrate this? Who will track it? What data do we use to decide how many tonnes we store versus what we emit? It will be a nightmare to administer, and what will we actually gain? It won’t reduce what we emit.

      • jamiepepper October 21, 2016 / 7:04 am

        In the case of a farm and what you’ve noted you’ve done I understand and appreciate how much work goes into limiting emissions and understand that given where technology is today there is a cost vs benefit limit and that as you’ve noted there’s only so much that can change.

        Assuming as Patrick and I have noted that Brad Wall can make it revenue neutral for yourself and other farmers I think the benefit will come from other industries outside of AG who will (as you’ve done) need to adapt their processes,facilities,etc or make steps to become more efficient overall and that’s where we will see reductions in emissions.

        I do agree with your questions. I also would like to know how things are being measured and tracked as well.

        I would hope for those who should be exempt it shouldn’t be more difficult than claiming the expenses as part of your yearly income tax that are eligible for exemption and thus refunded.

        Assuming that it isn’t a nightmare or a time suck I harken the concept of it to the MicroFit program in Ontario.

        The public has made a very clear argument that the cost per tonne to reduce GHG by using solar energy is insane (not going to pretend it isn’t otherwise) compared to the cost if they opted to retrofit existing coal plants. That said in the long run renewal sources are probably a better option overall even if some of the people reaping the benefits of MicroFit program are people like my parents with small rural farm properties that also pay the highest hydro costs.

  29. Patrick October 20, 2016 / 8:54 am

    You need to send this letter to Brad Wall. The ball is in his court for how he chooses to distribute the revenue from the carbon tax.
    If he wishes to use it to offset the carbon cost for farmers, he is welcome to build his legislation that way, and he should.
    The choices are his. The use of proceeds from the carbon is directly controlled by the province unless they choose to not take action.
    He can make it revenue neutral, he can offer tax credits to those who are affected but are already doing their part (like farmers). He can use the revenue increase to offset costs for all Saskatchewan by lowering the PST. He can create funding to help carbon emitters switch over to more efficient means through grants and stipulate they use Saskatchewan companies as part of their change (which would guarantee business for low emission energy companies in Saskatchewan and encourage that industry to call Saskatchewan home).
    This carbon tax does not need to mean more revenue generated for the province, it can be offset by reducing taxes in other areas, helping those affected by cost but who have limited capacity to contribute to lower emissions,. Brad Wall can use proceeds to encourage growth in industries help diversify Saskatchewan so it isn’t so vulnerable to changes in the world price of oil.
    The point of this tax is to reduce emissions. By increasing the cost of emissions, it encourages emitters to find more efficient low carbon methods of doing their work. If they don’t reduce emissions for whatever reason, the province wil have the funds to use to help those industries make the change and to help those who are already contributing to lower emissions.
    As for farmers, I agree, there are many things done to help conserve the environment and the revenue from this tax should be used to help farming stay sustainable. Reward farmers for efforts made, and for the undoubtedly efforts which will be made in the future as they come. Farmers are not just food. Farmers are biofuel, carbon conversion, soil protection, and environmental advocacy by nature and necessity. They are that and more. I don’t see it as fighting to make farming exempt, I see it as farming having paid in advance through steps already taken without being prodded.
    Brad Wall has the power to ensure farming contributions are recognized. I hope he takes that opportunity and shows leadership by ensuring past efforts from the farming community don’t go unrecognized. No one depends so much on taking care of the environment to ensure their livelihood as farm families. The rest of the province would do well to follow the example farmers set in environmental leadership.

  30. Rick October 20, 2016 / 8:56 am

    Jake you are exactly correct about this tax. It will change nothing environmentally. It will only hurt everyone economically. Do not forget the prime minister is only the front man it is a eastern liberal agenda to look good for the UN environmental group. Any how well said Jake and we can only hope all of Canada looks at this and sees they this ploy.

  31. Dale Robinson October 20, 2016 / 9:50 am

    Get rid of Trudeau and get some of our farmers to run the country. Not lawyers and accountants not spoiled rich anoles who doesn’t know what he meaning of honesty and work The government wants cutbacks re carbon tax Get rid of those senators who are nothing but a waste of skin That would be my first on the list to help with he carbon tax issue

  32. Quinton DeDecker October 20, 2016 / 10:02 am

    very well said jake, now us as farmers from all provinces have to band together as one big family from all aspects of agriculture to make sure that our voices are heard, the government just doesnt seem to get it that not only are the ruining a industry but 1000s of life styles and jobs. lets hope that mr tredeau and all the people up there on the hill get our message, that us as farmers are fed up with all of their regulations and the bullshit that comes along with them!! keep the farmers farming

    Quinton

  33. Jocelyne Cook October 20, 2016 / 10:45 am

    I would like to encourage everyone involved in agriculture to take the time to write a letter to Mr. Trudeau, and send a copy of your letter to your federal member of parliament and also to Mr. Wall and the ministers of agriculture . They are elected to represent the people who elected them.
    Your concerns should be their concerns.

  34. Robyn October 20, 2016 / 11:07 am

    Reblogged this on .

  35. James October 20, 2016 / 11:45 am

    I’m open to hearing a different perspective on this, but isn’t the underlying problem here the fact that business (including agriculture) built pricing models over long periods of time that didn’t factor in cost/harm to the environment? Other than creating these types of penalty type taxes to incentivise change, what alternative measure exactly is being proposed for the government to use to move industry in the right direction? Would seem to me that industry inherently isn’t built with a conscience for the environment, it’s goal is to maximize profit. This is why we have laws that restrict certain behaviors for the immediate, and taxes that act to encourage seeking to maximize profit in the direction that is in the best interest for society as a whole. We do this in countless other markets, the biggest of which being tobacco, but as soon as we try to apply the same logic to the environment nobody seems to care… We’ll pay for this one way or another realistically, whether we do it now in terms of behavior incentivising taxes, or later in terms of climate disaster (which will affect farmers tremendously by the way).

    • Jake October 20, 2016 / 12:02 pm

      Here’s what you misunderstand: farming requires a healthy environment. The better we treat our soil, the better our crops are. It goes hand in hand. We don’t need to be punished when we are already doing a good job of looking after the environment.

      • James October 20, 2016 / 2:42 pm

        Firtstly, thank you for the discourse. I’m by no means trying to disagree simply for the sake of disagreement, but rather am open to hearing other perspectives which are different to what I currently perceive while at the same time putting forth what I presently understand of the topic. That being said, I appreciate that we live in a complicated world, one with many factors to consider when trying to resolve conflicting interests, and I completely appreciate how from a farmer’s perspective (or that of likely any affected industry as a result of carbon taxing) it creates economic challenges that don’t seem to directly correlate back to the original intention. What are you to do, right? Run out and buy all new equipment? Your point stands there, you have no argument from me. But nevertheless we face great challenges ahead with climate change, and there’s really nothing that’s going to change that except for pressured change. It’s easy to point a finger at those in charge and on one hand say ‘Do something about this problem’ but on the other say ‘Leave me out of having to bear any consequence as a result of the solution’. Governments are actually quite limited in what they can do to bring about change. They can either demand it (with laws) or encourage it (through taxes, whether as penalties or incentives). As an example, you wouldn’t want a law put in place suggesting that farmers be limited to an ‘all in’ X amount of carbon emission per sq meter, with an ever shrinking cap would you? That imposes change rather than allows it to be flexible. So what’s left? Fortunately there’s the option of taxes, which nudges industry in the needed direction through economic incentive to do so. It’s industry’s job then to innovate and come up with solutions to remain profitable. I don’t doubt that this will create hardship for you personally, and I’m very empathetic to your family farm legacy and hope that you prevail. I’d even stand with you to figure out a way to try and find/create provisions that allow us to have our cake and eat it too so to speak, whereby perhaps the carbon tax is more equally weighted amongst the players, or such that farming was excluded if that was deemed as an option by people more knowledgeable on economics than you or I. I just read your story as quite a personal one, and not taking into account society as a whole and what unfortunately needs to be done to avoid catastrophe in the long term, as otherwise your children may not get that chance to grow up and farm, regardless of taxes. The world isn’t going to be the same for our generation as it was for our parents and those who enjoyed the status quo into their 70s and 80s. We’re going to face challenges, and it may not seem fair but those are the cards we’ve been dealt.

      • James October 20, 2016 / 3:32 pm

        As far as ‘already doing a good job of looking after the environment’, I have to say that while I am not personally a farmer, I have farming families in my circle, some of whom manage upwards of 30 – 40 quarter sections, and I have to say that since having known them the idea that farmers are ‘already doing a good job at looking after the environment’ is almost laughable. From what I’ve seen from not just them but numerous farmers in the area, they regularly still burn their garbage ad should they want to clean out a barn’s worth of debris/garbage they might just dig a big hole in one of the back fields and throw everything in it, When the hole is deemed full, they douse its contents in diesel fuel and burn it before filling in the hole and digging another. I could go on about some of the more deplorable things I’ve seen farmers do, but I wouldn’t want to suggest that all farmers be painted with the same broad brush, as I’m sure you’re a fine farmer and don’t take part in such activities. My point being though, that you can’t bring all farmers up to your reputable standard and then cry foul when environmental restrictions are being imposed for the good of everyone. You have to consider the greater picture, which is hard to do when you’re in suich a biased position.

    • Kelly October 21, 2016 / 1:10 am

      I read your points, but the fact remains Carbon pricing via tax or cap and trade is a highly ineffective way to create any change in behaviour or industry especially considering past regulations have already been bringing industry to better emissions. BC is a great example. Emissions have not changed since implementing the tax, and the economy’s only just now starting to regain its feet after many years of very mediocre growth. Many people now heat their homes with wood as much as possible thus emitting more CO2 as it is a very inefficient system, and inherently more dangerous.

      Jake is absolutely correct that we don’t need a tax as an “incentive” to change. Our technology has already been pushing farming and for that matter the O&G sector into more efficient realms. Better for the soil, better for the environment, less cost overall. The less cost is probably the biggest incentive. When a tax adds more cost it is punishing. How is it right to be adding a carbon price in a country where heating my home is a requirement to live not a luxery? I can’t stop heating my home, I already have upgraded to a high efficiency furnace, and I can’t not use a car seeing as where I live there is no transit and nothing within walking distance. So I get punished for living! Personally I would love to upgrade my home, better windows, doors, siding, insulation, solar panels…. In fact I have been saving for years for this very thing. My incentive I want to reduce my costs and I ultimately do want to be environmentally friendlier. Now with a carbon tax it eats into my savings and increases the costs of the very items I need to upgrade my home. Reality is I will never be able to afford it now.

      Looking at Canada as a whole… We are already finding it tough to compete in manufacturing, increasing those costs means jobs move elsewhere. Large corporations may be able to ride it out small business is stiffled if it survives at all. It kills our economy all for now impact on emission reduction, and even if there is some minor reduction in emission ultimately a 0C impact on climate change. We are better off working on industry and research for better more efficient technologies that can be applied here at home. Make alternate energies more affordable, sell our technologies to other countries who are much bigger emitters. It isn’t about doing nothing about climate change, but about doing something that actually has an effect.

  36. Nicole October 20, 2016 / 6:32 pm

    Very well said. Couldn’t agree more with you. Our family also farms as done everyone in the small community I live in. Let’s hope this gets through to Trudeau and that he does us all a favor.

  37. Lyle McGratton October 20, 2016 / 7:38 pm

    Thank you Jake for taking the time to represent farmers. My family farmed in Semans Sask for four generations in 1890 to 2008,

  38. Wes October 21, 2016 / 10:25 am

    Great statement Jake!
    If I may add :
    On Oct 5th Canada endorsed the “Paris Agreement” ,,, which is really the basis for these climate policies. I would encourage everyone to download a copy of this agreement , and read starting from page 20 to understand what is happening and why. Particular attention to Article 9 of the agreement > Climate Finance.
    In support of your argument I would also refer to a point within the Annex on page 20,
    Parties In pursuit of the objective of the Convention are :

    “Recognizing the importance of the conservation and enhancement, as appropriate, of sinks and reservoirs of the greenhouse gases referred to in the Convention, ”

    Farmland as you are aware is a huge carbon sink/reservoir. The way I see it, if a farmer is monetarily disabled by a tax, and cannot adhere to the proper conservation and enhancement of his land, then we can’t expect optimal carbon management.

    Good luck sir!

    🙂 WC

  39. Bill Martin October 21, 2016 / 10:53 am

    Here Here!! Well said Jake, although I think your biting your lip a lot and I didn’t see a lot of !@#%^ like most of us would have put in there.

    I like many Canadians don’t think about farms to much, mainly out of site out of mind, but since I have been working with a number of farms this year building safety programs to help them comply with legislation, I have a new found respect for all you guys and gals.

    Every point that all the comments I have read are valid. I myself think that our new friend (scratch that) our new PM hasn’t a clue of what he’s doing to this country. Since he has taken over the west has gone to s**t, this tax grab is way over the top and with no plan in place what can we believe in. if he said we are imposing a carbon tax and we are also implementing the following with those funds we likely would go along, BUT NO PLAN, what kind of leadership is this, can you imagine if you ran your farm like that.

    One solution, vote him out get rid of him, he’s no good for this country!! Now me biting my tongue!!!

    Another solution, he should feel the pain, you want to jet set around the world, no problem, make him pay the carbon tax out of his salary and his pension, cause lord knows the way he jets around on our dollar his salary would be gone in no time and he’d be dipping into the pension we gave him in no time.

    I have a new found respect for all you hard working farmers and your families. So, at this time I want to say “Thank You from all of us Non-Farmers for your dedication and tenacity to do what you do”

    Sincerely Mr.Safety

  40. landdesigner October 25, 2016 / 11:36 am

    Hi Jake – a price on carbon is an essential tool and one of the few levers government has to effect both demand and supply of harmful anthropomorphic emissions. In your own article here you evidence in your third paragraph why it is imperative that all levers are employed in the climate change challenges we face –

    “One bad weather event – one storm, one cold night, one windy day – can devastate us. If we don’t get a crop, our bills still have to be paid. And nature does not care one way or the other.”

    The scientific link of these climate change impacts as externalities of the past 180 years of accelerated anthropomorphic contribution to GHG’s is real and the imperative to address it is one that we must all participate in.

    Instead of asking the Prime Minister not to impose a price on carbon on activities in your province, you could advocate for an agricultural producers offset credit against your Province’s application of the carbon price.

    We can all appreciate the importance of farmers who are employing more sustainable practices and providing a vital service (and one that is undervalued in this deficient unbridled capitalism/free rather than fair market paradigm). This can and should be addressed through other program initiatives/offsets and economic construct shifts but the need to address climate change through the use of the most effective tools is over riding on all of us.

  41. Meme October 25, 2016 / 6:21 pm

    Search- Canada a carbon neutral country. Follow the science.

  42. robert murphy October 26, 2016 / 5:47 pm

    taxes,taxes and more taxes,that is all this is.make no wonder this country is becoming so uncompetitive

  43. jack grandville November 19, 2016 / 7:02 pm

    Any bets on just what, if anything, a response may say — and that will not be from Mr. Trudeau, but some lackey assigned the mission of crafting a response that will not get Mr. Trudeau in any trouble and my, if lucky, be enough to quiet the fears expressed. It will be interesting to have such a letter published here as well.

  44. michaeljlovely December 8, 2016 / 12:44 am

    How about this, instead of a tax- supply a facility for cattle to pass through after roaming and grazing. In the facility they can expell gases which in turn could be collected and housed to use as a an energy and power source. In said facility the cattle can be cared for seperated and lead back to feed on a continuous rotation. The heat generated from the facility can be used to protect crops from early frost and provide clean fuel for more efficient machinery. One facility could handle several farming sections and one storage facility could collect gases from several facilities. If this system was incorporated today it would generate countless profit for not only the farm land, but whomever had the balls to listen to what I’m saying and do it 😄

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