Bill C-234 is headed back to the House of Commons

The original bill to remove the carbon tax on natural gas and propane used for on-farm use for grain drying, irrigation, heating, and cooling livestock barns and greenhouses was amended yesterday in the Senate.

The Senate voted 40-39 to pass the amendment put forward by Quebec Senator Pierre Dalphond to remove barns and greenhouses from the legislation.

Conservative Senator David Wells introduced the Bill in the Senate and says this is a gutting amendment that now really damages the bill.

"What this amendment did it removed barn heating and cooling and greenhouse heating from that equation. So now, farmers and ranchers who have to house their livestock and heat there barns in the winter and cool their barns in the summer, they now have to continue paying the carbon tax on those heating and drying units. Which is really difficult at the best of times. We know especially on the prairies, the winters are cold and the summers are hot. You need to be able to have temperature control to keep your chickens alive, you know your hogs. This is a gutting amendment that really damages the bill. So grain drying has the exemption, but for those farmers who have to heat or cool barns, they lose that opportunity to get an exemption on the carbon tax."

Wells says the impact for those producers having to pay that carbon tax only damages their bottom line,  adding that he talked to one producer who told him he paid $4300 last week in carbon tax.

He says for some the carbon tax amounts to thousands of dollars, for others, it's hundreds of thousands of dollars. 

Wells says after Tuesday's vote he received several messages, phone calls, emails, and text messages from farmers, ranchers, and growers saying how disappointed they were with the Liberal actions.

"We had ministers calling so-called independent senators. So, Minister Guilbeault, and Minister Wilkinson calling independent senators saying, please vote with the government, please vote the government's wishes. Even though the House of Commons voted this bill through, of course not with the support of the Liberals, but with the support of the Greens, the Bloc, the NDP, and the Conservatives. And I'm told by Senators, that they received calls on Sunday from the Prime Minister himself. "

He says they knew it was going to be a close vote anyway, but he was confident they were going to win the vote, but now feels after hearing about the Sunday calls from the Prime Minister, the writing was on the wall.

Wells says he's certain the bill will die by process., and that's the way the Liberal government wanted it.

"The Prime Minister made a statement saying there'll be no more carve-outs, and this clearly is a carve-out for our farmers, ranchers, and growers and their grain dryers. He doesn't want to see this happen."

To hear Glenda-Lee's conversation with Senator Wells click on the link below.