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LETTER: MP Mel Arnold’s carbon tax speech plays to those not paying attention

Writer questions carbon fees paid by ‘Shuswap chicken farmer’
Letter writer questions the carbon fees paid by the “Shuswap chicken farmer” referenced by North Okanagan-Shuswap MP Mel Arnold in a recent criticism of carbon taxes. THE CANADIAN PRESS/ Aleksandra Sagan

Re: MP Mel Arnold’s March 19 speech in House of Commons.

Our climate is warming. We feel the effects in our daily lives when long-term drought, wildfires and extreme temperatures affect our crops and ultimately the price we pay for food.

We know that the polluting gases causing this problem have to be reduced. We know we need a cleaner energy future to sustain our lives and the biodiversity that supports us. That’s why it was disappointing to hear Arnold’s speech to the House of Commons, demanding the removal of a hugely important fee on carbon. His simplistic response of “spike the hike” and “axe the tax” plays to those who are not paying attention.

Arnold used an example of Richard, a Shuswap chicken farmer, who supposedly spent $100,000 in carbon fees. Agreed that is a lot of money. If true, Richard is not a typical B.C. chicken producer. Farmers do not pay carbon fees on fuel for farm machinery or on biological emissions. The B.C. carbon fee for agricultural enterprises only applies to heating fuels. Based on research data from S.J. Ritchie Research Farms in Abbotsford, an average B.C. chicken producer raising 54,000 broiler chickens in 8 cycles and paying 12.39 cents/cubic metre carbon fee on natural gas could expect to pay around $4,500 in fees on their heating fuel. The very high carbon pollution payment mentioned by Arnold suggests that Richard is running an operation 20 times larger than the average B.C. operation, or he is confusing the carbon fee with the actual heating costs for Richard’s chicken barns, or it is a is highly inefficient operation.

The point of the carbon fee is to push users to reduce their carbon footprint. There are more efficient ways to heat barns but that will not be encouraged if farmers are given a pass and allowed to continue pumping carbon emissions into our air.

Our warming climate is not a partisan issue. Politicians need to get on board with the carbon pollution fee and support a cleaner energy future.

Heather Clay,


Read more: B.C. to ‘stick’ with April 1 carbon tax increase: Environment Minister

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