Escalator tax hurts farmers

My office, which serves the large Central Okanagan-Similkameen-Nicola riding, maintains a 24/7, 365-day-a-year telephone answering service to ensure accessibility.

This is driven by my belief that all citizens should be heard, including those unable to communicate during standard work hours due to work or caretaking commitments.

One such group of individuals who have voicing their concerns to me while working around the clock are farmers. Many have shared with me that they anticipate a devastating 80-100% expected loss of their crops due to this year’s cold snap. While the total damage is still unknown, preliminary reports are alarming.

The provincial government runs a crop loss program, significantly underwritten by the federal government. However, the process from initial assessments to receiving the cheques can take considerable time, as the wheels of government move slowly. This poses challenges for small and medium-sized farm operations, potentially causing major short-term cash flow issues.

Farmers, already dealing with crop damages, are bracing for another challenge.

On April 1st, the federal carbon tax and B.C.’s provincial carbon tax will rise from $65 to $80 per tonne, as mandated by the Trudeau Government. This represents an increase of over 20% in the carbon tax, surpassing the current inflation rate.

While certain farm fuels are exempt from this tax, other inputs like fertilizers, natural gas for heating barns, and diesel for transport, are all subject to the carbon tax. These additional costs contribute to higher prices for Canadian produce, causing inflation at your local grocery store and makes Canadian agriculture exports less competitive against countries without a carbon tax.

Our Conservative official opposition caucus will continue to oppose carbon taxation. My focus this week, however, is on the annual excise escalator tax established by Trudeau in 2017.

Those involved in value-added agricultural businesses like wineries are particularly affected.

Products produced after April 1st will be subject to a 4.3% increase due to Trudeau Government’s automatic “excise escalator tax” on beer, wine, and spirits. This tax, which increases annually and is pegged to inflation, does not require a parliamentary vote, essentially bypassing Parliament.

I have strongly opposed this form of taxation without representation and at the time put forward a motion to block its adoption.

Unfortunately, the Trudeau Government used its majority to legislate this excise escalator tax.

Given the current crisis in our local agricultural sector and ongoing negative impacts of carbon tax increases on farmers, now is not the time to further increase excise taxes.

If the escalator tax increase were debated in the House, a vote could be held, allowing constituents to hold their Members of Parliament accountable for their vote.

My question to you this week is:

Do you support this automatic escalator tax? Why or why not?

You can reach me at or toll-free at 1-800-665-8711.