Blaine Calkins
Member of Parliament for Red Deer - Lacombe

2017-10 (October)

Liberals Wage Financial War Against Canadian Farmers

Money doesn’t grow on trees, nor does it grow in the fields that Canadian farmers toil over day and night. Yet the Liberals are waging a financial war against Canadian farmers, jeopardizing the existence of generational farming in Canada. 

Merely 2 years into the Liberal mandate and Justin Trudeau has branded farmers as tax cheats, imposed a carbon tax that will be financially detrimental to the agriculture industry, moved to end the use of
deferred cash tickets and most recently proposed tax reform legislation that will hinder farmers’ ability to pass along generations of farmland to their children. 

On July 18th, 2017, the Minister of Finance announced his intention to eliminate certain tax measures that allow Canadians to avoid higher tax rates. Much concern has been raised pertaining to provisions of this
legislation that would make it more costly to pass along the family farm through succession than to sell to a 3rd party corporation. Demonstrating further disregard, Minister Morneau limited the consultation period to 75 days and conducted it during harvest, hoping farmers wouldn’t notice before the October 2nd deadline. With over 25 percent of family farms incorporated in Canada, the Liberals are hiding behind the veil of harvest rather than face the grave concerns that implementing this legislation will cause for generations to come.  

This is not the first time the Liberals have blatantly suppressed the voice of farmers. Justin Trudeau prevents the Canadian Agriculture Minister from having a seat at the negotiating table when it comes to trade talks. Consequently, priorities of trade deals such as the North American Free Trade Agreement do not advocate for greater market access for our farmers and set out no framework to protect our industry at home. Japan has raised tariffs to 50% on Canadian frozen beef, a matter that would be rectified if trade talks with Japan were given focus through either bilateral discussions or moving forward on the Trans Pacific Partnership agreement. The pulse sector continues to be faced with uncertainty about their access to India on
fumigation concerns, a process that’s not necessary in Canada because of our cold climate. Italy erected a non-tariff trade barrier in labelling on Canadian pasta, and yet on all of these serious trade issues the Minister of Agriculture is nowhere to be seen to advocate for the voice of Canadian farmers.

Agriculture is a substantial contributor to the Canadian economy, generating direct and indirect benefits of $30 billion for the agriculture sector and over $65 billion for the food manufacturing sector. Moreover,
Canada’s Agri-food sector is heavily reliant on trade and global market access.  In 2015, Canada exported over $60 billion agriculture and agri-food products, more than half of everything produced is exported.

Conservatives recognize that farmers are the backbone of our country and a major driver of our economy. Under the previous Conservative government we achieved the most ambitious trade agenda Canada had ever seen. Over a 10-year period, free trade agreements were successfully negotiated with 46 different countries, bringing the total number of countries Canada has trade agreements with to 51. Western grain farmers were finally granted marketing freedom through the commercialization of the Canadian Wheat Board, along with greater access to rail transportation under the Fair Rail for Grain Farmers Act; Lifetime Capital Gain Exemption was increased to $1 Million, which is now at risk under the tax reform legislation, and the AgriMarketing program was expanded to promote high quality Canadian agricultural products around the world; Country of Origin Labelling was successfully defeated, a strong message of the strength and unity between the Conservative government and Canadian agriculture industry as a whole. 

Every Canadian works hard to pass on a legacy to their children and grandchildren, a sense of family heritage and tradition. Our farmers are constantly faced with the relentless unpredictability of harsh
weather and disease that can send a farm into turmoil. The Government needs to nurture and grow the family farm through investment, innovation and greater access in the global marketplace. Justin Trudeau’s policies hurt the very people he claims to help. He and his Liberals need to find a new solution to their uncontrolled spending problem and end the financial war against Canadian farmers.

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Blaine Calkins - Member of Parliament for Red Deer - Lacombe