Are Manitobans tired of suffering from high food prices at the grocery store? Well, the feds believe it is your God-given right to suffer even some more as they impose ever more onerous climate policies on farmers.
The federal government announced it has plans to reduce fertilizer-related carbon dioxide emissions 30 per cent from 2020 levels by 2030 at a recent meeting with other levels of government. Agricultural producers immediately warned Ottawa this move would cut farmer’s incomes by reducing outputs while pushing up by prices at grocery stores.
Yes, you heard that right – Ottawa’s plan will reduce food output during an affordability crisis.
The problem is simple – lower co2 emissions means reduced fertilizer use which will mean less food produced. Farmers across Manitoba and in the other Prairie provinces immediately warned the federal government this policy is wrongheaded and would negatively impact food security.
So far, nothing has dissuaded this climate-obsessed government from its plan.
This is not to say the Manitoba government has been sitting by and doing nothing. It – along with counterparts from the other Prairie provinces – have been sending strongly worded letters to the federal government. However, the province needs to do more.
If the feds don’t withdraw this initiative, things will get much worse. Ottawa’s climate-related policy on cutting fertilizer use is the same policy Holland’s government recently introduced sparking mass protests across that country.
Canada has about 650,000 farmers compared to 200,000 truckers.
Does Ottawa wish to see protests across Canada that would be much larger than the Trucker Freedom convoy protests? That historic effort provoked the gross over reach of the swiftly rescinded Emergencies Act, caused the Conservative Opposition to ditch their leader, and much more significantly ultimately ended the chaotic and damaging Trudeau government lockdown and vax mandate policies. One hopes they listen to producers and the provinces and withdraw this misguided move before things get bad.
In late July, Manitoba’s premier and the provincial minister of agriculture sent a joint letter to Ottawa protesting the government’s policy.
It says: “Already facing skyrocketing energy costs, Manitobans cannot afford even more expensive grocery prices. Your government’s national emissions reduction targets are being brought forward at the worst possible time. They will negatively impact producer yields, which will mean higher grocery bills and less food security for families. This cannot be another blow to the affordability of raising a family in Manitoba.”
The letter is a good start. It does address the core issues but it needs to be accompanied by action, real pressure even legal action.
This federal government evidently believes that anyone can be sacrificed on the altar of carbon dioxide reductions, particularly average families that are already facing record energy and food prices.
Again, like much of Canada’s emissions plans, this is another issue of all pain, no gain. Even if one bought into the government’s policy rationale that carbon dioxide is pollution, Canada’s contribution to co2 emissions is negligible on a global scale
Now that protests over pandemic mandates and restrictions are largely over, Canadians don’t need a government-created food affordability crisis to spark new even more intense protests across the country, as has been the case in the Netherlands.
Expect another Freedom Convoy replay if it doesn’t reconsider this ill-advised move. This time it could be fatal for our climate obsessed PM.
Joseph Quesnel is a senior research associate with the Frontier Centre for Public Policy.