Saskatoon

Sask. NDP calls on federal government to exempt grain drying from carbon tax

The leader of the provincial opposition is asking the federal government to rebate farmers forced to dry their grain after a wet harvest this year.

Farmers have complained tax on natural gas has cost them hundreds of dollars this year

Saskatchewan NDP Leader Ryan Meili is calling on the federal government to offer a rebate to farmers forced to use grain driers after a wet harvest season. (Bryan Eneas/CBC)

The leader of the provincial opposition is asking the federal government to rebate farmers forced to dry their grain after a wet harvest this year.

On Wednesday, NDP leader Ryan Meili sent a letter to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, asking that he send an expedited carbon tax rebate to producers using natural gas driers on their crops. 

Heavy rain and snowfall during September and October forced many farmers to harvest their crops while still wet, forcing them to use natural gas driers to salvage their crops.

"That's amounting to hundreds of dollars in added bills and added hardship to farmers," said Meili during question period.

"My question to the Premier: will he join me in that call and ask for that rebate to happen this fall?"

The Saskatchewan government is fighting the constitutionality of the carbon tax in court. The Supreme Court of Canada is expected to hear the province's challenge of the tax next month.

During question period, Meili accused Moe of not working with the federal government to protect grain growers.

While Moe agreed that the added cost of the carbon tax was hurting farmers this year, he said the province plans on focusing its attention on defeating the tax completely, rather than working within the framework.

"This is an ineffective tax," said Moe during question period. "It should not be charged on our farmers. It should not be charged on our families."

In April, the federal government imposed a carbon tax in Saskatchewan after the province refused to implement one.

Last week, Premier Moe asked for a meeting with the Prime Minister, a one-year pause on the tax and a commitment to redo the formula that determines provincial equalization payments.

Moe said the province is still on track to bring in the province's second-largest harvest on record this year.

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