Estevan farmer and auctioneer makes agriculture’s case against carbon tax at convoy rally

Jason LeBlanc explains how carbon tax will drive up costs for farmers

OttawaThe rally on Parliament Hill on Feb. 19 was the climax of the United We Roll! Convoy for Canada! to Ottawa. One of the lengthiest speeches was presented by Estevan farmer and auctioneer Jason LeBlanc, who had a semi and grain trailer decaled to express agriculture’s concerns about the carbon tax, among other issues with the current federal government.

For LeBlanc, this came just five weeks after he questioned Prime Minister Justin Trudeau at a town hall session in Regina.

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With regards to this convoy, LeBlanc said he would take his truck to Parliament Hill and park it right in front. That truck, driven by Jake Fast, was parked right at the gates, surrounded by counter-protesters who got an earful of airhorn.

Standing on the lawn of Parliament Hill, here’s LeBlanc’s speech, speaking about the impacts of carbon tax on agriculture, the impacts of the Trudeau government energy policies on Estevan, and climate change It is presented verbatim:

 

The naysayers said it couldn’t be done. The keyboard warriors called us racists, bigots and any other names they could think of. The protesters tried to stop us but our little peaceful convoy made it!

My name is Jason LeBlanc, and I am here today as a fourth generation farmer, standing here united with agricultural producers across Canada, who wish to secure a future for our children and grandchildren, that is affordable and sustainable.

There is a common misconception, that those of us in the Agriculture industry are uneducated. We are not! In order to be successful in our industry we must possess management skills, marketing skills, and develop traits that are closely related to those of veterinarians, crop scientists, agronomists, economists, meteorologists, climate scientists, and trades people. In fact, more than ever before, we are highly educated, skilled farmers and I am proud to be a part of that collective.

I am here to let all of Canada and Prime Minister Trudeau know, that farm families and those who work in the oil industry are human. We work just as hard as anyone else. We pay taxes, contribute to our communities, and we know what it takes to make the world go round.

The contributions that agriculture and oil make to the overall well-being of Canada are immeasurable, and they create many benefits to other sectors including energy, service, food, hospitality, construction, health, education, manufacturing, safety, distribution and trucking, trades, and sales.

I am proud of the relationship that coexists between agriculture and the oil industry. Farmers work together with the oil industry to allow access to their land for the purpose of drilling wells. Once the oil is refined into a usable fuel, the ag producers purchase it, and use it to create a sustainable food supply for our country. Agriculture does not exist without oil and oil cannot be refined without access to agricultural land.

In my hometown of Estevan, Saskatchewan, we are known as the Energy City. We are proud of that claim and proud of our city, but Prime Minister Trudeau’s policies have had profound impacts on our community. The state of uncertainty has clouded investments, killed jobs, eroded community support for programs, made it difficult for businesses to obtain and retain qualified employees, decreased property values and turned people’s dreams and hopes of an amazing life into a nightmare.

Day after day our industries continue to fall victim to the Trudeau Government and their ridiculous notion that budgets will balance themselves.

Bill C-69 and C-48, if passed, these bills will hinder the ability to extract Canada’s resources from Canadian land, through our highly regulated industries to meet the high demand and the ability to compete on a global stage. Our inability to do so and get resources to market will ultimately reduce the national revenue, impacting all areas of our country from healthcare to infrastructure to equalization payments. Caught in the crosshairs of these detrimental bills will be the agriculture industry which will face increased operating costs, taxes and regulations which will then see the unfortunate loss of farmers and the rising costs will be passed on to all Canadians, rural and urban!

Climate change

After going through more name changes than a Government Department, climate change continues to be the main force behind these bills of economic destruction. I am not a climate change skeptic or a denier. I strongly believe that climate change goes in cycles, and will continue to do so; however, I am a “man-made-climate change- doomsday denier”.

All too often we hear the comment from politicians and the media that “97 per cent of scientists agree that climate change is real,” yet, they do not explain what that means. Alex Epstein from Prager University states that when we hear this quote we need to ask,

       1. What do the scientists agree on and,

       2. How do they prove it?

He also states that we should be more scared of losing the proven benefits of fossil fuels because they are cheap, plentiful and reliable; more so than the unproven negative climate change accusations that they supposedly create.

Let’s not forget Al Gore and his global warming predictions. If those models had been true, I wouldn’t be standing here bundled up in a winter parka, toque, mitts and a Saskatchewan Bunny Hug. I should be standing here in my flip flops and shorts while reading this speech. He utilized fear to make sure that he capitalized on the issue.

Will Happer, Physicist and Professor at Columbia and Princeton Universities states that, and I quote, “aside from the human brain, the climate is the most complex thing on the planet. The number of factors that influence the climate: the sun, the earth’s orbital properties, oceans, clouds, and yes, industrial man, is huge and enormously variable…” end quote.

This means that computers cannot accurately predict climate change because there are too many equations involved to do so accurately. He gives the example that Hurricane Irma’s path in 2017 which could not be predicted accurately two days ahead with real time data being collected, which begs the question, how can we predict climate change decades from now? Happer also states that water (H20) has a greater effect on the heating and cooling of the atmosphere than C02.

Moreover, The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change published in their Third Assessment Report that and I quote, “In climate research and modelling, we should recognize that we are dealing with a coupled non-linear chaotic system, and therefore that the long-term prediction of future climate states is not possible.” End quote.

Citizens who believe in the ideas of man-made climate change are quick to refute points, with the first Google result they find that supports their argument. They do not take the time to research the entire issue and respond with independent thought and support it with facts.

As farmers, our livelihood depends on being good stewards of the land that we love. We need to know weather patterns, plant diseases, soil quality, and potential for drought or flood as our budgets depend on it. It is through this knowledge that we all can continue to provide food for Canada successfully and safely.

The ag industry has been well ahead of the game, in environmental issues. We have embraced zero till, crop rotations, cover crops, GPS technologies, auto steer, irrigation, precise farming, shelter belts, pest control, the list goes on. We have paid dearly for forced technological advancements in equipment to satisfy government regulations. Where is the credit for that? Our agriculture industry has been successful through these practices and have reduced carbon from the atmosphere. To the surprise of many, we have found useful ways to use CO2 in other industries. When will Mr. Trudeau and Ms. McKenna take note of these accomplishments and acknowledge that Canada is not the issue in climate change? If one truly believes global CO2 emissions are the problem, then what really matters is results achieved by the top emitting countries like China and the US.

Ultimately, we all know after taking a simple science class that CO2 is needed, it provides life for plants and living organisms. Life does not exist if it was not for CO2. After all, profitable greenhouses pump CO2 into greenhouses for the plants that are later sold as food products.

It is time for Canada to acknowledge what is happening. A culture of fear is being created through negative rhetoric in regards to climate change, making way for the acceptance of Liberal ideology. Even though Canada is responsible for a said 1.7 per cent of the global emissions, we are allowing Justin Trudeau to advance his personal agenda and future promotions, at the cost of the agriculture and oil and gas industries, the future of western Canada, and more importantly, the entire Canadian economy.

Carbon tax

The carbon tax is not a price on pollution. It is a price on industry. It is a tax all Canadians will pay dearly for due to out of control spending by the Trudeau government and the belief that budgets will balance themselves.

The cost of living will increase dramatically. This tax will be applied to almost every product I use on the farm including gas and home heat. This is what will happen to me, and I assume will be reflective of everyone right across Canada.

My local rural municipality’s fuel expenses will increase so that will mean I will pay higher property taxes.

My local leisure centre heating expenses will increase so that will mean I will pay higher sports fees for my kids.

My local grocery, hardware, and clothing store’s transportation expenses will increase so that will mean I will pay more for my goods.

My local farm dealership’s manufacturing fees will increase so that will mean I will pay more for machinery and parts.

My local healthcare and education services will cost more to provide so that will mean I will pay higher provincial taxes.

My local gas station, coffee shop, hairdresser, dentist, electrician, carpenter, realtor, and the list goes on, operating expenses will increase, so that will mean I will pay more for every service I need.

As a farmer I have no one to pass my added expenses to, but you better believe that once products leave the producer or manufacturers that you will all pay for the added cost of a carbon tax.

Many questions are being raised based on Justin Trudeau’s claim that this is a revenue neutral tax. How will the government rebate families for more than they pay? Where does the extra money come from? Is this just a redistribution of wealth or a form of social welfare? We know that our country cannot afford the maximum price it needs to charge in order to hit the Paris Agreement Targets, so why are we doing this?

This tax will continue to put Canada in an unfair trading position, and is forcing our industries and jobs elsewhere, where the environmental regulations are inferior to ours. This tax will not only phase out the fossil fuel industry here but also phase out the very standard of living, that Canada is admired for.

The ultimate truth is that this is a tax mechanism in place of a hike on the GST. How, you ask? On every bill you receive you will have a carbon tax and 5 per cent GST will be added to that amount. How is that additional 5 per cent we are charged going to be returned to us?

Clean coal

My hometown of Estevan, Saskatchewan, is home to the world’s first clean coal carbon capture and storage project. According to SaskPower since its inception in 2016 and as of December 2018 the Facility has captured 2 465 333 tonnes of carbon which is the equivalent of taking approximately 616 333 cars off the road and that is just through one unit. There are possibilities in Canada and around the world that we could take this technology, sell the idea and enhance the fossil fuel industry, not shut it down.

If industry is as supportive as Mr. Trudeau states, then allow industry to make the changes and develop the solutions to meet the requirements that you have signed us on to. Taxing us is not the answer.

Mr. Trudeau, there is a movement rising against your so-called price on carbon, and it started in my home province of Saskatchewan, now PEI, Manitoba, Ontario, New Brunswick and eventually Alberta will join. Ontario once tried to be a climate change leader, how did that work out for them?

British Columbia who has chosen to enact the Carbon Tax just received devastating news as reported in the Vancouver Sun in January of 2018 that the province for the year of 2015 had seen an increase of 1.6 per cent in emissions over the previous year. The tax is not an effective way to reduce emissions.

For more proof let’s take a look at Australia. In 2012 they introduced a carbon tax program, only to repeal it two years later. Chris Berg, with the Institute of Public Affairs in Melbourne Australia issued a warning to Canada and I quote “Many Australians faced high energy bills and job losses as a result of our carbon tax. The (Australian) government was forced to create heaps of new bureaucracy, rebates, free carbon credits and red tape just to deal with the fallout from the tax. And worst of all, it did virtually nothing to impact global climate change. Canadians should not follow us down this path”. End quote.

So Justin Trudeau, knowing full well that this will end the agriculture industry and food supply for our own country. Why would you turn against your own people and still pass this tax?

Conclusion

Justin Trudeau, Western Canada has always been an economic powerhouse in our country, but today we stand broken because of policies that “are for the good of the globe.” There have been times in the past when Eastern Canada has had to rely on the power of Western Canada for survival, and we have always welcomed them with open arms because we are one country. The very resources which provided for a better way of life, is now despised by you. It is time for the narrative to change. Our industry is not a dirty industry, but rather one of Black Gold. That gold has been used to finance government spending for many years. How will we be able to continue to finance those areas if you are denying the use of Canada’s natural resources? It is unfortunate that your government, as Rex Murphy puts it “disvalue the things that count.”

You have set unrealistic climate targets. Even you have said if Canada shuts down all industry, it would not have an impact on overall global emissions.

You cannot announce policy changes to our energy and ag sector without allowing time for the needed infrastructure to replace it. Ms. McKenna states, that your environmental plan will grow the economy and keep life affordable. How did that work in Ontario? Please do not confuse motion with progress.

This tax is one that must continually increase to hit unrealistic climate targets and will bankrupt industries as it increases. There is no end in sight. The ultimate goal is that you will have control over all industry, attempt to be successful with your urbanization plans and manipulate society through basic human needs and make the globe a one world government.

Your solar panels, windmills, hydro plants, and electric cars are not 100 per cent green as you claim them to be. How are the chemicals mined to make solar panels? How are those chemicals safely recycled after their use? Where does the steel come from that windmills are made of and the oil needed to operate them? Hydro plants are made out of concrete. What comprises concrete? Fly ash. And where does fly ash come from? It comes from coal. Electric cars have lithium batteries, plastic bodies, rubber tires…all oil industry by-products.

Canada is resource rich. If we do not develop our resources we will be paying a high price to those countries who know, that 86 per cent of the energy used in the world comes from fossil fuels and the demand is always increasing. Instead of being grateful and using these plentiful and cheap resources to benefit ourselves and the rest of the world, we are shamed for our bounty, and told to leave it in the ground. Prime Minister, you continually talk about how it is Canada’s role to do many things because we are a leader and viewed as one by the world. This too means that we need to be world leaders in our ability to extract our resources and use them to our national benefit and provide them to the rest of the world.

Today is the day that we remind you, Mr. Prime Minister, that you work for all of Canada. We are here to let you know that the Carbon Tax, Bill C-69 and C-48 will be the ultimate demise of the energy and agricultural sectors - the very sectors that provide a large portion of equalization payments to our country.

It is you, Mr. Trudeau, who is single-handedly responsible for the division in our country. Mr. Trudeau, we drove across Canada to deliver these speeches on Parliament Hill in an effort to dispel the myths and unite Canada. You have pitted Canadians against each other, and have tried to capitalize on this division. As this convoy drove through each community people showed immense support and encouragement right across the country. Time and time again, the convoy heard that the division in Canada is caused by you.

You may not remember me Mr. Trudeau, but at a Regina town hall meeting, I asked you a question on why carbon tax will be charged in Canada and you turned my question around and showed me no respect by saying “The question that was asked is how do we put a price on pollution?” That was not what I asked and people do notice when you don’t answer their questions. So I ask again, what’s the real reason carbon tax will be charged in Canada?

The election this October will be the most crucial of our lifetime. It is imperative that everyone get out to vote. We need to make our voices loud! Volunteer for your candidates and let’s make sure we can move Canada forward in all industries. It is time to put the grain on the train.

 

 

United We Roll! Convoy to Ottawa stories:

United We Roll! rally on Day 2 a quieter affair

Estevan farmer and auctioneer makes agriculture’s case against carbon tax at convoy rally

United We Roll! convoy rallies on Parliament Hill

United We Roll convoy reaches Arnprior, just outside Ottawa

United We Roll! convoy rolls through the prairies on its way to Ottawa

Convoy update: down to the wire, things are coming together

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