The CEO of the Saskatchewan Cattlemen’s Association is in the nation’s capital this week, focused on two pieces of federal legislation.
Grant McLellan says one of the bills is C-282, a private member’s bill that he says makes it illegal for the federal government to discuss supply managed sectors during trade negotiations; the other is C-234, which is an exemption of grain drying from the carbon tax, as well as heating or cooling of livestock barns and greenhouses.
Bill 282 is currently at third reading in the House of Commons, while Bill 234 is in the Senate being debated at second reading.
McLellan says they don’t want Bill 282 to pass, arguing it’s bad trade policy and bad for the livestock sector, however, they do want Bill 234 to pass.
He says meetings with Senators and MP’s from Saskatchewan, Alberta and the Maritimes went well.
“Certainly at the Senate level there’s a good grasp of the issues, good support for the positions that we have put forward,” McLellan said. “I think everyone is kind of the same mind, in particular when it comes to supporting our agricultural sector.
“We’re very hopeful, and every meeting we’ve had so far is very supportive of moving that bill (C-234) forward…and our position on Bill 282 has really been reflected in the meetings that we’ve had so far so we’re pleased with that.
“There would be no love lost if Bill 282 happened to not go forward.” he continued.
He is hopeful the exemption will pass before Parliament rises for the summer break, especially before the fall harvest.
“There’s always backroom deals in particular with these types of political issues and discussions, and so things could move more quickly,” he said.
Should the carbon tax exemption pass, McLellan says it will provide relief for producers.
“Well certainly the cost of input and profitability is front of mind with our livestock producers, they’re margins are thing, even in the face of high cattle prices it’s those other costs that have been added on over the years, including the carbon tax, and that is really hitting their bottom line,” noted McLellan. “Certainly that exemption would be welcome news in this expensive kind of input world that our producers are tied to.”
You can hear the interview with Saskatchewan Cattlemen’s Association CEO Grant McLellan below.