Climate change is real and Manitobans are willing to do their part to mitigate it, says Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister.
“I don’t think there are many farmers left out there who don’t really have a pretty good understanding of the dangers of not addressing climate change,” Pallister said in an interview May 11. “So I don’t think we’re in denial mode. And I want to make that clear for the folks who think I am somehow reluctant to see Manitoba do its part. We want to do our part. We’re a green province. In my experience… some of the absolute best environmentalists I have ever met — the most committed stewards of the management of our resources — are farm producers.”
- Read more: Manitoba’s carbon tax better for farmers than Ottawa’s: Pallister
- Read more: Carbon tax impact discussed at sustainable energy association AGM
- Read more: Keystone Agricultural Producers adds detail to its carbon tax policy
But some people question why Canada should cut carbon emissions, never mind Manitoba, when Canada contributes just 1.8 per cent of the world’s carbon.
“We are citizens of the world,” Pallister said in response. “We have a responsibility to future generations. I haven’t met too many farmers in my life who don’t understand what stewardship means.”
A carbon tax has been a controversial topic among Manitoba farmers since last fall, with few details and arguably more heat than light. Some Progressive Conservative Party supporters have even threatened to start another right-wing party if the current government’s carbon tax isn’t to their liking.
“We haven’t had any indication from the federal government (on what it’s proposing) up until this point in time,” Pallister said when asked why his government hasn’t released details. “All of us have been dealing with uncertainty and in the dark.”
Pallister added he isn’t critical of Ottawa, given it has been consulting with the provinces and taxing carbon is a complex and important issue.
But Manitoba hasn’t been idle either, he said.
“We’ve had literally hundreds of consultations,” Pallister said. “We have been working around the province and I think many of the producers know that. We have been asking for opinions and getting feedback. Every MLA has been working their tail off.”
The Manitoba government has heard from the Keystone Agricultural Producers and other farmers. Some are “really high on a carbon tax, which really surprised me,” Pallister said.