Manitoba premier says grain-drying would be exempt from a Manitoba carbon tax

Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister is pitching his plan for a carbon tax to agricultural producers as a much better alternative than the current federal one.

Pallister told an agricultural exposition that he would exempt grain-drying costs from a provincial carbon tax, unlike the federal tax.

Farmers in much of the West have faced steep bills as they use natural gas and propane to dry their grain after a soggy harvest.

Keystone Agricultural Producers, the province’s largest farm group, says corn producers alone are paying about $1.7 million in carbon tax this year and they face competition from United States producers, who do not pay the tax.

The group’s president, Bill Campbell, says Pallister’s promise is a step in the right direction.

Pallister has rejected federal demands for a carbon tax, but is now raising the possibility of hammering out a deal with Ottawa.

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