Why farmers are the next act of the freedom convoy

If you want to know what the next act of the so-called “freedom” convoy will be like, take a look at the Netherlands.

Over the past week, Dutch farmers have intensified their protests against the European Union’s plan to halve livestock farmers’ emissions by 2030. They have dumped manure and set fire to hay on roads to draw attention to legislation they say it will put thousands of farmers out of business forever, and has earned the backing of far-right anti-climate politicians like Marine Le Pen, Geert Wilders and Donald Trump.

“Conspiracy Theorists they have also painted the protests as an anti-system and anti-immigration movement, arguing that the government has established anti-democratic restrictions on individual freedoms.” politicalby Camille Gijs write. Sounds familiar?

To be fair, the Dutch government hasn’t exactly helped itself here. in a statement About its policy, the government said ranchers had three options: “Become more sustainable, relocate, or end your business.” That is the kind of language that is spawning conspiracy theories about climate policy and its impact on the average citizen, and threatens to set Europe on fire right now.

Canada’s agricultural emissions targets are not as aggressive as those of the Netherlands, and it’s hard to imagine our federal government saying anything remotely cavalier about the future of its farmers. Even so, the goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions from fertilizers by 30 percent by 2030 has still drawn the ire of Canada’s farmers and their political representatives.

“If you push farmers against the wall with no wiggle room, I don’t know where this will end,” Gunter Jochum, president of the Western Canada Wheat Growers Association, saying Bloomberg. “Just look at what is happening in Europe, in the Netherlands. They have had enough.

Here in Canada, the battle lines are being drawn on this issue. On the one hand, you have climate activists rightly pointing to the role of fertilizers in increasing nitrous oxide, a greenhouse gas roughly 300 times more effective at trapping heat than carbon dioxide. On the other hand, you have farmers who rightly stress their role in increasing crop yields and productivity. In the middle is a federal government that seems determined to meet its climate goals without stepping on any prominent toes.

One of them belongs to Fertilizer Canada, an organization whose members are literally in the business of selling more fertilizer. He came out against the federal government’s plan last year with a report suggesting that if Canada were to follow in Europe’s footsteps, it could cost farmers up to $48.4 billion over the next eight years due to lower crop yields.

But how Canada of the national observer Marc Fawcett-Atkinson noted in July that that was never really on the table. Fertilizer Canada’s report “was based on the premise that Canada would follow the EU’s lead and require a general reduction in fertilizer use,” he wrote. “Except the government had never said such a thing.”

Instead, the federal government wants to see a reduction in fertilizer emissions, and there are farmers, like Darrin Qualman, director of climate policy for the National Farmers Union, who believe that could help farmers cut costs and improve profit margins.

Opinion: Time will tell if they dump real manure on major highways in protest, or if we’ll just have to deal with the metaphorical version being thrown at our federal government, writes columnist @maxfawcett.

as 2022 report Farmers for Climate Solutions, there are also costs associated with inaction. Climate goals are being integrated into the purchasing decisions of companies that buy Canada’s agricultural exports, and being a higher emitting producer will quickly become a competitive disadvantage. “Other countries are already investing more per acre in agri-environmental programs,” the FCS report said, “and with no new support in the next APF [agricultural policy framework]we run the risk of losing our competitive advantage in the clean economy of the 21st century.”

There is a legitimate and important conversation to be had here about the best way, and more importantly the least expensive way, for Canada’s farmers to reduce their emissions. the appeals made by farmers for temporary relief from Canadian tariffs on Russian fertilizer imports, which have added to inflationary pressures felt by farmers, deserve a proper and speedy hearing.

But that can’t happen when politics takes precedence over politics and sucks all the oxygen out of the room in the process. And right now, the Trudeau Liberals are choking on this issue. The fact that they don’t have a single parliamentarian in any of the farming communities in Alberta or Saskatchewan surely doesn’t help. Neither does the constant drumbeat of fear and hatred directed at the federal government and Justin Trudeau by right-wing politicians and pundits who are popular in these communities.

In a recent cheepUCP leadership race leader Danielle Smith described the federal climate plan and its impact on the agricultural sector as a “direct attack on Alberta farmers,” while The lineThe co-founders of Jen Gerson and Matt Gurney I ask “What will pious climate change targets look like if they have to be compared to heaps of emaciated bodies in the developing world? Because that’s the danger.”

It’s one you can be sure the convoy and its familiar cast of local leaders and political enablers will be happy to point out in the coming weeks and months. Time will tell if they dump real manure on major highways in protest, or if we’ll just have to deal with the metaphorical version being thrown at our federal government.

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