At the end of June, Canada was host to a meeting with the Presidents of the United States and Mexico. One does not have to read very much of their “Statement on a North American Climate, Clean Energy, and Environment Partnership” to know this declaration is full of bad news, particularly for rural Canadians.

Their pronouncement says many things. One example, under the subtitles “Driving Down Short-Lived Climate Pollutants, Reduce black carbon (soot)”, the statement reads: “we commit to significant national actions to reduce black carbon emissions in North America,… deploy renewable energy and efficiency alternatives to … firewood in remote communities.”

What does this example mean to average, middle-class Canadians?

In that statement the Trudeau Liberals have committed to come up with new ways to outlaw the use of firewood. They learned from the failed election campaign of Stephane Dion with his ‘carbon tax on everything,’ that completely banning the use of firewood is unrealistic, particularly in rural Canada. It will not be tax on firewood per se, but costly bureaucratic regulations capped off with a tax on the emissions of firewood, a ‘chimney tax’. They have promised a National Carbon Price in 2016.

In this example, this new carbon tax will be paid for by the wood lot licence holders and private wood lot owners. In turn the carbon tax will be reflected in the higher prices consumers pay. In any community, tax assessors and your insurance provider will know if you have a wood stove. Taxes can be and will be directly applied to emitters of particulates from wood burning. The move to ban woodstoves in Canada has already begun in Quebec.

The deadline to register wood-burning stoves and fireplaces in Montreal was December 22, 2015, with new emissions regulations to be implemented in 2018. Those who refuse to comply are subject to fines, and those who are willing to adjust are forced to pay for expensive modifications to their wood-burning stoves and fireplaces. Presently, transforming a stove or fireplace with inserts so that it is in compliance with the coming regulations in that city cost between $2,000 and $8,000.

What this regressive liberal tax policy does not address is the reason why more and more rural Canadians are forced to heat with wood. The Toronto liberal policy of increasing the price of electricity (well beyond the consumer price index, including wages and pensions) is causing energy poverty in Ontario, particularly among seniors and anyone on a fixed income. Many average Canadians will be forced to leave their own homes, as electricity is too expensive to use for home heating, which is the liberal ‘alternative’ to firewood.

It seems that even wood isn’t green or renewable enough anymore. Wood is the oldest heating method known to mankind and mainstay of rural homes, including many of our nation’s poorest residents. It does not make sense to apply the same stringent rules equally to heavily air-polluted cities like Montreal to the far cleaner typically colder areas such as Renfrew County and much of Eastern Ontario. Expect no common sense from a federal government so heavily in debt with its first budget.

As your Federal Member of Parliament, I am pleased to represent you on a variety of issues. Whether that issue is promoting agriculture, international trade, Canadian Unity, CNL, the military or jobs in the working forest, I am here to serve you! As always, if you have any concerns of a federal nature, or just want to share your views with me, please do not hesitate to contact my office.

Office contact Information: Constituency Office of Cheryl Gallant, MP, 84 Isabella St., Pembroke On. K8A 5S5 or call 732-4404. There is no postage required when you write your Federal Member of Parliament.

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