Dec. 7, 2020

Building electric cars in Canada is key to reaching climate goals

Canada does not have a car problem. We have a problem with self-styled eco-freaks who believe they have a right to coerce and shame other people into reducing carbon emissions to “save the planet”. They are in a snit because COVID-19 has dominated the news cycle this year. Suck it up, buttercup. We have a ruined economy and horrendous unemployment problem to deal with first.

Our world has sharply changed. People no longer trust governments to provide security against epidemics. Ten months of draconian regulations, loss of income and savings, mixed messaging, frustration and uncertainty have shown us that they are inept and uncaring.

We live in a fiercely competitive world. If auto manufacturers can build vehicles in Canada and remain competitive and profitable, they will. It costs a few hundred million to create an automaking facility. The facility has to market enough vehicles to make the construction investment pay off. Canadians do not buy enough cars each year to sustain multiple manufacturing plants.

Canadians buy SUVs and half-tons because they are economical, cheap to insure, maintain and run, and have a reasonable useful life. Most of us avoid replacing our cars every second or third year to stay trendy.

If it was not for the auto-pact, now rolled into NAFTA, Canada would not have an auto sector or Canadian plants. Autos made in Canada include the Cadillac XTS, Chevrolet Equinox, Chevrolet Impala, Chevrolet Silverado, Chrysler 300, Chrysler Pacifica, Dodge Caravan, Dodge Charger, Dodge Challenger, Ford Edge, Ford Flex, Ford GT (if you have a spare $500K+), GMC Sierra, Honda Civic Sedan, Honda Civic Coupe, Honda CR-V, Lexus RX350 and RX450, Lincoln Nautilus, Lincoln MKT, Lincoln MKX, Toyota Corolla and Toyota RAV4.

Most are in the category that causes sneers from the Clean Energy Canada section of Simon Fraser University. Good thing they don’t run the country.

Most of us cannot afford a new vehicle. Few of us are willing to buy a car on an 84-month never-never (finance) plan. The vehicle may be a pile of junk before it is paid for. We will use our current vehicle until the wheels fall off and buy a used replacement when we must. That is reality.

The crowd that holds demonstrations demanding that others pay various taxes and fees to save the world from some paper tiger politicians have invented can sit down and shut up until they can guarantee that their grand plans will work.

One day my children will see democratic governments regretting the day they adopted Greta Thunberg as their mascot and poster girl. Greta vividly portrays their petulant, childish demands and refusal to accept the duties and responsibilities of governance by and for the people.