Which Canadian leader will finally lay out a national plan to phase out Ontario’s auto industry? Obviously, with the auto sector accounting for half-a-million jobs in Canada, at least 1,200 Ontario parts and equipment suppliers, and about 20 per cent of Ontario’s GDP and 12 per cent of Canada’s, it’s not something we can phase out tomorrow, naturally.
But the more than two-million vehicles produced in Ontario annually burn billions of litres of carbon-heavy gasoline every year, emitting tens of millions of tonnes of carbon dioxide. This cannot go on.
Even if we could make the entire sector switch, against sensible economics, to hybrids and electric vehicles (Ontario’s factories currently only produce one of each of those), the sheer volume of carbon emissions connected to mining the metals and producing the steel, rubber and plastics for these alternate vehicles would often equal the CO2 levels spewed by the gasoline vehicles over their lifetime.
This industry has no place in Canada’s carbonless future. Any forward-thinking government would be prudent to at least begin preparing for a post-auto-sector Ontario.
So, what’s with the announcement earlier this month of the federal and Ontario governments offering Honda $84 million to expand its factory in Alliston, Ont.? Was it a massive bureaucratic error? Days later, the prime minister was unambiguous at his listening tour stop in Calgary: “I have talked repeatedly about the fact we need to get off of fossil fuels.” Surely he hastily cancelled the cheque before Honda cashed it.
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