OTTAWA—An intense Canadian lobbying effort to woo Volkswagen to build an electric vehicle battery plant in Ontario began more than a year ago, and ended with an hour’s notice on Monday when the global automaker finally made its decision public.
The German-based company capped months of speculation with a simple news release out of its headquarters in Wolfsburg. No fanfare or fancy political photo op with top global auto executives, the premier, the prime minister or the ministers who crisscrossed the Atlantic to plead Canada’s case even as the United States also fiercely competed for Volkswagen’s attention.
That political show is still to come. Even when it does, many of the big numbers — particularly, how much taxpayer money governments put on the table to lure Volkswagen here — may not be fully known.
Faced with demands Tuesday for transparency, federal and provincial government officials say that’s because they are still at the height of sensitive and competitive commercial talks to persuade other companies to come here rather than to the U.S.