Throwing Good Loonies After Bad

Tom Finnerty27 Apr, 2024 3 Min Read
Canada hits the accelerator.

We at The Pipeline have had a lot of good commentary lately about the long, slow, painful downfall of Electric Vehicles. The long and the short of it is that even as government mandates, whose object is to transform the existing automobile market by supplanting Internal Combustion Engine (ICE) vehicles with EVs, begin to take effect, actual EV purchases have tailed off.

Upwardly mobile suburbanites and city dwellers -- the target audience of the EV craze -- have mostly already acquired their virtue-signaling Tesla (a second car, for many of them, to park next to their gas guzzling SUV). Regular people, however, are less impressed. They find EVs too expensive or too finicky. They don't like the idea of desperately searching for a charging station on long drives -- their locations haven't been sorted by the natural selection aspect of the free market, remember -- or spending hours waiting for them to charge when/if they do find one. Or they might have any other number of reasons. The key is, they don't intend to buy an EV any time soon.

Of course, "soon" is exactly when the laws of various Western states and nations envision that all new car purchases will be electric vehicles. By 2035, to be precise. So we've been watching an ongoing game of chicken between EV-skeptical consumers (a great many of whom don't even know about EV mandates) and policy makers. One side has to blink and tap the breaks, and in many places -- including the U.K., Germany, and Italy -- it has been the latter.

Trudeau, left, with unidentified midget.

One notable exception to this rule, however, has been Canada. Ever mindful of staying on the politically correct side of international elitist opinion, prime minister Justin Trudeau has declined to change course on EVs. In fact, the Trudeau government has doubled down. Trudeau has just announced a new multi-billion dollar plan to entice Honda to build EVs in Ontario. According to the National Post: "The company is proposing four new facilities, a new assembly plant and a standalone battery manufacturing plant, as well as two facilities where Honda will partner with other firms to make the components of EV batteries." The cost on the governments side -- funded by both Federal and Ontario tax dollars -- comes out to 5 billion dollars.

Of course, says the Trudeau government and its flacks in the media, there's an upside! The facilities will produce roughly 240,000 vehicles per year -- that should go along way towards getting 38 million Canadians driving them by 2035! -- and, more importantly, it will create 1,000 jobs.

One thousand jobs for five billion dollars? It doesn't take a math whiz to notice that that works out to $5 million per job. That's an outrageous sum, even worse than the $4.3 million per job the Trudeau government committed to spend on the last major EV project, the Volkswagen "gigafactory" in St. Thomas, Ont. And that's assuming it is as many as one thousand jobs. In his response to this deal, Jay Goldberg of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation notes a Globe and Mail investigation that determined that "the government doesn’t even have a proper process in place to track whether promised jobs are actually created."

It's surprising that Trudeau is going down this route, considering his polling numbers, which indicate that he's in a very bad place going into the next election. After all, as mentioned above, even tree-hugging Germany has recently become concerned about the electoral implications of their unalloyed environmentalism. You have to wonder if Trudeau's resigned to losing, and is  now just padding his resume for his inevitable appointment to some position at the U.N., or maybe just a well-remunerated gig at some international Green racket.

If that is the case, it would mean that he's gambling Canada's future for his own benefit. That is low, but then he wouldn't the first Frenchman to look to the future of his country and say, "Après moi, le déluge."

Tom Finnerty writes from New England and Ontario.


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