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Trudeau’s EV Plan Empowers China government

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Justin Trudeau likes to preach about saving Canadian jobs, but his government’s reckless new electric vehicle mandate betrays a willingness to gamble away hundreds of thousands of livelihoods while paving the way for China to dominate our future auto market, perhaps even more.

While Trudeau publicly portrays this new EV mandate as a win for the climate, one has to wonder if there are undisclosed factors at play. Is the Prime Minister once again naively trusting China’s interests over Canada’s? 

Could backroom dealings or promises with Beijing be dictating his rushed timeline to hand our auto market to China? What incentives does Trudeau stand to gain personally from deals with the CCP? 

This policy aligns so well with China’s ambitions that it raises suspicions of an ulterior political motive. Shouldn’t Trudeau prioritize Canadian jobs and manufacturing first? Without transparency, we’re left to speculate what may be going on behind closed doors driving this EV plan that sells out our domestic industry. 

The Trudeau government recently announced extraordinarily ambitious targets for electric vehicle adoption in Canada, mandating that 100% of new passenger vehicle sales must be zero-emission by the year 2035. While such goals may seem admirable on the surface as part of global efforts to combat climate change, under deeper scrutiny, Trudeau’s unrealistic timeline risks severely undermining Canada’s domestic auto manufacturing sector while handing huge benefits to China’s rapidly growing EV industry. 

Experts across the board have warned that the breakneck speed required to fully electrify new car sales in just over a decade could cripple what remains of Canada’s auto sector. Yet in Trudeau’s zealous pursuit of headlines about environmental leadership, his government appears willing to disregard reasoned voices urging a more gradual transition that protects Canadian jobs and capabilities. 

The 2035 target represents a reckless gamble with the livelihoods of hundreds of thousands of Canadian auto workers and the future of a key manufacturing sector. It reflects near-sighted virtue signaling divorced from economic realities. While the goals may play well with some progressive voters, the devil lies in the rushed implementation details that seem destined to cede Canada’s auto market to China overnight.

First and foremost, requiring 100% zero emission vehicle sales by 2035 is a completely unrealistic timeline given current realities. As critics have emphasized, the time frame does not properly account for where Canada’s domestic auto industry is starting from today. 

Electric vehicles still represent just a tiny fraction of current sales, around 5% of the market. Transitioning the entire new car market to battery-only vehicles in a little over a decade would be extraordinarily rapid by any reasonable measure. 

Major automakers like GM and Ford have their own gradual timelines for scaling EV production which are misaligned with the government’s targets. These companies expect to reach perhaps 40-50% EV sales by 2030 – half what Trudeau has mandated. Pushing domestic manufacturers too aggressively risks serious consequences.

Clearly, the 2035 goal was set arbitrarily without carefully consulting the auto industry about a prudent roadmap. Forcing the pace faster than automakers can feasibly adapt puts them in an impossible situation. Companies will be penalized for failing to meet EV sales mandates, yet the compressed timeline leaves them little choice.

Beyond the unrealistic blanket target, Trudeau’s plan does not properly account for Canada’s unique conditions that pose extra challenges to rapid EV adoption. Our nation’s large geography and cold, rural areas require vehicles with greater range capabilities compared to more compact regions in Europe and Asia. 

But current EV battery technology still cannot match the range of gasoline vehicles, especially in extreme cold which saps battery performance. Most EVs today have ranges under 400km, often much less. This leaves them unsuitable for long trips in Canada’s rural northern and remote territories where charging stations are scarce. Even in cities, winter weather cuts into real-world range.

Trudeau also glosses over the fact that electricity costs are exorbitantly high in many Canadian provinces. Quebec and Manitoba enjoy cheap hydroelectric power. But elsewhere, EV operation costs are less competitive because of electricity rates of 15 cents/kWh or higher. Cost of ownership calculations don’t always favor EVs in provinces like Ontario and Alberta where power is costlier.

A key barrier to wide scale EV adoption is lack of charging infrastructure, especially along major highways and in rural counties. Canada currently has a fraction of the chargers needed to support millions of additional electric vehicles. Building out this infrastructure will require hefty investments and take serious time.

Yet the Trudeau government seems to expect that the charging networks required for their lofty aspirations will magically materialize in 11 years. Infrastructure development does not happen overnight. It requires extensive planning, construction, and allocation of public funding. 

But officials have provided scant details about concrete plans to rapidly expand the number of chargers to make their vision feasible. Throwing unrealistic targets at the industry without a real infrastructure strategy is a recipe for failure.

Another glaring oversight in Trudeau’s EV plan is disregard for consumer affordability concerns. Electric vehicles today carry substantially higher price tags than equivalent gas models. The costs put them out of reach for many middle class Canadian households without significant subsidies.

But it is unrealistic to expect government rebates and incentives at current levels to continue indefinitely until 2035. Car buyers also consider resale value, insurance costs, maintenance, fuel savings and other factors where EVs may still be at a disadvantage.

For regular Canadians already strained by inflation and rising interest rates, these cost considerations are hugely important. Yet Trudeau seems to take it on faith that consumers will gladly buy EVs once forced to, ignoring real household budget constraints. This is the kind of tone-deaf policymaking Canadians have come to expect from Liberal elites.

Perhaps most ominously, Trudeau’s aggressive policies seem destined to cede Canada’s EV market to Chinese imports while undermining any domestic manufacturing hopes. Make no mistake, the biggest beneficiary of forcing Canada’s automakers onto unrealistic timelines will be Chinese companies already ramping up EV production at record pace.

While Trudeau pays lip service to “making EVs more affordable”, his plan will most likely make Canadians dependent on cheap Chinese EV imports instead of building our own models. Why? Because companies like BYD are churning out EVs in the hundreds of thousands from massive low-cost factories in China. 

BYD alone sold over 911,000 electric vehicles globally in 2022. Domestic automakers can’t hope to scale that fast. When tough emissions mandates kick in but consumers have few affordable Canadian EV options, they will turn to more budget-friendly Chinese imports flooding the market.

Once Chinese brands gain a foothold, they will be almost impossible to dislodge. And they have every incentive to undercut rivals by leveraging subsidies from the Chinese government that allow losing money to capture market share. Make no mistake, China covets the lucrative North American car market and Trudeau is laying out the red carpet.

But betting the future of Canada’s auto industry on China also has obvious downsides given rising geopolitical tensions. Just in the past year, China has arbitrarily detained Canadian citizens, blatantly intervened in our elections, and conducted aggression against democratic Taiwan. 

Relying on their EV exports leaves Canada vulnerable to supply chain disruptions and price manipulation. Given the choice between nurturing a domestic EV manufacturing base or outsourcing to China, the correct option is clear from both an economic and national security standpoint. 

Of course, that would require Trudeau to stand up to China – something he has proved unwilling to do throughout his tenure. But sacrificing Canada’s auto sector on the altar of unrealistically fast emissions targets reflects deeply misguided priorities. The climate crusade cannot come at any cost.

Nowhere will the impacts of Trudeau’s plan be felt more severely than in auto manufacturing hubs like Ontario, which stands to lose thousands of quality jobs. The EV transition requires fundamentally different supply chains and workforce skills compared to traditional gas vehicles. 

Battery manufacturing, software programming, and other electrical systems demand employees with different capabilities. But retraining current workers displaced by declining gas vehicle production is a monumental challenge on the compressed timeline. No matter how much funding is available, quality retraining takes time – time Trudeau’s targets do not allow.

The risk is massive layoffs of assembly line workers, machinists, and others with mechanical expertise suited for engine and transmission building. Without adequate foresight, these Canadian workers may find themselves without transferable skills for EV manufacturing dominated by Chinese imports.

Once these specialized talents leave the industry, they cannot easily be replaced. These are precisely the kinds of middle class manufacturing jobs Canada should be striving to maintain, not put in jeopardy through short-sighted policies.

The Trudeau government’s plan also glosses over the costs of transitioning to EVs, which taxpayers will ultimately bear. Converting automotive factories to electric vehicles, building charging networks, upgrading electrical grids, subsiding car purchases, and retraining programs will require billions in public investment.

Yet Ottawa does not seem to have a clear budget or funding plan in place. In typical Liberal fashion, they have put forward shiny aspirational targets with no concrete sense of how to pay the tab. The costs could easily spiral out of control and add to Canada’s debt burden if not budgeted responsibly.

Once again, average citizens will be stuck with the bill for Trudeau’s idealistic promises. Vancouver’s 2030 Olympic bid fiasco and other boondoggles are still fresh in taxpayers’ minds. Public funds would be far better spent on pragmatic programs that create jobs and opportunity for Canadians.

At its core, Trudeau’s rushed EV plan reeks of empty virtue signaling and putting optics over sound policy. It allows Liberals to claim leadership in setting aggressive emissions reduction targets on the world stage. But claiming the moral high ground means little if the implementation and impacts on Canadians are not carefully considered.

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