Editorial Cartoon by Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Saturday April 28, 2023
Poilievre’s Sour Taste Can’t Dim the Love between Ford and Trudeau on EV Battery Deal
The recent announcement of the new Volkswagen battery plant in Ontario is a milestone moment for Canada’s electric vehicle supply chain. It will create 3,000 direct and 30,000 indirect jobs and attract billions of dollars in investment. The federal government, along with the Ontario provincial government, has committed $1.2 billion in capital costs and production subsidies to make this happen. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Ontario Premier Doug Ford were beaming with pride at the launch, both claiming credit for securing this deal for Canada.
However, Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre was not happy with the announcement. Even before the exact size of the dollar figure was known, he criticized the deal, demanding to know how many jobs the government was buying. He took to Twitter to express his opposition, stating that “this money belongs to Canadians, not to a foreign corporation, not to Justin Trudeau.” His criticism drew a sharp response from Trudeau, who accused him of stoking anger among Canadians and of having no confidence, hard work, optimism, or willingness to invest in Canadians.
It’s not surprising that Poilievre is opposed to the deal. He has been a vocal critic of government subsidies, arguing that they are a waste of taxpayers’ money. However, he seems to be missing the bigger picture. The Volkswagen battery plant is a strategic investment in Canada’s future, and it will create much-needed jobs and economic growth. The government’s investment in the plant will be recouped in just five years, according to the federal government. This is a smart investment in Canada’s future that will benefit all Canadians, not just the ones who will be directly employed at the plant.
The contrast between Poilievre’s sour taste and the love between Ford and Trudeau on the EV battery deal is striking. Ford and Trudeau were united in their enthusiasm for the project, both claiming credit for securing the deal for Canada. They were joined by a host of federal, provincial, and municipal politicians, all eager to get a piece of the good publicity. It was a moment of unity and optimism, a sign that Canada can compete in the global economy and attract investment.
Poilievre’s criticism is not constructive. It’s easy to criticize from the sidelines, but it’s much harder to come up with a better plan. The Volkswagen battery plant is a game-changer for Canada, and it shows that the government is serious about investing in the future. It’s time for Poilievre to get on board and support this project, rather than trying to tear it down. Canada needs more unity and optimism, not anger and cynicism. (AI)