The MP for Ontario's Windsor West is calling on the federal government to increase its zero-emission vehicle incentives in Canada to match the proposed U.S. incentives.
Brian Masse, the NDP's industry and international trade critic, on Monday responded to U.S. President Joe Biden's Build Back Better Bill, which is awaiting Senate approval.
Masse and Unifor want Canada-U.S. harmonization of the incentives, which would include them applying to all vehicles built in this country.
The U.S. proposal would sees the current electric vehicle (EV) incentive of $7,500 US increase by $4,500 for Americans purchasing American, union-made vehicles, and another $500 for American-made batteries, bringing the total incentive to $12,500.
In Canada, the zero-emissions incentive for all vehicles can be up to $5,000 Cdn, and the only Canadian-made vehicle is the Chrysler Pacifica.
Masse pushes for government action
"Canada has spent years on the defensive, reacting to automotive announcements like plant closures and job losses, after the decisions were already made. And here we go again with our government reacting to news that the U.S. incentive will effectively penalize our local workers and Canadian products, and the Trudeau Liberals are waiting to litigate for violations in trade agreements," said Masse.
He said that if the U.S. goes through with an incentive program that leaves out Canadian-built vehicles, then Canada should do the same with vehicles built in the U.S. and shipped to Canada.
The MP has sent a letter to:
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
François-Philippe Champagne, minister of Innovation, science and Industry.
Mary Ng, minister of international trade, export promotion, small business and economic development.
Masse is also calling on the Trudeau government to convene an immediate emergency meeting of the Canadian Automotive Partnership Council (CAPC) for the purpose of establishing a National Canadian Automotive Strategy.
Canada advocating in U.S., Ng says
Unifor Local 444 president Dave Cassidy joined Masse at the news conference Monday morning in front of the Windsor Assembly Plant.
Zero-emission vehicle incentives matter to Canadian manufacturers when it comes to where they're going to put capital, suggested Cassidy, "because we know that states in the U.S. are handing out money left right and centre to support these groups so that they can put those manufacturers in those states."
During Monday afternoon question period in Ottawa, Masse also raised the incentive issue with the federal government.
Ng said meetings are underway to address the issue.
"Just a few days ago, I returned along with colleagues on all sides of this House to advocate in the U.S. on this particular issue. Over 50 meetings took place, and we are going to continue to do this really important work for our workers and for our business."