New federal electric vehicle policy raises questions for MP

New EV rules spark concern

Some media reports this week stated, "The end of the road is coming for gas-powered vehicles in Canada." They were in response to the latest announcement from the (federal) government regarding electric vehicles.

In summary, the announcement proclaimed that starting in 2026, every automobile manufacturer selling gasoline-powered trucks, cars and SUVs in Canada must have a minimum percentage of all-electric or electric hybrid vehicles.

The percentage for 2026 is 20%, which will increase to 23% the following year. In 2028, the figure will increase by 34% and then jump to 43% in 2029. According to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, the target is 60% in 2030. By 2035, the government demands all vehicles sold in Canada meet this standard.

However, there are concerns about the affordability of electric vehicles for some individuals and those living in remote rural areas where there may be other options than electric vehicles. The new rules still need to address these concerns. Additionally, some electrical contractors have raised questions about the high cost of electrical upgrades for older homes with inadequate wiring and service panels.

There is also the concern that many provinces currently lack the necessary electrical capacity to comply with this electric vehicle mandate. Furthermore, developing new electrical generating infrastructure will be highly costly, as it must also align with Trudeau's demand for provincial electrical grids to move towards net zero by 2035.

Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre has criticized this policy shift, stating it will disproportionately affect those who can least afford to pay more.

In addition, the government has allocated $768 million between 2016 and 2027 to purchase and install nearly 90,000 electric vehicle chargers. However, data shows fewer than one in five funded charging stations from the first program—which have been operational since 2016—are currently operating. The second program, launched in 2019, aims to install an additional 33,500 electric vehicle chargers by 2025. Still, only 6,697 of those charging stations are currently operational.

This is another expensive program from Trudeau that diverts tax dollars from other priorities, such as defence and healthcare while increasing our deficit. Eventually, this debt load will have to be repaid with interest.

Even industry players, who have supported other elements of the government's auto policies, have criticized these new federal rules as unrealistic and doomed to fail. Flavio Volpe, president of the Automotive Parts Manufacturers’ Association, stated on talk radio, "It's not reality-based...100% is impossible."

One concern that has been overlooked in the conversation so far is that under our constitution, the regulation of private property falls under the jurisdiction of the provinces, not the federal government. For example, British Columbia and Quebec have implemented their mandates regarding electric vehicles.

Instead of collaborating with provinces and industry to develop an achievable harmonized pan-Canadian approach, which would acknowledge the technical challenges of electrification while taking into account the needs of rural and remote communities, the government's unilateral move here may face challenges in court, similar to recent rulings on environmental assessments and the banning of certain plastics.

The courts deemed significant elements of the laws unconstitutional in both of cases.

This new mandate seems headed in the same direction and will result in wasted tax dollars, increased provincial-federal conflict and undermine business investment due to a lack of certainty, regardless of the outcome.

This week's question is:

Do you support Prime Minister Trudeau's unilateral approach to require 100% of every vehicle sold by 2035 to be electric or an electric hybrid? Why or why not?

You can reach me at [email protected] or call toll-free at 1-800-663-8711.

Dan Albas is the Conservative MP for Central Okanagan-Similkameen-Nicola.

This article is written by or on behalf of an outsourced columnist and does not necessarily reflect the views of Castanet.

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About the Author

Dan Albas is the Member of Parliament for the riding of Central Okanagan-Similkameen-Nicola and the co-chair of the Standing Joint Committee for the Scrutiny of Regulations.

Before entering public life, Dan was the owner of Kick City Martial Arts, responsible for training hundreds of men, women and youth to bring out their best.

Dan  is consistently recognized as one of Canada’s top 10 most active Members of Parliament on Twitter (@danalbas) and also continues to write a weekly column published in many local newspapers and on this website.

Dan welcomes comments, questions and concerns from citizens and is often available to speak to groups and organizations on matters of federal concern. 

He can be reached at [email protected] or call toll free at 1-800-665-8711.

The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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