I see our provincial government has joined the rush to give away taxpayers' money.
In this case, it is $80 million to add to the $970 million handed out by the feds for a battery factory in Maple Ridge (report by Castanet Nov 14). The recipient company is from Taiwan, but if you're going to dish out a billion dollars to a business, why not at least make it to a Canadian business?
This comes on the heels of a $15 billion “hand-out” to VW, a German company, which was found guilty of deceiving regulators about its vehicle emissions, and a similar “hand-out” to Stellantis, a huge multinational corporation.
My question is, if making EV batteries is the way forward and such a great idea, why are these companies not using their own money to fund them? None of these projects will end up producing many jobs for Canadians, in fact so far it has only produced jobs for South Koreans.
Can we trust our governments to invest our money wisely? Have they researched the current EV market and done due diligence on the financial state of the companies receiving these incentives?
Hopefully they considered the following widely-available information such as:
• Ford recently abandoned plans for a multi-billion dollar battery factory in Michigan, because it is losing money on every electric vehicle it sells. In fact, it is losing money, period. It is being bailed out by billions in government loans and grants.
• VW has laid off workers at its EV production plant in Zwickau, Germany because it cannot compete on price with Chinese makers. China is its largest market.
• Carlos Tavares, CEO of Stellantis, wants to back off the mad rush to electrification of vehicles because he believes prices are too high and will eventually lead to the elimination of a huge swathe of customers who can't afford them. He would rather continue making internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles and let consumers decide what they want ( pretty radical concept, right?).
• Mary Barra, CEO of GM, is determined to buy into the full EV agenda. As a result GM is losing $200 million every week. That doesn't sound like a very prudent strategy to me. Apparently the only models that are making money are the Traverse, Equinox, and ICE cars. Now that it has settled its labour dispute with the auto workers’ union, all models are going to cost approximately $500 more. That's not going to help sales one bit. GM will be lucky if it survives into the next decade.
• Four thousand dealers across the U.S. signed a petition to U.S.President Joe Biden to back off his ludicrous electrification targets. The charging infrastructure is years away from supporting the number of vehicles the government wants them to sell. As a result, dealers' lots are covered with unsold EVs.
There is a vast disconnect between what politicians want, and reality. When governments decide they know better than the people who have run businesses for more than a century, things are probably going to end badly.
Guess who gets left carrying the can?
Peter Emery, Kelowna