(New York) Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Friday that a number of states and cities in the United States had offered “significantly more money” than Canada to lure Volkswagen’s new battery plant home. , which will ultimately be built in Ontario.
But Canada won the day, he said, because of its clean energy supply, skilled workforce, vital mineral wealth and investment in the middle class.
Mr. Trudeau made the statement Friday during an address to the Council on Foreign Relations in New York.
Electric vehicle battery plant, to be built near St. Thomas in southwestern Ontario, faces criticism because Ottawa offered up to $13 billion in production subsidies to finalize the agreement with the German automaker.
This statement was part of the Prime Minister’s sales pitch to convince business leaders and venture capitalists in New York and around the world that Canada is focused on the future.
“I’ll be honest: there were places in the United States that put a lot more money on the table than we did,” Mr. Trudeau said. But Canada’s clean energy supply, strong social services, environmental standards and mineral wealth ultimately helped win, he argued.
“Volkswagen said, ‘OK, we’re coming in with a plant that won’t be here for five or ten years. It will be there for 50 years, maybe even more. We need to invest in a community that will believe in itself and in this future,” the premier said.
The idea for the two-day trip to New York, which ends on Friday, was to build on the momentum generated by US President Joe Biden’s visit to Ottawa last month.
The cornerstone of these “business meetings” in New York was the new Canada-US strategy for the extraction, development and processing of critical minerals.
As the Canadian government strives to develop this industry, Mr. Trudeau said, democracies must work together to protect their values and economic interests in the face of rising authoritarianism.
It’s important, he said, to build democratic values into mineral sourcing decisions — and it’s not just about telling companies not to buy them from places like China. .
Experts believe that potential investors and developers now want to know more about how Canada plans to ease the regulatory process in order to tap into the country’s underground wealth.
Kirsten Hillman, Canada’s ambassador to the United States, is hearing that call for clarity in the regulatory process — though details likely won’t come Friday in New York.
But contrary to what is often heard, she says, licensing processes in Canada are actually more efficient than in the United States, although they could be even more so.