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Feds say electric vehicle subsidies working, but costing taxpayers

Electric cars subsidies costing Canadian taxpayers more than $600 for every tonne of greenhouse gas emissions saved.




While the Department of Transport yesterday praised subsidies as successful, figures show electric car grants have cost Canadian taxpayers the equivalent of more than $600 for every tonne of greenhouse gas emissions saved, according to figures obtained by Blacklock’s Reporter.

The work we’re doing with the zero emission vehicle program is really having an impact on Canada and emissions, said Ryan Pilgrim, chief financial officer of the transport department.

Testifying at the Senate national finance committee, Pilgrim called subsidies essential.

“Our target is still 10% of vehicles by 2025,” he said.

Electric vehicles accounted for 3.5% of auto sales last year, according to a Statistics Canada estimate.

“Thirty per cent will be electric by 2030 and a 100% by 2040,” said Pilgrim. “These are really aggressive targets but I think it’s essential to ensure the well-being of Canadians going forward.”

Pilgrim noted 80,681 zero emission vehicles have been sold since cabinet introduced two subsidy programs in 2019. Each vehicle lowers tailpipe emissions by 3.46 tonnes per year for total reductions of 837,469 tonnes over three years.

Cabinet over the same period budgeted a total $519,680,121 in subsidies for a Zero Emission Vehicles Program that pays rebates to buyers, and a Zero Emission Vehicle Infrastructure Program to build electric charging stations. Emission reductions were the equivalent of $620 per tonne.

Unit costs should lower as new electric vehicles spend longer on the road, said Pilgrim, who noted the expected life span of the electric vehicles is about 12 years.

“This initiative, which we’re really happy with and happy to continue, is paying dividends,” he said. “It’s really having an impact on reducing greenhouse gases in the country.”

Electric car buyers are eligible for federal rebates of $5,000 on new vehicles worth up to $55,000 — the Department of Transport in a 2020 Inquiry Of Ministry tabled in the Commons said the largest number of rebates went to buyers of California-made Tesla Model 3s.

“A $55,000 vehicle would be a luxury vehicle for most Canadians,” Conservative MP Brad Redekopp (Saskatoon West) earlier told the Commons environment committee. “Essentially what we’re doing is subsidizing a vehicle that a wealthy person is going to buy.”

The Canadian Taxpayers Federation at a November 25 hearing questioned whether rebates were subsidizing drivers who intended to buy an electric in any case.

“I think it’s fair to ask whether Canadian taxpayers should be subsidizing the purchase of luxury vehicles for people who are prepared to pay full price for them,” testified Aaron Wudrick, then-federal director of the Federation.

“I would suggest the answer is no.”

Mike D’Amour is the British Columbia Bureau Chief for the Western Standard.

Mike D'Amour is the British Columbia Bureau Chief and Copy Editor for the Western Standard. He worked as an investigative crime reporter at the Calgary & Winnipeg Suns. mdamour@westernstandardonline.com

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1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Left Coast

    May 5, 2021 at 6:14 pm

    Taxpayer subsidies are helping to buy Electric Cars for mostly rich people . . .

    Who said Electric Cars has low Karbon Footprints?
    The Karbon Footprint of an Electric Car sitting in the showroom is equal to a similar size gas powered vehicle . . . After it has been DRIVEN for Several Years.
    The Rare Earths Mining & Refining, plus the Battery Construction are massive Karbon Emitters . . . but no one talks about this. Where they mine Rare Earths in China makes the Oil Sands in Alberta look like a National Park.

    1 in 5 Electric Vehicle Owners in California Switched Back to Gas-Powered Cars Because Charging Their EV is a Hassle

    Today’s chuckle . . .

    2021 Kentucky Derby winner Medina Spirit’s jockey John Velazquez turned down a White House invite today saying:

    “If I wanted to see a horse’s ass I would of came in second.”

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Vaccine passports now mandatory in Alberta

In place of a vaccine passport, a negative test result from a privately-paid rapid test within 72 hours of service will be adequate or a person will need to show a valid medical exemption.




The Alberta government’s new vaccine mandates for businesses, entities and events are in effect.

Each organization must follow one of two options: implement the Restriction Exemption Program (REP) requiring proof of vaccination or negative test result, plus mandatory masking, to continue operating as usual, or comply with all public health restrictions as outlined in Order 42-2021.

In place of a vaccine passport, a negative test result from a privately-paid rapid test within 72 hours of service will be adequate or a person will need to show a valid medical exemption.

The REP allows operators to avoid the majority of public health restrictions with the implementation of a proof of vaccination program, although vaccine requirements for staff are at the employer’s discretion. Face mask mandates are still required in all indoor spaces.

The program doesn’t apply to those under 12 years of age and businesses that need to be accessed by the public for daily living purposes, including all retail locations. As well, employees, contractors, repair or delivery workers, volunteers or inspectors will be permitted access to spaces without requiring a vaccine passport.

To enter spaces participating in the REP, adults need to provide valid photo identification that matches their paper or digital vaccine record showing name, vaccine type and date of administration. From now until October 25, proof of partial vaccination (one dose) will suffice, however after that date, proof of full vaccination (two doses) will be required. Those under 12 will only need to show vaccination paperwork.

Indoor entertainment, event and recreation facilities that don’t implement the REP will be limited to one-third capacity of their fire code occupancy and attendees must be in household cohorts or with up to two close contacts if they live alone.

Outdoor events and facilities have no capacity restrictions, but attendees must maintain a two-metre distancing between households.  

Restaurants that don’t follow the REP cannot offer indoor dining, and outdoor dining will be limited to six people per table from one household, and liquor sales will have to end by 10 p.m. with consumption cut off by 11 p.m.

Retail, shopping malls and food courts aren’t eligible for the REP, therefore will be reduced to one-third capacity of fire code occupancy and are required to stop all in-person dining, switching to take out only.

Indoor private social gatherings will be permitted for those that are vaccinated to a maximum of two households up to 10 (vaccine eligible) vaccinated people. There are no restrictions for children under 12. For those who are unvaccinated, indoor social gatherings are not permitted.

Private outdoor social gatherings are limited to a maximum of 200 people who are socially distanced.  

Churches will be limited to one-third of fire code capacity and masks and social distancing are still mandatory in places of worship.

Employees are mandated to work from home unless their physical presence is required for their duties.

Proof of vaccination will not be required to enter a polling place for Monday’s federal election although physical distancing, masking and other transmission reducing measures will be in place.

For more information on the Restriction Exemption Program, click here.   

Risdon is a reporter at the Western Standard

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Hockey arena backs down on banning unvaccinated kids

Within hours of the Western Standard posting the exclusive story, Oaten was contacted by the SLSFSC and advised of an update to their policy.




Public pressure has brought minor hockey out of the penalty box in Cochrane.

Following an exclusive story by the Western Standard on Saturday, along with mounting pressure from the community, a Cochrane sports facility has revamped its vaccine passport policy.  

The Cochrane Minor Hockey Association (CMHA) and Hockey Alberta were not mandating a vaccine passport system, but Spray Lake Sawmills Family Sports Centre (SLSFSC) announced it would be requiring proof of vaccine status for anyone 12 and up.

Within hours of the story being posted, CMHS President Cory Oaten was contacted by the SLSFSC and advised of an update to their policy with this statement: “Youth between the ages of 12 (vaccine eligible) to 18 years of age are exempt from the REP vaccination requirement to enter the facility for the purpose of participating in a youth organized sport organization. Examples include (but not limited to) Cochrane Minor Hockey, Ringette, Cochrane Minor Soccer, Lacrosse, Cochrane Figure Skating Club, Comets, Junior Lifeguard Club, etc.”

Although youth may access the facility without being vaccinated, all adult spectators, coaches, volunteers and organizers of any youth activity “must show proof of vaccination, proof of a negative test, or medical exemption to gain entry to SLSFSC premises.”

“Although this helps our kids get on the ice in Cochrane, it’s still an issue at lots of other facilities, especially in larger facilities in Calgary and Airdrie,” Oaten said.

Oaten, who works in the insurance industry, points out the “huge liability issue” this poses to his and other sports organizations.

“Originally, Spray Lakes pushed us to collect this medical documentation from our members,” he said.

The CMHA board consists of 18 volunteer members.

“They can’t put those expectations on a board of volunteers. It’s a big legal issue for us,” Oaten said, adding he and his board refuse to take responsibility for requiring proof of vaccine or the collection of their members’ private medical information.

Oaten was informed the SLSFSC will now have its own security checkpoints set up in the facility and will take responsibility for checking the vaccine status of anyone 18-plus entering the building.

Oaten anticipates families will still pull their kids from hockey and other sports programs as those who remain unvaccinated will not be permitted in the facility to accompany their child.

Hockey Alberta stated on their Facebook page they are working with the Alberta government on how last Wednesday’s announcement will affect hockey for Alberta players. Oaten has asked his members to hold off on making a decision to pull their child from the program until Hockey Alberta comes forward with their updated season plan.

The Western Standard reached out to the SLSFSC for comment but did not hear back in time for publication.

Risdon is a reporter for the Western Standard

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