A national auto strategy is needed now more than ever

The phone calls have been so frequent and built by so quite a few around the decades that the thought of a countrywide automobile system has pretty much come to be white noise.

But Canada wants a single now more than ever.

Brendan Sweeney, the executive director of the London, Ont.-based Trillium Community for State-of-the-art Production, persuaded me of that on the Dec. 3 episode of the Automotive News Canada podcast.

He instructed me he’s “100 million for each cent” at the rear of the thought, and here’s why: The classic automotive marketplace and its provide chain are transforming — and rapidly.

The immediate pace of electrification usually means mining is now element of the auto marketplace. And with the race towards autonomous automobiles nicely underneath way, technological know-how is an even higher part of the source chain. And, of system, as now-retired Magna CEO Don Walker after stated — and I’m paraphrasing — cars will often need seats.

This Canadian car business is no for a longer period basically contained together Ontario’s Freeway 401 concerning Windsor and Oshawa. It now can — and should — include mining in northern Ontario and Quebec. It features the fuel-mobile investigate getting performed by companies such as Ballard in Burnaby, B.C.

And what about Alberta? Yes, Alberta, where the Alberta Centre for Highly developed Microsystems and Nanotechnology Solutions (ACAMP) supports the growth of autonomous-transportation systems.

And there’s Canada’s individual battery expert, Jeff Dahn, whom we recently profiled, accomplishing battery exploration in Halifax.

The automobile market and the federal federal government policy affecting it can no lengthier be disregarded by individuals in Alberta or Manitoba, which is a hub for bus and fireplace-truck assembly. Absolutely sure, people aren’t automobiles, but they’re transportation.

“Until fairly recently, it was truly quite tricky to pitch automotive as a pan-Canadian detail to people in Saskatchewan or individuals in Cape Breton,” Sweeney mentioned. “But if we can do this suggestion-to-tail battery source chain, effectively, this extends into northern communities and extends into Initially Nations communities.

“So, it’s about time. We have clusters and lists of discrete initiatives and quite beneficial abilities. We have to bring them alongside one another. And it’s going to take a tactic to do that, and it is going to choose a coordination and possibly some sort of coordinating entire body of authority. We just can’t have seven coordinating bodies. It’s time.”

The need to have for a coordinated energy — specifically aimed at the rise of U.S. protectionism, particularly President Joe Biden’s proposed EV credit score — has set jointly some odd bedfellows.

On Dec. 9, the Ontario government developed the Premier’s Council on U.S. Trade and Marketplace Competitiveness, made to hold the province competitive in manufacturing — automotive in specific. Interestingly, Premier Doug Ford’s council will be chaired by Unifor President Jerry Dias.

A Conservative government’s council chaired by a unionist. I hardly ever thought I would see the day.

Speaking to suppliers just days ahead of the council’s development, Ford nailed it:

“This is the time for a Workforce Canada approach.”

Eleanore Beatty

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