Remarks by the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance on standing up for Canada’s auto manufacturing industry 

Speech

August 15, 2022 - Etobicoke, Ontario

We acknowledge the land we are meeting on is the traditional territory of many nations including the Mississaugas of the Credit, the Anishnabeg, the Chippewa, the Haudenosaunee and the Wendat peoples and is now home to many diverse First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples.

I’m so happy to be here in Etobicoke today with my colleagues—Kirsty Duncan, Yvan Baker, and James Maloney—and with the amazing people of ABC Technologies.

It has been exciting and inspiring to see, first-hand, the innovative work being done here. As one of the world’s leading manufacturers of components for electric vehicles, ABC is exactly the kind of business—and the people who work here are exactly the kind of team—we need to continue growing Canada’s world-class auto industry and our economy overall.

Our government believes in the auto sector. We believe in the people who work in the auto sector, and we are always going to stand up for you.

And our commitment, our hard work, paid off just this past Sunday, when the United States Senate passed their Inflation Reduction Act. That landmark legislation includes tax credits for electric vehicles assembled in North America and that will directly support companies like ABC Technologies.

But that was not always the plan. The original legislation excluded vehicles made by Canadian industry, which would have dealt a major blow to our auto sector—one which has been deeply integrated with the U.S. for over 50 years.

For more than a year our entire government—working closely with labour and with business organizations—has been working very hard and advocating very fiercely for the inclusion of Canadian workers and the Canadian car manufacturing sector in this U.S. legislation.

We worked as Team Canada, just as we did during the NAFTA negotiations.

We were polite, but we were also clear. We were clear that Canada would stand up for our national interests if a discriminatory U.S. tax credit were to go ahead in its original form, including imposing retaliatory tariffs.

Fortunately, that didn’t happen and our hard work paid off.

Canadian workers and Canadian-made electric vehicles are now included in this landmark piece of U.S. legislation. This means that as the auto industry grows and innovates, it will continue to be a source of good, middle-class jobs for Canadians.

And that is why this issue was so important for us. That is why we were so focused on those EV tax credits—because we care about the jobs of today in Canada, and we care about the jobs of the future.

We know that Canada’s auto manufacturing industry has, for many decades now, been an engine of good middle-class jobs.

That is why, for our government, protecting NAFTA and Canada’s trading relationship with the United States was so important.

The Inflation Reduction Act is a major economic win for Canada’s auto manufacturing industry. And as auto-makers urgently re-tool their assembly lines to build electric vehicles, we will make it more affordable for Canadians to buy them.

We will build the batteries that power electric cars and trucks.

And we will invest in building charging stations across the country.

In concrete terms, this means that in a few years from now, Canadians across the country will be driving electric vehicles made here in Ontario.

These vehicles will be made with Canadian aluminum, steel and critical minerals. They will be powered by batteries made in Canada. And we will charge them with charging stations made in Canada.

Crucially, what this means is good, well-paying, secure, middle-class Canadian jobs today and for many years to come.

So, to the workers and businesses at the heart of Canada’s and Ontario’s auto and auto parts industries, I want to promise you this: We will always stand up for you and your families. Because we know that every single day, you contribute to the well-being and the prosperity of communities across Ontario and across Canada.

What matters most is that you are able to keep our economy growing, and create the good, middle-class jobs Canada needs today and in the future.

I want to conclude by paying a final tribute to the people who work here at ABC Technologies. One of the things that I heard today—and I hear this at manufacturing companies across Canada—is that Canadian workers are one of our country’s most powerful competitive advantages. Canadian workers are smart, they are resourceful, they are hardworking, they are reliable, they are well educated, and they work as a team. That is true of the really inspiring people I met here at ABC Technologies. And it is one of our key strengths as a country. 

Thank you very much.

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