Yesterday in the House of Commons, it was revealed to the environment committee that taxpayers have been billed $70 million in subsidies for the purchase of electric cars from California.
Following the launch of a $300-million program in 2019 that was designed to dole out rebates of up to $5,000 for buyers of new electric vehicles valued up to $55,000. Since the start of the initiative began, a total of almost $227.5 million in rebates have been paid, per a Department of Transport document titled Inquiry Of Ministry.
According to a report from Blacklock's Reporter, the largest number of rebates were issued to buyers of the California-made Tesla Model 3s, good for a total of more than $72 million. Chevrolet was the next highest, with $34.7 million in rebates dished out to buyers, while the sales for the electric Toyota Prius and Hyundai Kona numbered $20.2 million and $19.3 million paid in rebates to consumers respectively.
“Tesla has received the most subsidies from this program,” Aaron Wudrick, federal director of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation told the Commons. “I think it’s a fair question to ask whether regular Canadian taxpayers should be subsidizing the purchase of luxury vehicles for people who are prepared to pay full price for them. I would suggest the answer is no.”
“If the purpose of these subsidies is to encourage the uptake of zero emission vehicles, it seems a relevant question is whether they are actually leading to a higher uptake or simply providing subsidies to people who were going to buy zero emission vehicles anyway,” Wudrick wondered.
“It’s especially fair to ask that given the price points that we’re talking about here. Even a $45,000 vehicle, I would suggest, never mind a $55,000 vehicle, would be considered a luxury vehicle by most Canadians.”
Taylor Bachrach, an MP for the New Democrat Party from British Columbia, defended the government program, saying that “this seems to me like a change that is going to happen inevitably.”
“These vehicles are cheaper to run, they’re fun to drive,” Bachrach argued. According to the Blacklock's report, Bachrach is the owner of a Chevrolet Volt, a car that retails for somewhere between $40,000–$45,000.
The majority of electric vehicles are sold in British Columbia and Quebec, and both provinces offer their own rebates as well. Ontario cancelled its own subsidy program in 2018.