Tag Archives: Ontario

What a Twist of Fate if Airbus Helps Kill Bombardier as a Bizjet-Maker…

…with a bizjet version of the A220 airliner that Bombardier created. Airbus is looking to break into the long-range business net market big-time with a bizjet version of the A220 (once upon a time the Bombardier CSeries; the Canadian company now just makes bizjets, see latter part of this post: “Bombardier to Build New Plant for Bizjets at Toronto…”). Start of an article at Aviation Week and Space Technology:

ACJ Eyes Long-Range Bizjet Market As TwoTwenty Nears Entry To Service

Angus Batey

In the high-end bizliner market, 10 or 12 sales would qualify as a good year for a manufacturer. So, when Benoit Defforge, president of Airbus Corporate Jets, says he expects to be able to sell 10 of just one model of aircraft in a calendar year—without cutting into sales across the rest of its range—it is clear that the company believes it has a hit on its hands.

The aircraft that has got Dafforge and his colleagues at ACJ so excited is the ACJ TwoTwenty. And the reason for their bullish perspective on the likely market—for a jet which, as yet, has not been delivered in a business configuration—is threefold. “Between the budget, the space and the range, this aircraft is at the sweet spot,” he says.

The bizliner [versions of airliners used for private business purposes] territory that is traditionally fought over by ACJ and their colleagues at rival Boeing amounts to, Airbus reckons, about 400 in-service aircraft. 

“It’s interesting,” Defforge says. “It’s a niche market. It’s the high end of our market. But it’s a limited market. But if we go to the high end of the traditional business-jet market, it’s more than 2,000 aircraft. And we are addressing this market with the TwoTwenty.”..

Read on. The Airbus webpage for the plane is here.

Meanwhile Bombardier fires back for the high-end bizjet market, good luck:

Bombardier launches latest ultra-long range business jet Global 8000

Eric Martel, CEO of private jet maker Bombardier, attends the launch of the Global 8000 aircraft during the European Business Aviation Convention & Exhibition in Geneva, Switzerland, on May 23.DENIS BALIBOUSE/Reuters

Bombardier Inc BBD-B-T -5.79% decrease launched a new long-range business jet on Monday [May 23], as it looks to stay competitive in a market that serves the ultra-rich and has remained robust amid COVID-19 driven boom in demand for private aircraft.

The Montreal-based planemaker said the Global 8000 will become the world’s fastest business jet with an ultra-long range of 8,000 nautical miles (9,206 miles) and a top speed of Mach 0.94 (721 miles per hour).

The plane will enter service in 2025 and compete with high-end models offered by rivals General Dynamics and France’s Dassault Aviation – the Gulfstream G700 and Falcon 10X, respectively [and now the ACJ TwoTwenty?].

Bombardier said the Global 8000 will have a list price of $78 million, slightly higher than the $75 million which its predecessor and the company’s flagship Global 7500 lists for. Both rivals, the G700 and the Falcon 10X, are also priced at $75 million…

Looks like another derivative from an existing aircraft, a usual Bombardier approach. But how much longer? A relevant post from October 2021-

How long can Bombardier go on without Government Subsidies to Develop a new Bizjet? Or a Takeover?

UPDATE: Yep, new Bombardier just another update–also at Aviation Week and Space Technology:

An upgrade on the Global 7500, the Global 8000 will use the same fuselage as its predecessor, which it will eventually come to replace…

Mark Collins

Twitter: @mark3ds

Theme song:

The EV Revolution is Delayed

Further to this March post,

Mining Minerals in Northern Ontario (if these projects even happen) Has Little to Do with Battery, Electric Vehicle Production in the Province

here’s some nasty news for the EV dreams of PM Trudeau and Ontario Premier Ford–and of President Biden. From an opinion piece by the Globe and Mail’s excellent man in Rome:

So much for the electric vehicle revolution. You cannot make the machines without the metals that power them

Eric Reguly European bureau chief Rome

Any successful politician is adept at finding the one bit of good news floating in the ocean of despair, then gushing about it to try to drown our worries.

So it is with U.S. President Joe Biden. A few weeks ago, when the war in Ukraine was propelling gasoline and diesel prices ever higher – regular gas hit a record average of US$4.43 a gallon on Friday – he suggested that painful pump prices will speed the transition to electric vehicles (EVs), fear not.

Voila – no more hard decisions about filling your SUV or feeding your kids. “Transforming our economy to run on electric vehicles, powered by clean energy, will mean that no one will have to worry about gas prices,” he said on Twitter. “It will mean tyrants like Putin won’t be able to use fossil fuels as a weapon.”

Nice idea, except for one minor inconvenience: Gas and diesel aren’t the only commodities turning into luxury goods.

Most of the metals that go into EVs and their massive batteries – copper, nickel, cobalt [see this post: “Congo’s Cobalt Key to PRC’s Grasp for EV Dominance“], lithium [see this post: Lithium and Batteries for EVs look like just another Canadian Hi-Tech Pipedream”], plus a variety of rare earth metals – have climbed even faster than pump prices because they are in exceedingly short supply and high demand. Cobalt two years ago went for US$15 a pound; today it’s US$40. Lithium carbonate prices have climbed about 600 per cent in the same period.

The metals’ scarcity means that the endlessly touted EV revolution will almost certainly be delayed, perhaps long delayed, barring the invention of batteries that use far less of these crucial metals, or none at all [emphasis added]. Ditto then green revolution in general, for many of these same metals go into wind turbines and solar panels…

Already, Tesla boss and co-founder Elon Musk is screaming about excruciating metals prices while quietly jacking up the prices of Tesla cars to make them even less affordable for the average family. According to the Wall Street Journal, the average price of a Tesla is US$52,200, up almost 3 per cent since late 2021 [emphasis added]

Mr. Musk has been a lot smarter than most auto executives in protecting supply chains. As far back as 2020, just before the price charts went vertical, he realized that shortages could translate into production and profit-margin squeezes. He negotiated a cobalt supply deal with Glencore, the world’s biggest producer of the metal that is essential for battery production. No more middleman.

General Motors and BMW recently did similar deals with Glencore, through presumably at a much higher price. Tesla is now trying to replicate the process with nickel producers.

In March, Volkswagen announced a joint venture with two Chinese companies to secure nickel and cobalt supplies from Indonesia. The deal thrusts VW into the mining industry, taking a page from the supply chain strategy created by Henry Ford a century ago [emphasis added]. Mr. Ford was so obsessed with security of supply that he bought coal mines, timberlands, sawmills, a railroad and a fleet of freighters to make sure iron ore and other materials would reach his factories.

…While the in-ground reserves of some metals are genuinely in short supply, such as copper, others, notably lithium, are blessed with generous reserves on several continents. But that’s not the point. The point is that building mines to extract the lithium, and plants to process it, can take five to 10 years. Cobalt mines can taken longer [emphasis added]

Every big automaker in the world is ramping up EV production. Forecasts say that tens of millions of these cars will be produced each year by the middle part of this decade. Maybe not. In the United States alone, about 13 lithium-ion plants are in the construction or planning stages – but what is not known is where the lithium will come from. There is only one operating lithium mine in the U.S. European and Japanese carmakers face similar supply constraints.

The EV revolution is beginning to look like an evolution. EVs are coming, but not at pedal-to-the-metal speeds.

Follow Eric Reguly on Twitter: @ereguly

And a very relevant recent post (note that Ontario is finally getting, with big federal and provincial subsidies, a battery production plant)–but consumers too still will have to pay to play with Ontario-assembled EVs:

Feds’ and Ontario’s EV Dream: Pay to Play

Mark Collins

Twitter: @Mark3ds

Ontario Finally Gets an EV Plant (with nice subsidies from feds and the province)…

…that we already were getting anyway, see third paragraph. And keep in mind that plant at Ingersoll will be making commercial light vans, not mass-market consumer vehicles.

The reality of the announcement is that Ontario and the feds are paying GM hundreds of millions of loonies to make gas-guzzling pick-ups at Oshawa. Go figure greenie Liberals and others.

Still a small step forward from General Motors–even if not new–on the fully electric front. Now what about Ford, Stellantis (Jeep/Chrysler here before), Toyota and Honda (only hybrids here so far)? A long way to go to ensure the successful future of what remains of the Canadian passenger vehicle assembly industry.

Note the new investment in Oshawa is just for internal combustion pick-up trucks, including more light ones. How long a future for this production until more bribes are needed to go electric? Remember this assembly plant already was shut down in 2019 and then restarted with, it seems likely, more federal and provincial subsidies.

Plus the Ingersoll announcement is actually another of those things re-announced by governments–a September 2021 story at Global News:

GM Canada to produce second, smaller electric BrightDrop van at CAMI Ingersoll facility

By Matthew Trevithick

GM Canada’s CAMI Assembly plant in Ingersoll, Ont., has received another jolt of support from the automaker when it comes to electric vehicle production.

Nine months after GM revealed that it would utilize the facility to produce its new BrightDrop EV600 electric commercial vans starting next year, the company announced Tuesday that it also planned to produce it’s smaller sibling, the EV410, there starting in 2023.

Large scale-production of the EV600 is expected to begin at CAMI in November 2022, following a four-month retooling of the plant once current production of the Chevrolet Equinox ends in April.

Under an agreement ratified by Unifor members in January, GM Canada agreed to invest $1 billion in the CAMI plant to convert it to make the vans…

1) At Yahoo:

Ottawa, Ontario pitch in $259M each for GM to expand EV, pickup production

Alicja Siekierska

The federal and Ontario governments are providing $259 million each to General Motors to expand and retool production at its two Ontario manufacturing plants.

GM will spend $2 billion in total [including the $500 million, i.e. one-quarter of the total, from the feds and province?] to launch its first electric-vehicle (EV) production line at its CAMI plant in Ingersoll [how come those subsidies not mentioned in the September story?], as well as add additional light-duty Chevy Silverado pickup production at its facility in Oshawa. The expansion in Oshawa will result in a third shift and the creation of 2,600 jobs. GM said the plant is the only one producing heavy and light-duty pickups, which enables “flexibility and responsiveness to the North American market.”

GM will retool its CAMI facility over the spring and summer and start producing its Brightdrop commercial electric vans starting in December.

“Today’s announcement is more good news for Ontario’s auto sector,” Ontario Premier Doug Ford said at a press conference in Oshawa on Monday.

“We’re building on our province’s long tradition of automotive excellence and investing to lead the electric vehicle revolution. We’re making Ontario the best jurisdiction in North America to build the vehicles and batteries of the future.”

The announcement is the latest in a series of investments worth hundreds of millions of dollars from the federal and Ontario governments towards the province’s auto sector.

Last month, automaker Stellantis and South Korean battery giant LG Energy Solutions formed a joint venture to open a new electric vehicle battery production plant in Windsor, Ont. The federal and provincial governments will support the venture, but did not specify how much taxpayer money would be contributed to the $5 billion deal. However, Ford confirmed that Ontario and Canada “are putting hundreds of millions of dollars in [more at this comment at a post on the slim hopes for building a major industry to mine battery minerals in Ontario].”

Honda Canada also announced last month that it will spend $1.38 billion to upgrade its Alliston, Ont. plant to produce the 2023 CR-V hybrid crossover. The federal and provincial governments pitched in $131.6 million each towards the plant upgrade [emphasis added].

Ontario said that over the past 18 months the province’s automotive sector has seen $12 billion in new investment for vehicle production, more than $5 billion of which is for hybrid and electric vehicle production [emphasis added].

“Today is proof that the Canadian auto sector is here for the long-term,” federal Innovation Minister François-Philippe Champagne said on Monday.

“That means more jobs, more economic growth and certainly more clean vehicles [NOT AT OSHAWA].”

2) At Global News:

Ontario, feds to each spend $259M to help transform GM plants in Oshawa, Ingersoll

By Hannah Jackson

The [Ontario] government said the money will also help with improvements across all of GM’s manufacturing and research and development facilities in the province…

The release said the investment will also “secure electric commercial vehicle production at the CAMI plant in Ingersoll.”

The government said this means the plant will become GM’s “designated EV hub for its new all-electric commercial vehicle brand BrightDrop [emphasis added].” and will be the first “full-scale electric vehicle production facility in Canada.”..

3) At CBC:

Federal, Ontario governments to invest $259M each for GM facilities in Oshawa, Ingersoll

Work to refit the CAMI plant for EV production is set to start next month [in other words that investment has been underway for a while] and will run until October. That’s when the company will end production of the Chevrolet Equinox. Those currently working at the plant will be laid off for most of the year while the construction takes place.

BrightDrop’s first customer is FedEx, which will begin receiving GM’s EV600 electric vans later this year…

Last month, GM and South Korea’s POSCO Chemical announced a deal to build a $400-million plant in Quebec to produce material for batteries to be used in electric vehicles (EV) [but not the batteries themselves, see this post: “Quebec, Canada Gets Plant to Make Low-Hanging Fruit in Batteries/EV Supply Chain“]

The company [GM] has plans to introduce 30 new electric vehicles by 2025 [so far Canada gets just those vans] and eliminate tailpipe emissions from new light-duty vehicles by 2035 [Silverado below has those tailpipes].

Meanwhile Biden may be on the way largely to squashing those mineral hopes in Ontario–a recent post:

Biden Cancelling Ontario’s Dream to Mine Minerals for Batteries (without even realizing it)?

Mark Collins

Twitter: @mark3ds

Mining Minerals in Northern Ontario (if these projects even happen) Has Little to Do with Battery, Electric Vehicle Production in the Province

A map to begin:

Then, further to this post,

The EV Age, or, the Dream of Ontario Assembly Plants for them and their Batteries

just because you mine and process raw materials in a province or country is mostly unrelated to where the batteries and electric vehicles using them are produced (a mistaken assumption the Ontario government and quite a few others seem to be making, see this recent post: “Quebec, Canada Gets Plant to Make Low-Hanging Fruit in Batteries/EV Supply Chain“). Especially if an American administration is very insistent that they be made in the good old US of A. Just consider these realities from Natural Resources Canada (a federal department):

Mineral Trade

Mineral products are classified into four stages of processing:

Stage I (primary products) -includes metal scrap and products from the mining industry such as ores and concentrates

Stage 2 (smelting and refining products) – includes products from metallurgical processes, which are relatively pure minerals, metals and alloys

Stage 3 (semi-fabricated products) – includes semi-fabricated products that are inputs in other industries, such as wire, sheets, strips, tubes and flat rolls

Stage 4 (fabricated products) – includes further processed products and final goods, such as metal structures and framing, hardware items, tools, cutlery and pipefittings

Trade by stage of processingMineral products are classified into four stages of processing:

Stage I (primary products) -includes metal scrap and products from the mining industry such as ores and concentrates

Stage 2 (smelting and refining products) – includes products from metallurgical processes, which are relatively pure minerals, metals and alloys

Stage 3 (semi-fabricated products) – includes semi-fabricated products that are inputs in other industries, such as wire, sheets, strips, tubes and flat rolls

Stage 4 (fabricated products) – includes further processed products and final goods, such as metal structures and framing, hardware items, tools, cutlery and pipefittings [and batteries and EVs]

As shown in Figure 3 [see below], Canada exports a much larger value of mineral products for stage 1 and stage 2 products than what it imports. On the other hand, Canada imports a higher value of mineral products for stage 3 and stage 4 products than what it exports [emphasis added, bingo! Q.E.D]. The result is a positive trade balance for stages 1 and 2 products and a negative trade balance for stages 3 and 4 products. This reflects Canada’s significant geological endowment and strength in the upstream mining and mineral processing industries, but lower downstream manufacturing capacity [emphasis added, hewers of wood and drawers of oil].

In 2020, the trade balance for stage 1 and stage 2 products decreased by 11% to $22.3 billion and by 23% to $19.4 billion respectively. For both stages, the change was due to a combination of higher imports and lower exports between the two periods.

Imports of stage 3 mineral products remained relatively stable in 2020, but a decline in exports resulted in a lower trade balance, down by 11% compared to the previous year to -$6.6 billion. Stage 4 mineral products experienced lower imports and stable exports, which resulted in an 18% increase of the trade balance, to -$19.7 billion.

Figure 3: Mineral and metal trade by stage, 2020

We’ve got to live in the real world not a dreamily electrified one. Now the stories–first by Canadian Press:

Ontario announces critical minerals strategy aiming to attract investment

Ontario is seeking to attract more critical mineral development and investment to the resource-rich province, with Premier Doug Ford tying it to his bid to boost the province’s electric vehicle and battery production [emphasis added, as shown above there is NO NECESSARY LINK].The premier announced a critical minerals strategy Thursday, a five-year roadmap that comes as a few weeks are left in his government’s term before the campaign for the June 2 election begins.

Ford said the strategy is a framework for connecting resources and industry in the north to manufacturing in the south, tapping into markets, and securing Ontario’s place in the global supply chain.

Read more: Ontario puts $250K toward proposed EV battery production lines

“Doing so has never been more important as we secure game-changing investments in our auto sector to build the electric vehicles and batteries of the future using Ontario minerals,” he said Thursday [March 17] in a statement.

Ontario already produces $3.5 billion a year in critical minerals, which are used in smartphones, batteries for electric vehicles and solar panels.

Greg Rickford, minister of northern development, mines, natural resources and forestry, said Ontario is blessed with deposits of nickel, lithium, platinum, cobalt and dozens of other strategically important raw materials.

“Many of these minerals have been identified by other countries as having geopolitical significance due to supply shortages or concentration of supply in very few countries,” he wrote in the introduction to the strategy [see this post: “Congo’s Cobalt Key to PRC’s Grasp for EV Dominance“]

The strategy aims to support exploration, boost domestic processing and create local supply chains, reduce regulatory burdens, and build economic development opportunities with Indigenous communities…

Currently, Ontario has approximately 130 early exploration projects targeting critical minerals and an additional 16 advanced-stage projects [so it’s all still pretty much never never land, real results a long way off]

Environmental assessments are underway for all-season road projects in the area, including those conducted by Marten Falls First Nation and Webequie First Nation…

But then see this at the CBC’s environmental newsletter:

The climate trade-off of developing Ontario’s Ring of Fire

Roughly 500 kilometres north of Thunder Bay, Ont., lies one of the most carbon-rich peatlands on the planet. This water-logged landscape of lakes, ponds and rivers carpeted in moss is known as the Hudson Bay Lowlands — or the “breathing lands” to nearby First Nations. 

But along with its status as an enormous stash of carbon, the area has become synonymous with a mining development known as the Ring of Fire, which the Ontario government has supported for more than a decade and included in a new “critical minerals” strategy announced by Ontario Premier Doug Ford today [March 17]

With this renewed push by the Ford government and Canadian mining company Noront Resources to extract the minerals needed for electric vehicles and clean energy, questions are surfacing about the impact of peatland mining on Canada’s climate goals…

Lorna Harris, a carbon and peatland researcher at Wildlife Conservation Society Canada, estimates that the area of the proposed Ring of Fire development alone locks away the equivalent of around 1.6 billion tonnes of CO2.

Releasing even some of that through damage to the landscape could create significant emissions of CO2 and methane… 

Since the Ring of Fire was discovered by Noront Resources in 2007 (and named by company founder and Johnny Cash fan Richard Nemis), the hype was around chromite, which is used to make stainless steel. More recently, the conversation has shifted to minerals like cobalt needed for electric car batteries [emphasis added]— especially given that the transportation sector makes up around 30 per cent of Canada’s emissions…

According to a 2020 presentation from Noront Resources, nickel, copper and cobalt — each essential for today’s electric vehicle batteries — are all abundant in the Ring of Fire. But the most advanced projects there centre on nickel, copper, platinum and palladium, in addition to chromium, a material in wind turbines. The area also contains diamonds and gold

The company hopes to start production in 2026 [emphasis added, “hopes”–surely that’s way too far down the road to have much effect on whether batteries or EVs themselves are produced in Ontario].

[Chief Robert] Nakogee [of Fort Albany First Nation] is one of five Indigenous chiefs who sent a Jan. 19 letter to Steven Guilbeault, Canada’s minister of environment and climate change, expressing concerns about the climate impacts of mining in the Ring of Fire and the “dishonourable” start to the regional assessment process, which began with terms of reference being drafted without Indigenous involvement.

In the minister’s response, obtained by CBC’s What On Earth radio program, Guilbeault said he extended the comment period for the terms of reference and committed to direct engagement with the chiefs…

“Without mining there is no such thing as a green economy,” he said. “Without those critical minerals, you will not be able to drive a clean, green automobile of the future [sure, but why must the mining be in Ontario?].”

Two of the area’s First Nations, Webequie and Marten Falls, are partnering with Noront Resources on access roads that would connect the Indigenous communities to the Ring of Fire mineral site.

“​​This not only enables mining development but also provides much-needed infrastructure that will improve the lives of local First Nations in the Ring of Fire region,” a Noront company spokesperson said in an emailed statement.

The two First Nations did not reply for comment by publication time… 

One wonders, heck, one is very doubtful about how enthusiastic PM Trudeau’s ever-greener government will prove to be about doing much concrete to smooth the way for that Ring of Fire.

Plus a post on trying get those EVs assembled in Ontario:

The Slow Death of Ontario’s/Canada’s Auto Industry–EV Production to Keep it Going without Massive Subsidies from Governments? (Note UPDATE)

PREDATE: More on the grim realities facing the Ontario auto industry–excerpts from the Globe and Mail:

Ontario desperately needs to play catchup on EVs, and jobs are on the line

Matt Bubbers

March 16, 2022

As The Globe reported previously, after the initial EV investments are made, the next big round may not come for another 10 years. Building a strong EV manufacturing base now ­– not in five or 10 years – is necessary in order to secure the long-term survival of Ontario’s auto industry, and the more than hundreds of thousands of jobs that directly and indirectly depend on it.

As it stands, Ontario is lagging way behind when it comes to EV adoption, and is at risk of missing out on the EV and battery manufacturing boom as well…

So far, the U.S. has been the big winner when it comes to EV manufacturing investments in North America. Ford is spending US$11-billion on three battery plants and a new assembly facility, all of which will be south of the border in Kentucky and Tennessee. General Motors is spending nearly US$7-billion in Michigan, creating an additional 4,000 jobs, to produce electric pickups and battery cells…

At the time of writing, Canada doesn’t have a complete battery manufacturing plant…

That’s not to say Ontario hasn’t had any success in attracting ZEV [zero emission vehicle] investment. It has, to the tune of around $4-billion, thanks to efforts from unions, as well as the provincial and federal governments. The province and feds each chipped in $295-million as part of a $1.8-billion investment to turn Ford’s Oakville Assembly Complex into a hub for electric vehicle production. General Motor is spending $1-billion to build BrightDrop electric delivery vans at its Ingersoll, Ont., plant, although that announcement was contingent on securing government support {emphasis added]

Somehow I doubt Ontario and the feds are going to be able to bribe, er, subsidize our way to electric success.

Mark Collins

Twitter: @mark3ds

The only possible theme song:

Canadian Hydrocarbon Heartbreak, cont’d, or the Gray Lady has at Alberta’s black Gold

The oh so progressive NY Times really has a hate on for what it delights in having described as the “tar sands”. One doubts the oh so green government of PM Trudeau will make much, if any, noise to the Biden administration about the Enbridge Line 3 oil pipeline, what with their hands being full trying to protect Ontario (and Quebec to a lesser extent) from the very serious effort by Michigan–with the tacit support of the US feds–to shut down the company’s Line 5 pipeline that is so important to the province’s economy.

Excerpts from an opinion piece by one of the leading opponents of the Keystone XL pipeline, the permit for which President Biden cancelled on his first day in office:

The Keystone XL Pipeline Is Dead. Next Target: Line 3.

By Bill McKibben

Mr. McKibben, a founder of the climate advocacy group 350.org, teaches environmental studies at Middlebury College and is the author of “Falter: Has the Human Game Begun to Play Itself Out?”

The announcement this week from the Canadian company TC Energy that it was pulling the plug on the Keystone XL pipeline project [i.e. not going to contest the president’s cancellation] was greeted with jubilation by Indigenous groups, farmers and ranchers, climate scientists and other activists who have spent the last decade fighting its construction.

The question now is whether it will be a one-off victory or a template for action going forward — as it must, if we’re serious about either climate change or human rights. The next big challenge looms in northern Minnesota, where the Biden administration must soon decide about the Line 3 pipeline being built by the Canadian energy company Enbridge Inc. to replace and expand an aging pipeline.

It’s easy to forget now how unlikely the Keystone fight really was. Indigenous activists and Midwest ranchers along the pipeline route kicked off the opposition. When it went national, 10 years ago this summer, with mass arrests outside the White House, pundits scoffed. More than 90 percent of Capitol Hill “insiders” polled by The National Journal said the company would get its permit.

But the more than 1,200 people who were arrested in that protest helped galvanize a nationwide — even worldwide — movement that placed President Barack Obama under unrelenting pressure. Within a few months he’d paused the approval process, and in 2015 he killed the pipeline, deciding that it didn’t meet his climate test.

…that’s what puts the Biden administration in an impossible place now. Enbridge wants to replace Line 3, which runs from Canada’s tar sands deposits in Alberta across Minnesota to Superior, Wis., with a pipeline that follows a new route and would carry twice as much crude. It would carry almost as much of the same heavy crude oil as planned for the Keystone XL pipeline — crude that is among the most carbon-heavy petroleum on the planet.

Call Line 3 Keystone, the Sequel.

If Keystone failed the climate test, how could Line 3, with an initial capacity of 760,000 barrels a day, possibly pass? It’s as if the oil industry turned in an essay, got a failing grade, ignored every comment and then turned in the same essay again — except this time it was in ninth grade, not fourth. It’s not like the climate crisis has somehow improved since 2015 — it’s obviously gotten far worse. At this point, approving Line 3 would be absurd.

The Keystone announcement is no doubt buoying the spirits of the protesters, led by Indigenous campaigners who are currently occupying the headwaters of the Mississippi River where the Line 3 pipeline must go [a story, featuring Jane Fonda: “Oil pipeline foes protest Enbridge’s Line 3 in Minnesota“]

…it’s not just the climate that’s changed in the last few years; it’s also the political climate. In an era when officials talk constantly about coming to terms with the dark parts of American history, I doubt Mr. Biden actually wants to sic the cops on Native elders as they sit at the headwaters of one of America’s most storied rivers, on land that, as Native leaders are pointing out, by treaty should fall under Native control.

Instead, the administration should pause construction on Line 3 and re-examine the river-crossing permits granted by the Army Corps of Engineers. The Department of Justice should stop trying to uphold the last administration’s decisions…

Just recall, by way of comparison, how concerned President Biden was when the American-owned Colonial Pipeline from Texas to New York was shut down by a ransomware cyberattack.

Mark Collins

Twitter: @Mark3ds

Mark Collins – Trump and NAFTA, or, Pity Ontario Autos and Quebec Bombardier…

…if the president-elect notices that these industries are essentially being kept going by governments’ subsidies, with perhaps the most US political relevance, in the case of cars, to the rust-belt states that gave Mr Trump his electoral college victory.


Ontario Autos: Union Deals Made–Time for Fed Funding for Bombardier? 

Plus Québec money essentially saving Bombardier:

Bombardier on ‘brink of bankruptcy’ in 2015, CEO reveals

Quite a few significant people in Ottawa, Toronto, Montreal and Quebec City must be excreting bricks hoping that all that Canadian corporate welfare somehow escapes detection by the Trump, er, radar with his Mexican fixation.

Mark Collins, a prolific Ottawa blogger, is a Fellow at the Canadian Global Affairs Institute; he tweets @Mark3Ds

Mark Collins – Ontario Autos: Union Deals Made–Time for Fed Funding for Bombardier?

Further to this post (note likely federal auto subsidies coming at 2)–Ontario provincial money pretty much a dead cert too),

Why Delay in Canadian Federal Funding for Bombardier? Ontario Auto Sector

now that union contracts have been signed with GM, Fiat Chrysler and Ford–each with pledges of substantial new investments by each company, a significant proportion of which will inevitably be underwritten by the federal and provincial governments—the coast is clear for Ottawa finally to make a deal to provide oodles of cash to Bombardier without fear of accusations that it allowed large parts of the Ontario auto sector to go down the tubes whilst favouring a Quebec-based company. The auto latest:

Unifor members approve new four-year labour agreement with Ford

Workers at Ford Motor Co. of Canada Ltd. have approved a new contract with the company, wrapping up 2016 contract negotiations between Unifor and the Canadian units of the Detroit Three auto makers.

Unifor members who work at Ontario plants in Oakville, Windsor, and a parts depot in Brampton, ratified the four-year agreement, with 58 per cent of those who voted giving it a thumbs up.

The Ford agreement calls for the auto maker to invest $713-million in the Canadian operations during the next four years.

Workers will receive $12,000 in bonuses and lump-sum payments during the four years, while wages will rise 2 per cent in the first year of the deal and 2 per cent in the fourth year.

But the key to the Ford deal for the union was new investment at engine facilities in Windsor, where the company has about 1,400 employees who work at two engine plants.

Ford agreed to spend $613-million in Windsor to prepare its Essex engine plant for a new, 7-litre engine. It also agreed to continue until 2020 to produce, at its Windsor engine plant, a 6.8-litre engine that was scheduled to go out of production.

Unifor won promises of $1.6-billion worth of new investment from Ford, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV and General Motors Co. in negotiations that began during the summer [how much of that money will eventually come from the two governments?].

The union’s key demand in the talks was investment that would keep plants that were on the endangered list from closing during the next four years [emphasis added]…

The earlier deals:

Fiat-Chrysler workers ratify four year contract deal
Workers vote to accept GM-Unifor deal

Some industries are more equal than others politically.

Mark Collins, a prolific Ottawa blogger, is a Fellow at the Canadian Global Affairs Institute; he tweets @Mark3Ds

Mark Collins – General Motors/Canadian Union Deal Looks Set: Governments’ Money Coming (Bombardier too?)

Further to this post,

Why Delay in Canadian Federal Funding for Bombardier? Ontario Auto Sector 

Ontario is almost certain to pony up money and surely there will be a good dollop of fed funds coming too (perhaps after Bombardier gets its tranche du porc?).

1) Ontario government:

Government support may have helped Unifor clinch deal with General Motors of Canada, avoiding a strike

Not only did Unifor narrowly avert a strike at General Motors of Canada Ltd., it got more out of its tentative agreement than seemed possible in the days leading up to Tuesday morning’s deal.

Although details of the contract are hazy and won’t be released until workers have voted on it, it appears that a combination of promised government support, a cheaper pension plan for new hires and possible buyouts were enough to secure the future of GM’s assembly plant in Oshawa, Ont., which until the early hours of Tuesday morning was very much up in the air…

One line in its brief press release may indicate another reason why Unifor was able to achieve so many of its goals, however.

“We will be working with government on potential support and will provide further details on the investment at the appropriate time,” GM said.

Brad Duguid, Ontario’s minister of economic development and growth, said Tuesday [Sept. 20] his government made it very clear to both sides that it would be a willing participant in any deal.

“This government is the biggest champion of the auto sector that the province has probably ever had, and we’ve made it very clear that these are the kind of projects that we would partner on as we have in the past and we expect to in the future,” Duguid said in an interview.

He wouldn’t specify the kind of support that has been offered, saying “that’s to be discussed in the coming days.”

“This is extremely important for the auto sector across the province, and we fully expect that we’ll be there to provide support for this deal,” Duguid added…

2) Ottawa:

Grants major influence in auto bargaining, auto expert says

Changes to the federal government’s funding for automakers played a big role in contract negotiations between General Motors of Canada and its employees, says Ian Lee, a business professor at Carleton University [my favorite Canadian economist, more here].

Unifor announced a tentative agreement with GM early Tuesday just after a midnight strike deadline.

Unifor announces tentative deadline deal with GM to avert strike

Lee credits the deal, in large part, to the Canadian government’s recent decision to convert loans from its Auto Innovation Fund into grants.

Though a spokesman for Canada’s industry ministry would not give specifics on how the new funding will work, Lee says the change means the automotive sector can be much more competitive with Mexico and the Southern United States [see earlier: “Ottawa changes auto fund to issue grants instead of loans”]…

3) More details on the tentative deal:

SUV plan key to GM’s deal with union

Just keep that taxpayers’ money coming.

Mark Collins, a prolific Ottawa blogger, is a Fellow at the Canadian Global Affairs Institute; he tweets @Mark3Ds

Mark Collins – Why Delay in Canadian Federal Funding for Bombardier? Ontario Auto Sector

Further to these posts,

If Feds Bail Out Bombardier, Can Ontario Auto Sector be Far Behind?
[Nov. 2015, company wants US$ 1B]

Things Looking Pretty Grim for Ontario Auto Sector–Fed Money (and provincial)?
[Aug. 2016]

and this news story September 13,

Quebec minister urges Ottawa to make a decision on Bombardier

Canadian government officials should “make up their minds” on a financial aid request by struggling aircraft maker Bombardier Inc., Quebec Finance Minister Carlos Leitao says.

Quebec announced an aid package for the C Series program late last year [also US$ 1B], which helped stabilize the Montreal-based company and allowed it to secure sales for the jet [see “Bombardier Loss-Leads CSeries to Delta–Big Time (plus Canadian politics)“], Mr. Leitao said at the Bloomberg Canadian Fixed Income Conference in New York. Quebec finalized the deal in June…

…Mr. Leitao says federal funding would allow the company to start developing new products…

it seems very likely to me that the real reason for Ottawa’s dithering is that the government knows it will have to pony up a lot of cash–along with the province–for the auto manufacturers in Ontario, especially to keep General Motors operating in Oshawa. If it had already given Bombardier its one billion then it would have severely weakened its bargaining position in trying to minimize the goodies for the car companies–money that will almost certainly be needed to avoid big job losses and money that will almost certainly be forthcoming.

The latest:

1) Oshawa’s future at play in talks with General Motors: Unifor has threatened to strike at midnight next Monday [Sept. 19] unless it wins a commitment from the company for more future work in Oshawa.

For auto workers in Oshawa, it’s do-or-die time.

In a city that was once synonymous with General Motors, there’s no promise of any future auto assembly work beyond 2019, so there are real fears production could shut down altogether.

That’s why Unifor, formerly the Canadian Auto Workers union, has threatened to strike at midnight next Monday, unless it wins a commitment from the company for more future work in Oshawa.

“If we don’t nail it now, we’re not going to nail it done, ever,” said Jerry Dias, the union’s national president. “If they are planning on closing Oshawa, then we’re going to have a strike.”

GM officials have long insisted that it won’t talk about new products in Canada until a collective agreement is signed first.

That’s why the union picked General Motors over Ford or Fiat Chrysler as its target to negotiate a contract that will hopefully set a pattern for the other two automakers…

John Holmes, an emeritus professor of geography at Queen’s University, said the union’s strategy to make GM its target is to win government support.

“I do think this is a very important round of negotiations for Canada – there is a lot at stake – including GM’s future in Canada,” he said.

“But I wonder the degree to which the union is making commitments of new products such a central issue . . . whether this is part of the union’s strategy trying to get jobs on the political agenda for the provincial government and the federal government,” said Holmes, who studies the North American auto industry.

Dias acknowledges that the stars appear to be aligning now, given that both Premier Kathleen Wynne and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau understand the importance of auto manufacturing to the Canadian economy [emphasis added, i.e. they better pay up].

“They get it. They are not foolish,” he said, adding that the Stephen Harper government was resistant to investment. “This whole thing about taxpayers’ money going for profitable companies . . . I understand the argument.

“But these companies have options. So we can be puritans, and be holier than thou and not have any jobs. Then we would be fools. There would be no tax base,” Dias said, noting other jurisdictions including Mexico are wooing car companies [more below]…

2) Ottawa changes auto fund to issue grants instead of loans

The federal government has quietly signalled to the auto industry that it is changing one of the key terms of the Automotive Innovation Fund (AIF), which offers financial assistance to vehicle manufacturers and parts makers to invest in existing Canadian plants or open new facilities [website here].

The federal program, introduced in 2008 by the Conservative government of Stephen Harper, offers repayable loans – treated by Canada Revenue Agency as revenue and thus partly subject to tax – to auto makers and parts companies. The Ontario government and many other jurisdictions seeking to land auto investment offer tax-free grants.

Ottawa will change the program so that it offers grants instead of loans, multiple industry sources said.

Auto makers began lobbying for a change in the program almost immediately after it was introduced, pointing out it was one of a series of factors that made Canada uncompetitive in the battle against Mexico and the U.S. South for new investments…

The move by the federal government comes amid negotiations between General Motors Co. and Unifor, the union that represents the company’s hourly paid workers in Canada, that centre on the future of an assembly plant and about 2,400 jobs in Oshawa, Ont.

General Motors of Canada Co. president Stephen Carlisle has said the federal program should offer grants instead of loans and it is one factor among several – including the outcome of bargaining with Unifor – that will determine whether Oshawa will be competitive enough to win new investment [emphasis added, the writing on the factory wall is pretty darn clear, ain’t it?].

By the way Unifor also represents Bombardier’s aviation workers at Downsview, Ontario, where the Q400 turboprop airliner and Global bizjets have final assembly (more here)–and both those programs are having their respective problems, see here and here. So the union would sure love that federal moolah for both the aviation and auto industries.

Poor taxpayers, federal and provincial. Happy corporate welfare bums.

Mark Collins, a prolific Ottawa blogger, is a Fellow at the Canadian Global Affairs Institute; he tweets @Mark3Ds

Mark Collins – Things Looking Pretty Grim for Ontario Auto Sector–Fed Money (and provincial)?

Further to this post last year, the main point of which I think very much still applies (feds are still dithering on money for the aircraft company),

If Feds Bail Out Bombardier, Can Ontario Auto Sector be Far Behind?

note this headline:

Canadian auto industry faces biggest existential threat since 2009 crisis as labour talks begin

How philosophical will Ottawa be about bailout bonanzas? They can’t very well help one industry and not ‘tother without enraging on huge province or ‘tother. Poor politcos. Poor taxpayers.

Mark Collins, a prolific Ottawa blogger, is a Fellow at the Canadian Global Affairs Institute; he tweets @Mark3Ds