The calls have been so frequent and made by so many over time that the concept of a nationwide auto technique has virtually change into white noise.
However Canada wants one now greater than ever.
Brendan Sweeney, the manager director of the London, Ont.-based Trillium Community for Superior Manufacturing, satisfied me of that on the Dec. 3 episode of the Automotive Information Canada podcast.
He informed me he’s “100 million per cent” behind the concept, and right here’s why: The standard automotive business and its provide chain are altering — and quick.
The speedy tempo of electrification means mining is now a part of the auto business. And with the race towards autonomous automobiles effectively below means, expertise is a good larger a part of the provision chain. And, in fact, as now-retired Magna CEO Don Walker as soon as stated — and I’m paraphrasing — automobiles will at all times want seats.
This Canadian auto business is not primarily contained alongside Ontario’s Freeway 401 between Windsor and Oshawa. It now can — and will — embrace mining in northern Ontario and Quebec. It contains the fuel-cell analysis being carried out by firms equivalent to Ballard in Burnaby, B.C.
And what about Alberta? Sure, Alberta, the place the Alberta Centre for Superior Microsystems and Nanotechnology Merchandise (ACAMP) helps the event of autonomous-transportation applied sciences.
And there’s Canada’s personal battery guru, Jeff Dahn, whom we not too long ago profiled, doing battery analysis in Halifax.
The auto business and the federal authorities coverage affecting it could possibly not be ignored by people in Alberta or Manitoba, which is a hub for bus and fire-truck meeting. Certain, these aren’t cars, however they’re transportation.
“Till comparatively not too long ago, it was actually fairly exhausting to pitch automotive as a pan-Canadian factor to people in Saskatchewan or people in Cape Breton,” Sweeney stated. “But when we will do that tip-to-tail battery provide chain, effectively, this extends into northern communities and extends into First Nations communities.
“So, it’s about time. We’ve clusters and lists of discrete initiatives and really worthwhile capabilities. We’ve to convey them collectively. And it’s going to take a method to do this, and it’s going to take a coordination and possibly some sort of coordinating physique of authority. We will’t have seven coordinating our bodies. It’s time.”
The necessity for a coordinated effort — particularly aimed on the rise of U.S. protectionism, notably President Joe Biden’s proposed EV credit score — has put collectively some unusual bedfellows.
On Dec. 9, the Ontario authorities created the Premier’s Council on U.S. Commerce and Business Competitiveness, designed to maintain the province aggressive in manufacturing — automotive specifically. Curiously, Premier Doug Ford’s council shall be chaired by Unifor President Jerry Dias.
A Conservative authorities’s council chaired by a unionist. I by no means thought I’d see the day.
Chatting with suppliers simply days earlier than the council’s creation, Ford nailed it:
“That is the time for a Group Canada method.”