Premier Smtih isn't happy with the Federal Government's electric vehicle mandate.
Under this mandate, starting in 2026, 20 percent of new light-duty vehicles sold in Canada must be electric vehicles (EVs), with the percentage increasing annually until 2035, when all new light-duty vehicles sold in Canada must be electric.
The Government of Canada stated on Canada's Electric Vehicle Availability Standard webpage, "These vehicles account for about half of Canada’s greenhouse gas emissions from the transportation sector, while the transportation sector overall accounts for about 25 percent of Canada’s overall greenhouse gas emissions."
In a statement issued in response to the federal mandate, Premier Smith states that while her government supports reducing emissions and those who wish to drive lower-emission vehicles, she doesn't believe that the federal government has the "legal or moral authority to tell Albertans what vehicles they can and cannot buy."
"And yet, in another show of total disregard for the well-being of Canadians, the federal government has unilaterally imposed an unconstitutional edict with a bizarrely impossible timeline that will result in massive increases in the cost of vehicles and utility bills, vehicle rationing and wait lists, increased costs to businesses and elevated difficulty and safety risk for hundreds of thousands of Albertans and Canadians just trying to get to work and family activities in our unpredictable, and often cold, climate," Smith explained.
In the release, Smith also stated that not only are there not enough EV chargers but claims that Ottawa doesn't even know where the chargers are needed.
According to the Government of Canada webpage, there are currently over 25,000 EV charges across Canada, with the Government committing over $1.2 billion to add additional EV chargers across Canada,
On top of that, Quebec, British Columbia, and Ontario have all committed millions of dollars to help boost the number of chargers in their own provinces.
Also, a majority of manufacturers will be transitioning to the North American Charging Standard (NACS) port, which will make most models of EVs work with the same public chargers.
In her response to the EV mandate, Smith also expressed concern over the state of our electricity grid.
"It’s also deeply concerning that Ottawa is trying to force increased demands on the electricity grid while simultaneously weakening Alberta’s and other provinces’ grids through their federal electricity regulations. Our electric grids are not equipped to handle the massive demand surge that a forced full-scale transition to EVs would need to accommodate the delusional timelines in Ottawa’s regulations, and the federal government has not provided remotely enough financial assistance to assist provincial grids to meet this mandated electricity demand."
According to the Federal government, electric vehicles are expected to only account for roughly five per cent of the total electricity demand in Canada in 2035, with it reaching 9.5 percent in 2050.
The Canadian Automobile Association (CAA) estimates that the average Canadian spends around $3,000 per year on fuel, but say the average annual amount spent on electricity to power EV's is only a few hundred dollars.
For a 400 km trip, what would cost a gas vehicle $50, it would cost a comparable electric vehicle only about $10 for the same trip.
Smith's concerns don't end there.
"Further, these new regulations will result in a shortage and rationing of traditional vehicles starting in 2026 and even earlier, as millions of consumers in need of combustion engine vehicles, especially those living in smaller municipalities that commute long distances, will be unable to power or afford an EV but also won’t be able to find an appropriate vehicle to drive in their circumstances. Apparently, the federal government doesn’t understand that freezing with their families in -30 C on the side of a rural road is not an option for Albertans," Smith explains.
While concerns over battery life in cold weather are a concern, EVs have proved to be reliable in colder climates.
In fact, close to 90 per cent of new vehicle sales in Norway are electric vehicles.
The CAA also estimates that the average maintenance cost of an EV is roughly half of that of a gas-powered vehicle.
For those who still would prefer a gas or diesel vehicle, manufacturers will still be making new ones until 2035.
Health Canada states that air pollution from on-road vehicles in Canada contributes to an estimated 1,200 premature deaths and millions of non-fatal health issues annually every year, resulting in an estimated economic cost of $9.5 billion each year.
The federal mandate is expected to prevent 362 megatonnes of cumulative greenhouse gas emissions.
But Smith says that her government "will do everything within its legal jurisdiction to thwart implementation of these unconstitutional regulations in our province."
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