The same day Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was in Victoria to talk about clean economy and electric vehicle infrastructure (EV), a federal cabinet minister was in Coquitlam to echo his words.
Bill Blair, Canada’s minister for emergency preparedness, met with Coquitlam-Port Coquitlam MP Ron McKinnon to discuss the recent budget that earmarks $900 million in incentives and grants to install more charging stations across the country.
Delivered last Thursday (April 7) by Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland, the 2022 budget has a focus on climate change with the government targeting one in five new vehicles sold to be zero emission by 2026.
Other federal cabinet ministers fanned out across B.C. and the Yukon on Monday (April 11) to also tout the budget.
McKinnon, who was charging his Mitsubishi Outlander hybrid by the Evergreen Cultural Centre while meeting with Blair, said he’s saved nearly $10,000 in fuel since 2018.
“We have to support people as they get out of their gas cars and make sure there’s an alternative,” McKinnon said, adding more charging stations are needed in rural and northern communities.
“About 25 per cent of our emissions come from transportation…. If we eliminate that, it would be like getting rid of an oil sand.”
McKinnon said the government also plans to phase out thermal coal exports by 2030, while Blair said Canada plans to secure minerals for EV batteries from sources other than Russia.
With the price of fuel on the rise — most recently due to the Russian invasion on Ukraine — Canadians need to look for cheaper and cleaner ways to get around, Blair said, noting the budget also pledges to extend the $5,000 purchase rebate on EV for three more years.
The MPs' comments came just before Coquitlam council heard about an upcoming eScooter program in the city, and an eMobility work plan.
The city will be taking part in the province’s Electric Kick Scooter Pilot Project — for personal and shared electric kick-scooter devices — and will draft bylaw changes to regulate the devices.
Currently, under the provincial Motor Vehicle Act, eScooters, eSkateboards and other micro-mobility devices (except for eBikes, mopeds and motorcycles) aren’t allowed on public streets.
Eight B.C. municipalities are enrolled in the Electric Kick Scooter Pilot Project: Vancouver; North Vancouver (city and district); West Vancouver, Richmond; Nanaimo; Vernon; and Kelowna.