Electric Slide: Quebec to ban sale of gas-powered cars by 2035

Quebec City, Quebec — Premier Francois Legault announced Monday a $6.7 billion plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions will see the sale of new, gasoline-powered cars and SUVs banned in Quebec by the year 2035. 

The new policy will assist the province in meeting its pledge to reduce emissions by 37.5 per cent over 1990 levels by 2030, according to Legault. Despite this, the premier disclosed that the plan will only see Quebec reach 42 per cent of its goal. He hopes for more technological advances and additional investments from Ottawa to close the gap. 

“We have a duty to the next generations,” Legault said at a news conference. “As I said when I was getting sworn in as premier, I could not look my two sons in the eye if I didn’t make efforts to meet this enormous challenge that all of us on the planet has.” 

The $6.7-billion plan is to be spread over five years and will see more than half the funding – about $3.6 billion – invested into the transportation sector for things like subsidies to encourage individuals and businesses to buy electric vehicles. 

Quebec’s previous goal of reducing greenhouse gasses by 20 per cent, over 1990s levels, by 2020 has been missed with data from 2015 – 2017 showing increased emissions, a sign that Quebec is “going in the wrong direction,” according to Legault. 

Legault faced some criticism for his plan with Quebec Solidaire, the second opposition party, saying the government isn’t doing enough to discourage private vehicle use and suggesting there be a tax put in place for SUV owners. A tax that will encourage them to buy smaller cars that are better for the environment.  

The premier’s response to this was that he preferred incentives over punishment. Despite the opposition’s dislike of the plan, it has received some positive feedback from a group that represents business leaders in the province. 

With this plan emphasizing the importance of increasing the use of EVs to reduce emissions, the province should also look at investing in the automotive aftermarket and collision repair industry–with more EVs guaranteed on Canadian roads, the industry should expect an influx of EV repair training.

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