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Keep Canada Boring to Keep Canada Competitive – Policy Magazine

May 13, 2024

Hardly a week goes by these days without a headline documenting a big new investment in the energy transition. Recently, it was Ontario’s turn, with Honda Motor Co. announcing a historic $15 billion commitment to build a comprehensive electric vehicle supply chain from start to finish.

It was another welcome proof point that Canada can compete and win as the global shift to a clean economy continues to ramp up, and evidence that our success doesn’t hinge on government subsidies alone. In fact, our relative predictability and, well, boringness, offer skittish investors safe harbour in a global sea of uncertainty.

Canada isn’t simply a go-to location for these types of big projects because of government support. In fact, Honda will receive less support for this project than it would if it were located in the U.S. Asked why it chose Canada, Honda Motor Co.’s president referenced access to critical minerals, a clean electricity supply, a strong workforce and overall confidence in the Canadian electric-vehicle ecosystem.

Beyond these tangible benefits, there is also the intangible: stability and predictability in an increasingly volatile world. As Chris Bataille, an adjunct research fellow at the Columbia University Center on Global Energy Policy, quipped, “One of things that people keep missing about Canada is that while we’re not cheap, our rule of law and economic and political stability – i.e., our boringness – are normally second to none. That’s important in global finance, where investment risk drives everything.”

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