Volkswagen Mega Battery Factory Heres St Thomas the Ontario town

Ottawa is paying up to $13 billion in aid to Volks’ battery megafactory

$13 billion in public funding over the next ten years. That’s what the Trudeau administration is prepared to put on the table at Volkswagen’s future Ontario mega-factory in St. Thomas in a bid to beat Americans in the financial stimulus race.

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This was stated by the Minister for Innovation, Science and Industry (ISED), François-Philippe Champagne, in an interview with Bloomberg. This amount was confirmed by Le Journal from a government source.

This is the maximum amount of aid the German multinational can receive, depending on the scale of production at its mega-factory, which is expected to cost $7 billion to build.

The aid is significant because it was necessary to fight the Biden administration, which was willing to provide billions of dollars in stimulus to attract these large investments to the country.

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However, according to Renaud Brossard, senior director of communications at the Montreal Economic Institute (IEDM), the financial push from Ottawa is overdone.

“More than $13 billion is very expensive to pay to attract up to 3,000 jobs, it amounts to just over $4.3 million per worker,” he explained.

“Rather than pouring so much money into Volkswagen, the federal government would have done better to attack the regulations and the level of taxes to attract more companies,” he added.

A nudge in Quebec»so the block

For Sébastien Lemire, MP for the Bloc Québécois, it’s the straw that breaks the camel’s back for the battery industry.

“It’s a snub to Quebec. We’re being stripped naked by the federal government,” lamented the bloc’s industry spokesman.

Sébastien Lemire, MP for the Bloc Québécois.

Photo archive, Agency QMI

Sébastien Lemire, MP for the Bloc Québécois.

“I assume that the remaining investments will be made in Quebec. We were leaders in the energy transition,” criticized the Vice President of the Standing Committee on Industry and Technology.

“There is only one lithium mine in production in Canada and it is here. Can we arrange for the processing to be brought close?” asked the member for Abitibi – Témiscamingue.

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Mayor to the birds

Earlier in April, Le Journal traveled to St. Thomas, Ontario, to paint a portrait of the city of 43,000 that had just robbed the Quebec factory.

St. Thomas Mayor Joe Preston said in an interview he doesn’t yet know about the federal financial contribution to the mega-factory, which is expected to start production in four years.

When we visited, the entrepreneurs in St. Thomas were already excited about the news as they adjusted to the fact that each job at Volkswagen would bring in between five and ten.

Blaine Rockschak

Photo Francis Halin

Blaine Rockschak

“We’re back on the map. It’s surreal,” said Blaine Skirtschak, general manager of transport company Messenger Freight Systems, in front of the German giant’s future factory.