The Canadian government has told automakers that a new raft of legislation limiting emissions would be introduced, and take effect at the end of the current voluntary program in 2010.
A report from Reuters indicated a meeting brokered by Finance Minister Jim Flaherty, who has strong ties to Ontario-based auto manufacturers, the government said on October 3, that it would bring in tougher environmental rules for the industry after top-level consultations with industry representatives over the next few months.
Flaherty said all major industries would eventually be subject to new regulations, including oil and gas.
“We can’t have one sector or industry not involved in environmental regulation and the effort for clean air and improving health in Canada,” Flaherty told reporters after the meeting. “All sectors of the Canadian economy are involved in the regulatory effort. They will all be regulated.”
The Conservatives are under criticism for dismissing the Kyoto agreement on curbing greenhouse gases as unworkable and have set out to show Canadians they are serious about the environment by drafting up their own “green plan,” focusing on clean air.
In an usual show of force, ministers for the environment, transport, industry and natural resources attended the meeting, facing off with the top five carmakers in Canada — DaimlerChrysler AG, Ford Motor Co., General Motors, Honda Motor Co. and Toyota Motor Corp.
Buzz Hargrove, president of the Canadian Auto Workers, also participated and emerged slightly relieved because his worst fear — California-style emissions standards — was not confirmed.
Carmakers tout the success of a voluntary accord signed with the government last year that they say has led to improved fuel-efficiency and smog reduction. That accord aims to cut 5.3 megatons in annual greenhouse-gas emissions by 2010.