While the government is celebrating its agreement with Volkswagen, which sees the car maker receiving up to $13 billion in grants and subsidies, many Canadians are questioning the latest corporate handout.
The federal government has pledged these subsidies for Volkswagen to build the largest factory in the country in St. Thomas, Ontario. The government claims 3000 direct jobs and 30,000 indirect jobs will be created as a result. The plant itself is expected to cost $7 billion and subsidies will come into effect after completion.
The factory is expected to open in 2027 and will be roughly 370 acres, or equivalent to 378 football fields.
“This is a game-changer for our nation,” said Innovation Minister François-Philippe Champagne Thursday. “It is also a vote of confidence in Canada as the green supplier of choice to the world.”
The Government of Ontario will be providing $500 million in direct incentives to Volkswagen in order to support their investment.
Critics of the government were quick to question the government on the biggest corporate welfare payout in modern Canadian history.
Federal Director of the Canadian Taxpayers’ Federation Franco Terrazzano argues the money given to Volkswagen would’ve been better suited for Canadians during tough economic times.
“Taxpayers don’t have $13 billion to give to a multinational corporation,” said Terrazzano in a news release. “
“For $13 billion, Canada could build 15 hospitals based on the construction costs of the Grande Prairie Regional Hospital,” wrote Terrazzano. “Instead of raising taxes then giving buckets of cash to hand-picked multinational corporations, the feds should be cutting taxes and red tape to help all Canadians.”
Conservative leader Pierre Poilievre was also critical of the deal, arguing that taxpayers’ money does not belong to foreign companies.
“This money belongs to Canadians, not to a foreign corporation,” wrote Conservative leader Pierre Poilievre in a tweet last month when the factory was first announced.
“Another Liberal record!” wrote the leader of the People’s Party of Canada Maxime Bernier on Twitter, reacting to the payout.
“Canada giving Volkswagen $13 Billion plus…. Most expensive virtue signalling spend yet!” wrote another user. “Election can’t come soon enough!”