OTTAWA, March 21, l2023 (BSS/AFP) - Canadian Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland said Monday the federal budget, to be released next week, will include big investments in the "clean economy," to narrow a gap with massive US subsidies.
Speaking to reporters ahead of the March 28 release of the federal budget, Freeland said to expect "serious investments" in this sector.
"We will invest in building Canada's clean economy," she said, adding that the "investments are going to be smart (and) they are going to be strategic."
The minister did not provide specifics, but Ottawa has been wooing investment in advanced lithium-ion batteries manufacturing for electric vehicles and critical minerals mining.
Last week, German auto giant Volkswagen announced it was building its first North American battery factory in St. Thomas, Ontario.
Stellantis and LG Energy Solution have also partnered on a new battery plant in Canada.
"From clean energy to clean technology, to battery manufacturing, to electric vehicles, we can and we are becoming a global leader in the growing clean economy," Freeland said, pointing to Canada's abundance of hydroelectricity and critical minerals.
Green technology production has taken on greater urgency after the United States unveiled a $370 billion program of tax credits and subsidies for electric vehicles, batteries and renewable energy projects -- if they are US-made.
China currently dominates in many sectors including semiconductors, critical minerals, batteries and solar panels.
The clean technology sector is expected to be worth 600 billion euros ($630 billion) worldwide by 2030, more than three times the current level.
Freeland said the federal budget would also highlight billions of dollars recently announced for health care, and "targeted inflation relief" for Canadians struggling with rising prices.
Otherwise, she said, to expect no frills. "In our budget, we will exercise fiscal restraint."