Windsor mayor disappointed by feds handling of Stellantis deal for EV battery plant

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Ontario Construction News staff writer

Windsor Mayor Drew Dilkens is urging the federal government to quickly reach a final agreement with Stellantis and LG Energy Solution to end what he calls “the embarrassing public negotiation of subsidies” for the NextStar Energy battery plant.

“I think it’s an embarrassment for the whole country,” Dilkens said in an interview Wednesday with the Windsor Star. “It’s an embarrassment for the city because it’s playing out in our backyard, but Canada looks like amateur hour on this.”

Dilkens was reacting to reports that the companies are preparing for a complete halt to construction at the battery plant site. The automaker will be “reviewing its Canadian footprint.”

The federal government has reportedly been negotiating an updated funding agreement since last August to compete with massive subsidies offered to companies through U.S. President Joe Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act.

Premier Doug Ford says he doesn’t know what the federal government means as it calls for the province to pay its “fair share” in a deal with automaker Stellantis that appears to be in jeopardy.

Ford says the province signed its own deal with Stellantis for a $500-million capital contribution — the same amount committed to Volkswagen for an electric vehicle battery facility in St. Thomas — and Ontario hasn’t been involved in the federal government’s production incentive discussions.

Stellantis officials have said the federal government has confirmed in writing five times that it would match production incentives under the United States’ Inflation Reduction Act but has not delivered on those commitments so construction at the site has stopped.

However, federal finance minister Chrystia Freeland says today that Canada is pouring $120 billion over more than 10 years into a green industrial strategy, and to ensure fairness, provinces that benefit from those investments need to “pay their share.”

 

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