August 29, 2018 7:29 am

Bill Kelly: Judge orders electric car rebate fairness from a wrong-headed policy

In an attempt to protect Ontario's traditional auto industry, Premier Doug Ford scrapped the electric vehicle debate. As a result, that shut Tesla out of the market. But as Mike Drolet reports, the car giant went to court to have that decision overturned - and won.

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I’m not surprised that an Ontario judge has ruled that the Ford government was discriminating when they refused to honour the government rebates for Tesla purchases under the Green Energy rebate program.

The government’s flimsy rationale, that only cars ordered from dealerships would qualify, was tossed out by the judge.

READ MORE: Court rules in favour of Tesla over Ontario government’s cancellation of electric vehicle rebates


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Interestingly, this could be the first of a series of financial consequences for Ford’s arbitrary decisions to rip up contracts and cancel programs.

Businesses stung by Ford’s decisions to cancel the cap-and-trade program and the Green Energy Act are also considering multi-million dollar legal actions against the Ford government, but that’s a topic for another day.

But even as the judge rightly decreed that Tesla purchasers deserved to be treated fairly, I still have a problem with the whole idea of a government offering cash incentives to buy electric cars.

READ MORE: PC government’s decision to end Ontario electric vehicle rebate program likely to affect sales: industry

Electric may well be the future, but we’re not there yet.

We drive a lot in Ontario, long distances in all kinds of weather and electric technology just isn’t there to meet our needs.

Whether it’s electric cars or trying to promoting public transit, the same simple rule applies; if it’s not convenient and affordable, the public just won’t buy it.

As last spring’s election showed, governments that try to force-feed consumers and legislate what we should buy are just greasing the skids to their own demise.

Bill Kelly is the host of the Bill Kelly Show on Global News Radio 900 CHML

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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