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Hargrove and McGuinty Oppose Clean Air Regulations
04/10/2006

The Conservative government is pursuing a plan for mandatory improvements in auto emissions. The Toronto Star and Globe and Mail appear have conflicting reports on whether the targets of these regulations will be toxins or greenhouse gases.

I earlier criticized the Martin government for opting for a voluntary emissions-reduction plan and have to give the Conservatives some credit for being firm about a regulatory approach. Of course, it's wise to reserve judgement until we see what the rules will actually be.

Both Buzz Hargrove and Dalton McGuinty have jumped up to criticize the plan, and to criticize the very notion of doing anything that might upset the car manufacturers.

In my view, Buzz and Dalton are both too concerned about their patrons' desires and not concerned enough about what our society needs. Furthermore, I believe they are wrong in their apparent belief that Detroit-based companies can't compete on this issue. It's that sort of resistance to consumer demands that breeds a losing attitude.

Anyway, while they are both wrong, Buzz and Dalton did make some good points.

Via AD, I read that Hargrove said:

...a more appropriate way to handle this would be to introduce incentives for people who have older vehicles to trade them in for newer vehicles that are much more fuel efficient.

On this point he's right -- our air quality could be cleaned more rapidly by removing older cars from the road. This is especially true when considering toxins and smog-producers.

Meanwhile, McGuinty is right when he argues that no particular industry should be targeted for regulations. We need cleaner production from all branches of the economy. McGuinty is concerned that Ontario's automakers are being hit while Alberta's oil producers are getting a free ride.


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