Quebec Premier Francois Legault announced today at the UN climate summit in Glasgow, that his government will spend $3.65 Billion on a $5 Billion electric bus program. Ottawa and municipal transit operators will make up the difference. The deal, when complete, will see fully 55 per cent of the province’s bus fleets run on electricity—more than 2,148 buses. The actual cost to purchase of the buses will be $2.4 Billion– the remaining $2.6 billion will re-tool the garages of the province’s nine transit authorities to maintain electric vehicles.
By contrast, in Hamilton the federal government and the province will spend $3.4 billion on a 14-kilometer LRT system.
$5 Billion to bring about transformative change to every transit authority in the province of Quebec, versus $3.4 Billion for eight miles of LRT that duplicates an existing local and express bus service.
A staff report says Hamilton’s $3.4 Billion LRT will displace 23 greenhouse-gas producing buses. Legault’s $5 Billion plan will displace roughly 100 times more buses.
Meanwhile, Catherine McKenna, the former Environment Minister who engineered this deal, is swanning around Glasgow—one of 277 Canadian Government officials and 17 press flacks contributing to the Scottish hotel and restaurant industry– telling other countries to follow Canada’s lead on imposing carbon pricing.
From a climate perspective, rather than virtue-signaling to the world in Scotland, it might be more instructive to come back and explain to Canadians the comparative environmental footprints of the Quebec province-wide electric bus initiative versus the Hamilton project—not to mention the relative merits of the cash expenditure. Of course, we are reminded its not just about the environment, nor is it about transit—it’s also about affordable housing, as the minister solemnly declared when the Hamilton LRT was announced. For more information on that topic see here.