Ontario premier Doug Ford in Bradford, Ontario.

During his address yesterday in Bradford, ON, Ontario Premier Doug Ford assured Canadians that the province will become “the number one manufacturer of electric, battery-operated cars in North America.”

This statement followed a reporter’s question pertaining to the Bradford Bypass’ highway construction, and the corresponding impact that more gas-powered cars on the road could have on the evolving climate crisis. Ford noted that it was an excellent question, and revealed that the Ontario government is leading the biggest fundamental change to greenhouse gasses of anywhere in the country.

“We’ve been working hand-in-hand with the big five automakers, not only manufacturing cars, but we are going to be the number one manufacturer of battery-operated cars in North America,” shared Ford. “Those are staggering figures. We are investing billons of dollars in conjunction with the auto sector to make sure that we aren’t only going to manufacture the batteries here, but also the cars.” According to Ford, this will be one of the largest programs to date that aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and help to curb climate change.

Perhaps this news should come as no surprise, as back in October, Ford made similar assurances, noting that Ontario has the natural resources required to establish new battery plants. “We have the natural resources. We have the cobalt, we have the lithium, we have the nickel. We have everything here. And you should be building it here.”

In the interview, Ford noted that he wants to open up the so-called Ring of Fire mineral deposits, located more than 500 kilometres north of Thunder Bay. The deposits include chromite, cobalt, lithium, manganese, nickel, graphite and copper.

The area is home to First Nations, and while Ford said that he would consult and include Indigenous people from the area, some First Nations groups are skeptical. “There is going to be opposition, if this continues the way it is and the Ford government or any future government doesn’t recognize the rights of our people, it’s going to be a strong stance,” Chief Wayne Moonias of the Neskantaga First Nation told the CBC.

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