PQ’s Breton wants to join Electrification bandwagon
It’s not often that someone sees a plug-in car around here, even less so in an industrial setting, but this is the sight that met the press as they entered the Gspek plant in Magog, last Friday, for a PQ press conference on the economy and electrification.
The electric plugged car, a GM Volt, is owned by Éric Graveson, president of Gspek, an assembly shop in the Magog industrial park who does subcontracting for Waterville TG, building the lowly gaskets that make or break a car satisfaction index with customers, BMW being one hell of a tough client.
So before the press conference started formally, there was a lot of discussion on various electric cars, including the Tesla with its unreachable price, but owned by someone from the region.
As the subject of the press conference was on the electrification of transport, at least the host and the guest had an idea of what they were talking about.
Orford PQ candidate, Michel Breton, along with Alain Therrien, who is the Parliamentary assistant to the Minister of Finance, was there to present the Parti Québécois plan to use more electricity to power vehicles and also leverage the huge expertise that universities and Hydro-Québec have developed over the years, both in motorisation and storage.
Way back when, in the 90’s, Quebec was at the forefront of the field with two major inventions: The ‘Motorwheel’ and a new type of battery, both the result of work done at the
Université du Québec, INRS- Énergie and Hydro-Quebec’s IREQ. Political infighting, both became political balloons for the Parti Québecois who could only point to some shenanigans from the last couple of years of Bourassa’s last term in office to put both programs in jeopardy, helped by the American car industry which was doing anything in its power to kill the basic idea of an electric car.
Mr. Breton, along with Mr. Graveson, wanted to stress that the Magog region is a hub in the car manufacturing business and that the hundreds of jobs related to the industry in the region must profit from government programs related to electrification.
BRP, originally Bombardier, Waterville TG and Camoplast Solideal, in Magog, being the best known enterprises in the industry in the immediate region. It is rumored that Bombardier is testing a fully electric Spyder, its three wheel motorcycle.
Mr. Therrien wanted to stress that the Liberals had refused to endorse the concept of having the local CLD act as forefront for the new ‘Banque de développement du Québec’ which would have folded some of the activities of
Investissements Québec into the new entities. When asked by this newspaper how the recent decision by the Canadian government to curtail the number of so called ‘investors visas’ would curtail the activities of
Investissements Québec, which heavily relies on them (mostly Chinese) for its lending capital, he said that the government was looking into the decision.
It was the week for the local economy as, the day before, incumbent Pierre Reid’s weekly press briefing was on the same theme, the Liberal candidate stressing that better coordination is essential to develop the industrial sector in his riding. “We have excellent schools and universities to train workers, but they must work hand in hand with the private sector.” He also stressed that his pet project of helping older workers who have not completed high school is going well. He cited the local hospital who is now hiring these types of workers and some private industries who do also. “Their work experience compensates for their lack of formal training and can help a lot of employers.” He also announced that some investments may be coming to the riding, refusing, as he as always done, to announce what is not signed.
(Disclaimer: The writer has known Pierre Couture, the inventor of the Motorwheel, when they both served on the Board of Governors of l’Université du Québec
in the 1970’s.)
On the Gspek factory floor, PQ candidate Michel Breton and his colleague Alain Therrien.
Pierre Reid at his weekly press conference.