Canada's plan for aging cars a lemon: consultant

Thu Dec 6, 2007 12:13pm EST
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TORONTO (Reuters) - Canada's government must offer more than token incentives if it wants to be serious about getting older, less-efficient cars off the road, one of the country's top industry consultants said on Thursday.

But Dennis DesRosiers, head of DesRosiers Automotive, said the Conservative government lacks the fortitude to combat the environmental concerns.

"The only truly effective way in an incentive program is to have a carrot and a stick, and we don't have politicians with enough guts to actually try to remove vehicles that are older," DesRosiers told Reuters.

In a speech in Toronto on Wednesday, Environment Minister John Baird said Ottawa was poised to unveil a plan that will offer rewards to drivers that scrap their old vehicles.

"We will have an initiative in the coming weeks on that," Baird said during a lunchtime address to the Economic Club in Toronto. He gave no specifics.

This followed a federal discussion paper released in the summer that outlined a number of incentives including cash, free transit passes and rebates on new, fuel-efficient vehicles.

"The incentive options offered through this new program will aim to accelerate the removal of older vehicles from the road and to encourage Canadians to consider sustainable transportation alternatives," the document said.

It also set aside C$6 million ($5.9 million) in this year's budget to fund a vehicle retirement program.

DesRosiers noted, however, that these small incentives will do little to get the less efficient, more polluting cars, typically more than 10 years old, off the road.   Continued...