A Toronto-based government relations specialist is advising clean transition entrepreneurs to tentatively mark October in their calendars for the first signs of federal procurement supporting a Build Back Better agenda.
By then, the Trudeau government expects to have supplied a dose of COVID-19 vaccine to everyone who wants one, Pathway Group senior associate Gregory Stulen writes for Electric Autonomy. “The timing of vaccinations being available to the Canadian general public is important because it will signal two things—the end of the ongoing public health emergency, and the beginning of the rollout of economic stimulus spending to get local and national economies back on their feet.”
After that, federal Requests for Proposals (RFPs) supporting a green agenda should begin to appear, “although this timeline is subject to change if vaccination rates happen at a faster or slower rate than is being planned.”
The takeaway from Stulen’s assessment is that it isn’t a matter of whether federal procurement will get rolling—just when.
“It’s no secret that the current federal government views investing in clean technology as one of the key priorities of its mandate,” he says. “This was laid out in its Speech from the Throne in September and in its more recent Fall Economic Statement. While these types of addresses tend be light on details, we can read between the lines based on these and other related announcements to predict how the substance of the federal strategy will be rolled out from here.”
Part of Stulen’s thinking is that a fall launch for green economy RFPs would fit a 12- to 18-month window for dollars to flow before a federal election in October 2023. That runs counter to recent speculation that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s minority government may go to the polls this spring.
“This is unlikely for two reasons,” he writes. “First is the NDP’s willingness to support the Liberals for only minor concessions as a result of that party’s poor financial state. Second, there is a lack of interest from all opposition parties to go into an election against a government polling as strongly as the federal Liberals have been.”
And “even if an election were to be called prior to October 2023, it would be very unlikely to happen prior to the end of the pandemic, if for no other reason than it is a logistical nightmare to run a national election campaign during a pandemic,” he adds. “This means the current government would still have time to begin to release post-pandemic economic stimulus funds and the ability to fault opposition parties if the launch of this stimulus program wasn’t possible because of an unexpected election.”
Stulen points to zero-emission vehicles and disruptive technologies as likely investment priorities for Ottawa.