A politician in Canada appears to be working on behalf of a dealer’s association to ban “imported RHD Asian vehicles.” United Conservative Party leader Jason Kenney has received a large campaign contribution from the Motor Dealers’ Association of Alberta, in exchange for commitments regarding a host of issues, of which the car ban is just one. Also, these contributions might violate Canada’s election laws.
Our neighbors to the north have long enjoyed generous importation laws, which says any cars built in the last 15 years can be brought into the country. That means Canada is already enjoying cars like the R33 and R34 Skyline GT-R, and had the R32 a full decade before the US.
However, as Jason Torchinsky, senior editor at Jalopnik, reports, the MDA wants to change that. Not only that, but the campaign contributions — which total $170,000 for now but are planned to go as high as $1 million and will be used for TV, radio and social media ads against Kenney’s opponents — might be violations of Canada’s election rules.
The whole thing has created what the Calgary Herald calls a “massive political blowup,” not that most voters in Canada care about the particular issue of JDM car importation. It’s the violation that is the cause for most concern. The letter the MDA sent to its members includes the great following issues:
1) Carbon Tax – The provincial carbon tax would be scrapped immediately. He would join the coalition of other provinces in opposing the proposed Federal government carbon tax.
2) Other Taxes – Corporate and personal income tax increases imposed by the NDP government would be rolled back.
3) Minimum Wages – Minimum wages would be frozen until other Canadian provinces catch up. His transition team will be exploring graduated minimum wages for youth workers.
4) Labour Code, OH&S, WCB Changes – All the recent legislated changes to these three areas will be cancelled.
5) Consumer Protection Act Changes – MDA President will be asked to meet with the UCP transition team to provide input on how to rebalance the playing field between consumers and industry. Returning AMVIC to a delegated authority from a government agency, appointments of AMVIC Chair, compensation fund control, etc.
6) Issues Requiring Government Action – Banning of Imported RHD Asian vehicles – Legislation will be pushed through the legislature.
They didn’t say why Asian (read:Japanese) cars were singled out. Thus far, the issues of safety and environmental concerns has been raised by opponents of JDM cars, but as Torchinsky notes, if that’s the issue, why not include German or British cars as well? His conversation with the MDA president reveals no good answers. Instead, it’s quite likely that dealers see the availability of low-mileage, reliable JDM cars as a threat to their own sales.