Skip to main content
The Globe and Mail
Support Quality Journalism.
The Globe and Mail
First Access to Latest
Investment News
Collection of curated
e-books and guides
Inform your decisions via
Globe Investor Tools
per week
for first 24 weeks

Enjoy unlimited digital access
Cancel Anytime
Enjoy Unlimited Digital Access
Get full access to
Just $1.99per week for the first 24weeks
Just $1.99per week for the first 24weeks
var select={root:".js-sub-pencil",control:".js-sub-pencil-control",open:"o-sub-pencil--open",closed:"o-sub-pencil--closed"},dom={},allowExpand=!0;function pencilInit(o){var e=arguments.length>1&&void 0!==arguments[1]&&arguments[1];select.root=o,dom.root=document.querySelector(select.root),dom.root&&(dom.control=document.querySelector(select.control),dom.control.addEventListener("click",onToggleClicked),setPanelState(e),window.addEventListener("scroll",onWindowScroll),dom.root.removeAttribute("hidden"))}function isPanelOpen(){return dom.root.classList.contains(}function setPanelState(o){dom.root.classList[o?"add":"remove"](,dom.root.classList[o?"remove":"add"](select.closed),dom.control.setAttribute("aria-expanded",o)}function onToggleClicked(){var l=!isPanelOpen();setPanelState(l)}function onWindowScroll(){window.requestAnimationFrame(function() {var l=isPanelOpen(),n=0===(document.body.scrollTop||document.documentElement.scrollTop);n||l||!allowExpand?n&&l&&(allowExpand=!0,setPanelState(!1)):(allowExpand=!1,setPanelState(!0))});}pencilInit(".js-sub-pencil",!1); // via darwin-bg var slideIndex = 0; carousel(); function carousel() { var i; var x = document.getElementsByClassName("subs_valueprop"); for (i = 0; i < x.length; i++) { x[i].style.display = "none"; } slideIndex++; if (slideIndex> x.length) { slideIndex = 1; } x[slideIndex - 1].style.display = "block"; setTimeout(carousel, 2500); } //

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau leaves his vehicle before hosting a meeting at the APEC Summit in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea, on Nov. 17, 2018.

Adrian Wyld/The Canadian Press

When it comes to beating climate change, could one car make a difference?

If that car ferries Joe Biden, Justin Trudeau or Boris Johnson, it might.

“There’s a small number of leaders and a small number of vehicles, so if they change to EVs, it’s a very small change in emissions, but it’s much more than that,” said Tom Green, climate-solutions policy analyst with the David Suzuki Foundation. “We’re in a severe climate emergency, and what you drive as a leader is a symbol.”

Story continues below advertisement

At a virtual climate summit with world leaders last month, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau promised to cut Canada’s greenhouse-gas emissions by 40 to 45 per cent of 2005 levels by 2030. U.S. President Joe Biden promised a cut of 40 to 55 per cent by then (which won’t involve banning burgers).

Unlike New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, who reportedly switched from a diesel BMW to an Audi e-Tron EV for official government business last year, Biden and Trudeau get driven around in gas-guzzling SUVs.

For instance, Biden’s Cadillac One emits 341 g/km of greenhouse-gas emissions – 123 per cent more than a Ford Explorer, according to a comparison done by Uswitch, a U.K.-based financial site.

“It’s my understanding that these decisions aren’t necessarily made by the political leaders themselves; there are other factors, such as security details, that play a role,” said Sarah Petrevan, policy director for Clean Energy Canada.

But there are bigger battery-electric vehicles (BEVs) and plug-in hybrids (PHEVs) on the market or soon to hit the market that would work as armoured vehicles.

“It’s fair to say that it is time to walk the walk, or, rather, drive the drive, on EVs,” Petrevan said.

Plus, switching to EVs may make fiscal sense, Green said.

Story continues below advertisement

“Just looking at it from a taxpayer perspective, we know EVs are cheaper over their lifecycle because maintenance and operating costs are lower,” Green said.

So have any Canadian leaders chosen to drive green? Here’s a look.

Federal leaders

The RCMP chooses the vehicles driven by the prime minister and his family. They’re designed for protection.

“One of the many vehicles used currently is a Chevrolet Suburban,” RCMP spokeswoman Catherine Fortin said in an email.

The fleet includes hybrids. It doesn’t include EVs or PHEVs yet, but the RCMP is looking into adding them if they “are deemed capable of fulfilling security requirements.”

The RCMP said it doesn’t permanently assign armoured vehicles to the other party leaders, but they can request them if there’s a threat.

Story continues below advertisement

Federal Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole’s office didn’t respond to questions on what he drives professionally or personally.

NDP leader Jagmeet Singh “requested a hybrid” from the House of Commons, his office said.

Green Party leader Annamie Paul said she hasn’t owned a car since 2018.

“I use public transportation for most of my travel,” Paul said in an e-mail. “If I am driven somewhere these days, it is in a Prius or a Toyota hybrid.”

Bloc Québécois leader Yves-François Blanchet drives a Prius Prime PHEV.

“My dream would be a Tesla,” Blanchet said. “But I’m living too far from Parliament, and I’m on the road far too much, so the range is not sufficient.” When it comes to EVs, politicians should practise what they preach, Blanchet said.

Story continues below advertisement

“I would not expect Mr. O’Toole to drive an electric car – it wouldn’t be logical,” Blanchet said. “But for me, Quebec is the heaven of electric cars in Canada, and I’m promoting this very strongly, so I couldn’t be driving a big thirsty truck.”

Premiers and mayors

What cars do Canada’s premiers drive?

Only a few responded to questions for this story.

In Quebec and Ontario, the premier’s vehicle is chosen by provincial police.

Ontario Provincial Police, citing security concerns, wouldn’t say whether Premier Doug Ford is driven in an EV, PHEV or hybrid.

Quebec Premier François Legault isn’t driven in an EV or hybrid yet, although “plans are to go green as long as the vehicle does not compromise any notion of safety,” a Sûreté du Québec spokesman said in an email.

Story continues below advertisement

Of the other premiers who answered, Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe drives a Chevy Silverado and Northwest Territories Premier Caroline Cochrane drives a Ford Edge.

“When I require a vehicle for work purposes, I do use one of the three hybrid vehicles available to all members of our Legislative Assembly,” Cochrane said in an email.

Cochrane said there are still challenges to the practicality of EVs in the North, including lower range when its cold and the lack of chargers between communities.

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney’s office didn’t respond, but before Kenney became premier in 2019, he toured the province in a Dodge Ram 1500.

So what do mayors drive? Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal and Halifax answered.

Vancouver’s mayor Kennedy Stewart “almost exclusively walks or takes transit,” his office said in an email. “On the rare occasions he needs to drive, he has a 2012 Ford Focus (glamorous!).”

Story continues below advertisement

Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi has driven a hybrid – the city won’t reveal the make and model for security reasons – since he was elected in 2010.

Toronto Mayor John Tory’s personal vehicle is a 2009 non-hybrid SUV. For official business, he takes transit or rides in a non-hybrid SUV provided by Toronto Police, Tory’s office said.

Since that SUV gets replaced “periodically,” the city hopes the next one will be a hybrid.

Other mayors’ government-supplied cars include a 2015 Honda Accord hybrid in Ottawa and a 2018 Toyota Highlander hybrid in Montreal.

Halifax’s mayor, Mike Savage, doesn’t get a car or car allowance from the city, his office said. He drives a Chevy Equinox.

“Mayor Savage says he previously drove a hybrid, and he would most definitely be interested in an EV,” his office said in an email.

Your Globe

Build your personal news feed

  1. Follow topics and authors relevant to your reading interests.
  2. Check your Following feed daily, and never miss an article. Access your Following feed from your account menu at the top right corner of every page.

Follow the author of this article:

View more suggestions in Following Read more about following topics and authors
Report an error Editorial code of conduct
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

If you do not see your comment posted immediately, it is being reviewed by the moderation team and may appear shortly, generally within an hour.

We aim to have all comments reviewed in a timely manner.

Comments that violate our community guidelines will not be posted.

UPDATED: Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies