Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Quebec Government Says CSeries and Aerospace Industry Too Important to Let Go

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Quebec Government Says CSeries and Aerospace Industry Too Important to Let Go

Article excerpt

Quebec premier hammered for plane deal

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MONTREAL - Amid fierce criticism from the opposition that the Quebec government unduly risked US$1 billion of taxpayer money on a struggling aircraft, provincial leaders justified their decision on Thursday by saying aerospace giant Bombardier is too important to fail.

Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard and Economy Minister Jacques Daoust tried to reassure citizens that the massive cash injection into Bombardier's CSeries program is critical to keeping good jobs and tax revenues.

Bombardier (TSX:BBD.B), meanwhile, argued the company represents two per cent of Quebec's GDP, and the taxpayer money was necessary to reassure markets the company had a future and enough of a cash flow to continue operations.

"In the aerospace industry, we are at the top of the world," Daoust said in Montreal. "If we don't invest in businesses that we are good in, where should we invest?"

Couillard said the province's aerospace industry supports 40,000 jobs and the government's cash injection is an investment, not a loan.

"We are partners with Bombardier," Couillard said. "And what I'll say to Quebecers and to all Canadians is that the aerospace industry to Quebec is what the auto industry is to Ontario."

The Quebec government will own 49.5% of a new joint company with Bombardier solely responsible for the CSeries aircraft, which is about two years behind schedule.

Parti Quebecois Leader Pierre Karl Peladeau and Francois Legault, who heads the Coalition for Quebec's Future, said the Liberals don't understand economics and are poor negotiators.

Peladeau said by investing only in the risky and struggling branch of Bombardier, the government is taking all the risk and should have held out for a stake in the other profitable sectors of the company. …

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