Ottawa still considering Bombardier bailout: Garneau
Sonja Puzic, CTVNews.ca
Published Wednesday, February 17, 2016 10:43AM EST
Last Updated Wednesday, February 17, 2016 3:54PM EST
Transport Minister Marc Garneau says the federal government is still considering Bombardier’s request for financial assistance after Canada’s largest aerospace company announced its plan to cut 7,000 jobs over two years.
Speaking to reporters in Ottawa on Wednesday, Garneau said the government wants to ensure that there is a “good financial case” in Bombardier’s proposal and must do its due diligence before making a decision since it would be a “considerable investment by taxpayers.”
Garneau said a decision will be made “in due course” and referred further questions to Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development Navdeep Bains.
In a statement Wednesday, Bains said the government is still in talks with Bombardier. The company asked Ottawa for financial assistance last year.
“Any action the Government takes with respect to Bombardier will be first and foremost in the interest of Canadians,” Bains said. “We have been clear that such an important decision will only be made after due diligence, careful consideration and a strong business case."
Garneau said that he’s “saddened” by the announced job cuts, but encouraged by a deal that could see Air Canada buy 45 of Bombardier’s CSeries300 planes, with an option to buy up to 30 more.
The Air Canada investment is “very good news” for Canada’s aerospace industry and will result in “significant long-term job opportunities,” Garneau said.
He said the government didn’t pressure Air Canada to buy the CSeries planes.
“Air Canada makes its own decisions with respect to purchasing of its own aircraft,” he said.
During question period in the House of Commons Wednesday, NDP Leader Tom Mulcair called Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s lack of action “shameful.”
“Faced with the loss of 7,000 jobs, including 2,400 families losing their way of living, their means to live in Quebec, all that the prime minister has to offer is his condolences,” Mulcair said. “Bombardier and those families need action, not empty rhetoric.”
Trudeau called Mulcair’s criticism “inflamed rhetoric,” adding “shouting isn’t going to solve the problem.”
“What is going to solve the problem is working hard in a meaningful way to bring the kind of growth, the kind of effect on the Canadian economy, that we got elected to deliver,” Trudeau said.
Conservative MP Maxime Bernier, the party’s critic for innovation and economic development, told reporters earlier Wednesday that direct government subsidies to Bombardier “won’t be the real solution.”
Bernier said the Liberal government should instead look at lowering business taxes in order to encourage sustainability and growth.