Canadian Manufacturing

Ex-premier Charest says Trudeau’s Bombardier delay sends strange signals

Charest said Bombardier would have received a response quickly if the company were based in a country like France that strongly supports its aerospace industry



Bombardier has confirmed the entry-into-service of its CSeries passenger jets will be pushed into the second half of 2015. PHOTO Bombardier

Bombardier has had a tough time with its CSeries passenger jets, but is making headway. PHOTO Bombardier

MONTREAL—The Trudeau government is sending strange signals to foreign investors by taking so long to decide on whether to help aerospace giant Bombardier Inc., former Quebec premier Jean Charest said Tuesday.

Bombardier asked for financial assistance from the federal government last December, prompting Charest to say he doesn’t understand why Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his cabinet seem to be hesitating.

He said “every national government in the world” supports its aeronautical industry. “That’s the norm, not the exception.”

“Secondly, it’s a very important signal to give,” Charest told The Canadian Press.

“Because if the national government doesn’t support its industry, then outside the country, investors ask themselves, ‘what’s wrong? what’s the issue.”’

Charest, who joined law firm McCarthy Tetrault not long after leaving politics in 2012, said Bombardier would have received a response quickly if the company were based in a country like France that strongly supports its aerospace industry.

“Time is becoming a factor and I think it’s time the federal government, on this specific issue, makes a decision and that it be part of what needs to be done to support Bombardier,” he said.

The Quebec government has already pledged more than $1 billion to help Bombardier’s struggling CSeries project. The company is reportedly seeking a similar sum from Ottawa.

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