Montreal

Bombardier deal with Delta renews Quebec calls for Ottawa bailout

Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard is renewing his calls for Ottawa to invest in Bombardier, saying the multibillion-dollar deal to sell CSeries jets to Delta Airlines is proof the company is a good investment.

Bombardier is one of Quebec's largest employers, with roughly 15,000 workers in province

Bombardier CEO Alain Bellemare announces the Delta deal at the company's plant in Mirabel on Thursday. (Sarah Leavitt/CBC)

Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard is renewing his calls for Ottawa to invest in Bombardier, saying a new multibillion-dollar deal to sell jets to Delta Airlines is proof the company is a good investment.

Couillard is leading the chorus of cautious optimism in Quebec following news that Bombardier will provide 75 of its high-tech CSeries aircraft to Delta with options for an additional 50 planes.

"The most important innovation project in Canada today is the CSeries airplane, and we should be all proud of that," Couillard said.

"And governments should be there in a strategic way."

At list prices, the deal with Delta could be worth almost $6 billion to Bombardier, but industry analysts suggest Bombardier is likely to give the airline a volume discount for such a large order.

Bombardier is one of Quebec's largest employers, with roughly 15,000 workers in the province — about a fifth of the company's global workforce.

The aerospace and rail equipment company announced in February it would eliminate 7,000 jobs at the same time that Air Canada ordered 45 of Bombardier's CS300 aircraft.

Dave Chartrand, Quebec co-ordinator for the the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, said workers are anxiously waiting for Ottawa to make a decision.

"We're wondering how long it will take for them to move on this," Chartrand told CBC Montreal's Daybreak.

He hopes the Delta deal will not only save jobs on the chopping block but potentially add jobs too. 

While Federal Transport Minister Marc Garneau was upbeat and called it a "great day" for Bombardier, he would not comment on a possible bailout from the Canadian government.

"I can tell you that the conversation is ongoing between the federal government and Bombardier," Garneau told reporters.

Federal Transport Minister Marc Garneau says he is pleased about Delta's order of 75 C-series aircraft 1:44

Chartrand said the Delta deal shows that Quebec's own contentious $1.32-billion bailout for Bombardier is starting to pay off.

"This was a long road. It has not ended for us, but it gives everyone reason to have continued," Chartrand said.

The Quebec minister responsible for the Montreal region, Martin Coiteux, said the bailout was proof Quebec was right to provide financial help to the struggling company.

Coiteaux says Bombardier is a key player to the Quebec economy as a whole. 0:52

"Bombardier is a key player to the Quebec economy as a whole," Coiteux said.

"Today's announcement is the proof that we made the right decision in supporting Bombardier in times of turbulence."

'The situation is fragile'

Parti Québécois Leader Pierre Karl Péladeau expressed some caution.
Parti Québécois Leader Pierre Karl Péladeau says Ottawa needs to invest in Quebec's aerospace industry. (Jacques Boissinot/Canadian Press)

"The situation is fragile," Péladeau said. "I understand everyone is enthusiastic, but the success of business is measured by long-term durability."

Péladeau said that the province's aerospace industry can only survive if Ottawa steps up and provides funding.

"The money we send to Ottawa every year should be invested in this big industry in Quebec," Péladeau said. 

"The federal government needs to invest in Bombardier to ensure its long-term success."

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