Brad Wall questions Bombardier bailout, urges Ottawa to help oil sector

Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall is wading into the debate over whether the federal government should bail out Montreal-based Bombardier.

'What about the tens of thousands of job losses in Canada's energy sector?' asks Saskatchewan premier

Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall wants the federal government to consider helping out the energy sector. (Mark Taylor/The Canadian Press)

Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall is wading into the debate over whether the federal government should bail out Bombardier, saying Ottawa should also make the energy sector a priority. 

Wall took to social media on Thursday to argue that if the federal government is thinking about a package for the Montreal-based company, it could consider similar help for the Energy East pipeline project.

"If the federal government is considering a $1-billion bailout to address 2,830 Canadian job losses at Bombardier, what about the tens of thousands of job losses in Canada's energy sector?" Wall wrote on his Facebook page.

The premier also suggested in his post that the government could help with an oil-well cleanup project he has proposed.

Wall's comments come after Bombardier announced Wednesday that it plans to lay off 7,000 employees around the world, including 2,830 in Canada — most of them in Quebec.

Another east-west battle?

This isn't the first time this year that Wall's comments have caused a stir in Quebec. 

Last month, Wall slammed Mayor Denis Coderre and the Montreal Metropolitan Community for their opposition to the Energy East pipeline, calling it "a sad day for our country."

"I trust Montreal area mayors will politely return their share of $10B in equalization supported by west," Wall wrote on Twitter at the time.

Coderre later fired back at Wall, saying that the Montreal Metropolitan Community represents four million people while the entire province of Saskatchewan has a population of 1.13 million.

Ottawa to decide on Bombardier in 'due course'

Transport Minister Marc Garneau has said the government will decide "in due course'' whether to give financial aid to Bombardier.

The federal government considers Bombardier an "anchor firm'' to Canada's aerospace industry because it supports a supply hub that employs tens of thousands more workers, according to internal documents prepared for the economic development minister.

Ottawa has lent money to Bombardier in the past. Last fall, Industry Canada said Bombardier had received $1.3 billion in repayable contributions since 1966 and had repaid $543 million as of Dec. 31, 2014.

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Bombardier CEO Alain Bellemare continued to press Ottawa on Wednesday to come through once again.

Bellemare said that Bombardier may have borrowed about $1 billion since the mid-1980s, but it generated more than $15 billion in government tax revenue over that period.

The Canadian Association of Oilwell Drilling Contractors says 100,000 people are out of work in the energy industry, which is struggling due to falling oil prices.

with files from The Canadian Press


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