by Mac Olsen
The federal government is contemplating a taxpayer bailout for Montreal-based Bombardier, but it should not be allowed to happen.
In a report by Caroline Plante of the Montreal Gazette on April 27, federal transport minister Marc Garneau said his government is “actively discussing” a funding scenario with Bombardier.
However, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau should publicly announce that his government will not provide any money to that company.
If his government does, then the Prime Minister will be guilty of providing corporate welfare to a company that caused its own financial problems in the first place.
In a report by the Canadian Press on April 28, the development of the new aircraft is about two years behind schedule and at least US $2 billion over budget.
So tell me how Bombardier’s financial plight should be of any concern to the Canadian taxpayer?
Or is the Prime Minister more concerned about losing support in Quebec prior to the next federal election?
Supposedly there is a silver lining to the dark financial cloud that Bombardier is facing. The Quebec government has offered $1 billion to the company and is calling on the federal government to provide money as well.
Also, Delta Airlines Inc. in the US has ordered 75 of the CS100 aircraft, and other airlines are apparently interested as well.
Nevertheless, it’s not up to Canadian taxpayers to bail out Bombardier. Let the Quebec government and Quebec taxpayers foot the entire bailout, if they’re so concerned about the company. It’s their jobs and aviation industry, after all.
Moreover, some in Quebec are opposed to Alberta’s oil interests. Montreal Mayor Denis Coderre has been openly opposed to the Energy East pipeline that TransCanada Pipelines wishes to build to the Maritimes via Quebec.
“In the context where the Earth’s nations are talking about even more restrictive measures to limit (greenhouse gas) emmissions, we cannot justify the construction of a pipeline, which also delivers more risks than real profits,” he wrote in a op-ed piece distributed across Canada.
But the Montreal mayor has no leg to stand about the Energy East Pipeline and the “greenhouse gas” issue. Last fall, his city let eight billion litres of untreated sewage flow into the St. Lawrence River, before repairs were made to the water treatment plant infrastructure.
So if his municipal government can’t monitor and control raw sewage, then he hasn’t got any right or moral authority to lecture Alberta and TransCanada about pipeline construction and petroleum development.
Returning to the Bombardier bailout proposal, I don’t want to see the employees at the company lose their jobs. That effects not just them, but their families and other businesses which depend on the company for their prosperity.
However, if the company has been mismanaged to such an extent that it can’t pay its bills, then it should be dissolved and the workers hired by other aviation companies.
Remember when the Big Three automakers went before Congress in 2008?
They requested a bailout from the U.S. government, and they also wanted money from the Canadian government.
They got into their debacle because they relied on truck and SUV sales for far too long.
General Motors and what is now Fiat-Chrysler went bankrupt and needed taxpayers’ money in both countries to re-emerge as solvent companies.
Initially, Ford Motor Company was going to be part of that bailout request.
However, the company withdrew its requests from both the Canadian and U.S. governments and pulled itself out of its own financial mess.
A few years later, Ford Motor Company returned to the black ink under its own means and learned some hard lessons about keeping up with consumer trends.
So if that company can pull itself from the brink, then all companies should be forced to do the same.
And as I will pronounce again, no Canadian taxpayers’ money should go to Bombardier as corporate welfare. The Canadian taxpayers owe that company nothing.