Quebec may consider a further investment in Bombardier Inc. if a proposed aid package from the federal government doesn’t materialize in the next few weeks, Transport Minister Jacques Daoust said.
“We’re in talks with Bombardier, we’re watching what is happening with the federal government very closely,” Daoust said Wednesday in the provincial legislature in Quebec City. “If as of March 31, the federal government isn’t present, the Government of Quebec will have a decision to make. But we’ve always supported Bombardier. It’s a jewel of our economy, and we will continue” to support the company, he said.
Quebec agreed in October to invest $1 billion in Bombardier’s C Series program to round out the funding for the troubled jet and assuage any lingering customer concern. Daoust has since said the province is seeking an equivalent commitment from the federal government.
Bombardier is more than two years late and about $2 billion over budget with the C Series, its biggest ever jet program. The aircraft, intended to crack the Boeing Co.-Airbus Group SE duopoly in single-aisle commercial planes, can seat 108 to 160 people, a step up in size from Bombardier’s signature regional aircraft.
Daoust was named transport minister about two weeks ago. As industry minister, he negotiated the provincial government’s agreement to invest in Bombardier, and he remains responsible for the file in his new role.
Federal Innovation, Science and Economic Development Minister Navdeep Bains is “very receptive” to the idea of assistance to Bombardier, Daoust also said Wednesday in the legislature. “I’m quite hopeful that in the next few days there will be an announcement on the federal side.”
Stefanie Power, a spokeswoman for Bains’s department, said talks are ongoing. "The federal government is engaged in a dialog with Bombardier to better understand the company’s situation and priorities and is working towards a timely decision. There has to be a strong business case for making a federal investment. Any assistance would have to be in the best interest of all Canadians," Power said in a written statement.
Isabelle Rondeau, a Bombardier spokeswoman in Montreal, declined to comment.