Canada Must Invest in Bombardier’s C Series Jet, Couillard Says

Bombardier Inc.’s marquee jetliner is so important to Canada’s future that the federal government must invest in the aircraft program, Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard said.

The C Series “is by far the most innovative project in Canada in a very strategic sector, and clearly to me, the federal government has to be part of that,” Couillard said Monday in an interview at Bloomberg headquarters in New York. “ A federal government that talks as often as they do of innovation cannot stay away from the most important innovation project in Canada.”

More than nine months after discussions began over a possible $1 billion investment, Montreal-based Bombardier and federal officials have yet to reach a deal. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government has sought corporate-governance concessions in exchange for any aid, Bloomberg News reported earlier this year. Quebec is investing $1 billion for a 49.5 percent stake in the C Series.

“I would welcome their participation,” Couillard said of Canada. “The uncertainty at some point has to stop. They have to decide.”

Quebec’s commitment, announced almost a year ago, helped pave the way for a renewed marketing push by Bombardier that resulted in two landmark orders this year -- from Air Canada and Delta Air Lines Inc. Bombardier has advanced 8.7 percent since Oct. 28, the day before the province said it would aid the company.

“We were there at a strategic moment for a strategic reason,” Couillard, Quebec’s premier since 2014, said. “From the start we said that a third partner would be welcome. Our destiny as a government is not to be an airplane manufacturer.”