Furious against Boeing: Bombardier “does not represent” the industry, says Champagne

Furious against Boeing: Bombardier “does not represent” the industry, says Champagne
Furious against Boeing: Bombardier “does not represent” the industry, says Champagne

Federal Minister of Innovation François-Philippe Champagne says that Bombardier “does not necessarily represent the voice of the aerospace industry,” after the Quebec flagship sharply criticized the reception given by Quebec and Ottawa to Boeing.

“Bombardier’s position does not necessarily represent the voice of the industry, because there were about a thousand people yesterday, with Aéro Montréal, which welcomed Boeing,” the minister said in an interview on Wednesday.

Bombardier sees red

In a statement to NewspaperTuesday, the Bombardier company said it was surprised “to see the two governments so strongly prioritize and applaud a foreign multinational which already benefits from important contracts from its country of origin, in addition to having very recently put at risk the aeronautical industry in Quebec.

The company accuses governments of having short memories: the American aircraft manufacturer, in 2017, campaigned and obtained from Washington the imposition of customs tariffs of 300% on Bombardier’s C Series aircraft. The decision was later overturned, but the damage had been done.

Ottawa and Quebec see green

The announcement of the $240 million investment by the American aircraft manufacturer was made with great fanfare in Montreal on Tuesday, in the company of Prime Minister François Legault, his minister Pierre Fitzgibbon, and the president of Boeing Global, Brendan Nelson.

For François-Philippe Champagne, who was there, there is no doubt that the arrival of Boeing is a plus for the local aerospace industry, as evidenced by Tuesday’s event, where everything was the middle crust.

“I think that the more people we bring into the ecosystem, the stronger we make the ecosystem,” he said. The arrival of Boeing will inject vigor into the “nearly 1,000 companies” located in the Quebec “ecosystem”.

A fight for talent

Bombardier is concerned about the possibility that Boeing’s presence in Quebec’s industrial cluster could harm its recruitment efforts in a context where companies are competing for talent, which is in short supply.

“The arrival of new players via direct or indirect support risks creating new pressures on Quebec companies,” Bombardier continued in its statement.

For Mr. Champagne, “what they expressed certainly does not create consensus within the aerospace community in Montreal.”

The arrival of Boeing “gives us industrial leverage to encourage local SMEs. […] I don’t think you should take the voice of a company. There were hundreds of companies that were there.”

Boeing’s funding will mainly help create a research and innovation center which will be located in the aerospace innovation zone which will be established in Longueuil (Saint-Hubert), Montreal (Saint-Laurent) and Mirabel.

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