Canada PM does not see Ottawa quitting Bombardier aid talks

Thu May 19, 2016 6:17pm EDT
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By David Ljunggren and Andrea Hopkins

OTTAWA (Reuters) - There is little chance Canada will walk away from talks on offering aid to aircraft maker Bombardier Inc (BBDb.TO: Quote) because the government needs to secure good quality aerospace jobs, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on Thursday.

Bombardier asked Ottawa in 2015 to match the province of Quebec's $1 billion stake in the struggling CSeries narrow body jet program.

Talks have bogged down amid disagreements on several issues, sparking speculation that Ottawa might refuse to aid the company.

"I am currently engaged with Bombardier on the best way we can ensure a strong and vibrant future for aerospace in Canada," Trudeau told Reuters in an interview.

Asked at what point the government might walk away, he replied, "I don't think there's any point at which you don't want to build greater opportunities in the Canadian economy ... we're always open to looking at ways of strengthening and creating better jobs."

Government officials said in April that they would not aid Bombardier without assurances on jobs, investment in research and the location of the company's headquarters in Quebec.

Pressed as to whether Ottawa would help the company, Trudeau said maintaining high quality jobs and world class products "is exactly where the Canadian economy needs to continue to go".

While Bombardier is no longer desperate for cash after a Quebec pension fund investment, it would like a cushion for operations next year as it burns through money while ramping up production.   Continued...

Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau takes part in an interview with Reuters in his office on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, May 19, 2016. REUTERS/Chris Wattie