Canada's Trudeau, tied in polls, open to Bombardier foreign investor

Thu Oct 8, 2015 12:44pm EDT
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By Allison Martell and Alastair Sharp

TORONTO, Ontario (Reuters) - Canadian Liberal Party leader Justin Trudeau, in a tight race to be the country's next prime minister, said on Thursday his party is open to foreign investment in Bombardier Inc as long as it protects the country's interests.

Trudeau's position contrasted with the opposition New Democrats, running third in polls, which when asked about possible Chinese investment in Bombardier said Ottawa should protect key sectors like aerospace.

The embattled Canadian plane and train manufacturer, which held unsuccessful talks to sell a majority stake in its CSeries jetliner program to Airbus also previously approached an unnamed Chinese company.

Those discussions ended three to four weeks ago, according to a source familiar with the situation.

Both party leaders spoke after they were asked whether a Liberal or NDP government would allow a Chinese company to buy a majority stake in Bombardier's CSeries project. Polls show the ruling Conservatives and Liberals virtually tied in the run up to an Oct. 19 election.

"We are always open to global investment in a way that respects and defends Canadian interests, and that is the approach we will take on foreign trade and foreign investments," Trudeau told reporters during a campaign stop.

Trudeau's comments followed a similar message from the provincial government in Bombardier's home province of Quebec. Officials signaled they are open to foreign investment after

The collapse of the Airbus talks were the latest blow to Bombardier, which is saddled with debt as the CSeries program limps toward commercial service in 2016, years late and billions of dollars over budget. The company has been struggling to sell the narrow-body jet and has not announced a new firm order in more than a year.   Continued...

Liberal leader Justin Trudeau greets supporters as he arrives for the French language leaders' debate in Montreal, Quebec October 2, 2015. REUTERS/Christinne Muschi