May 31, 2016
Pierre Saint-Arnaud THE CANADIAN PRESS
LONGUEUIL, Quebec—Quebec will give $250 million in direct aid toward expanding and diversifying the province’s aerospace industry, Premier Philippe Couillard announced Monday.
Another $260 million will be offered in the form of loans and other financing, he said.
The premier expects the provincial cash to generate up to $2.8 billion in investment.
The strategy is fourfold: support the existing aerospace industry; spur growth; encourage the small- and-medium-sized business that supply the industry; and intensify research and development.
Couillard said the government money will also help small- and medium-sized companies with foreign acquisitions.
Quebec is looking for the federal government to play a role, and Couillard didn’t hesitate to note the province is still waiting for Ottawa’s decision on a request to help a big player in the industry, Bombardier Inc.
The aerospace company has asked the federal Liberals for financial help on par with the $1 billion Quebec has pledged to the firm.
“I am waiting for nothing less than the same intensity for Quebec and the aerospace industry that the federal government showed to the automobile industry in Ontario,” Couillard said. “For me the decision is clear. A government must invest in innovation and aerospace innovation in Canada is (Bombardier’s) C Series.”
Part of the government’s strategy is to try to entice another major player to invest in the province, Couillard said.
Quebec is currently home to four international aerospace firms: Bombardier, Bell Helicopter, Pratt & Whitney and CAE.
Couillard’s strategy didn’t include specific ways to protect companies threatened with foreign takeovers, but he said that when it comes to the aerospace industry, “we will do everything, not only to keep them here, but to make them grow here.”
Quebec’s aerospace industry includes roughly 190 companies that employ about 40,000 people and have annual sales of $15.5 billion.