February 18, 2016 2:42 pm
Updated: February 18, 2016 4:35 pm

Bailout for Bombardier? Why not energy sector, Sask. premier says

Credit/THE CANADIAN PRESS
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REGINA – Talk of federal aid to help pull Bombardier Inc. out of a nosedive has caught the attention of Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall and the tanking energy sector.

Wall says in a Facebook post that if the federal government is thinking about a bailout package for Bombardier, it could consider similar help for the Energy East pipeline project.

He points out that there have been tens of thousands of job losses in Canada’s energy sector.

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Bombardier announced on Wednesday that it plans to lay off 7,000 employees around the world, including 2,830 in Canada — most of them in Quebec.

MORE: EI claims are rising fast in oil-producing provinces

The premier also suggests in his post that the government could help with an oilwell cleanup project he has proposed.

Wall pitched a plan to Ottawa earlier this month for $156 million to clean up old wells that aren’t being used as a way to help create jobs in the oil-and-gas sector.

The Canadian Association of Oilwell Drilling Contractors says 100,000 people are out of work in the energy industry, which is struggling due to falling oil prices.

Transport Minister Marc Garneau has said the government will decide “in due course” whether to give financial aid to Bombardier.

The federal government considers Bombardier  an “anchor firm” to Canada’s aerospace industry because it supports a supply hub that employs tens of thousands more workers, according to internal documents prepared for the economic development minister.

MORE: Bombardier to eliminate 7,000 jobs

Ottawa has lent money to Bombardier in the past. Last fall, Industry Canada said Bombardier had received $1.3 billion in repayable contributions since 1966 and had repaid $543 million as of Dec. 31, 2014.

Bombardier CEO Alain Bellemare continued to press Ottawa on Wednesday to come through once again.

Bellemare said that Bombardier may have borrowed about $1 billion since the mid-1980s, but it generated more than $15 billion in government tax revenue over that period.

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