MONTREAL – As public sector workers arrived at protests Thursday morning they were greeted by the news that the Quebec government is investing $1.3 billion into Bombardier.
“I have to remind everyone that the aeronautics for Quebec is as important as is the auto industry for Ontario,” said Premier Philippe Couillard. “A lot of effort was put into supporting the auto industry with difficult times and it’s totally appropriate that we do the same.”
READ MORE: Bombardier posts $4.9B loss in Q3
The government says the money is needed after the aerospace giant lost billions of dollars last quarter.
Teachers and other public workers protested outside Bombardier’s head office in downtown Montreal.
At John Rennie High School in Pointe-Claire, many say that the money isn’t being shared equally.
“Bombardier is a needed thing for Quebec but I think education also is very important. Maybe share a little bit, it would be nice,” said teacher Kathleen Gardner.
“Maybe you should cut back and see where you can cut costs before we come and help (Bombardier),” said teacher Stephanie Canci. “I understand that you want to keep industry in Quebec but to bail out private industry is unacceptable.”
This is the fourth straight day of rotating strikes in the province.
Thousands of workers have walked off the job to protest ongoing contract negotiations and government cuts.
Many said they feel like Couillard isn’t prioritizing their needs.
“I think we’re on the same level of priority as the kids- we don’t matter,” said teacher Gary Elson. “We’re not an investment, we don’t return anything to shareholders in the short term. In the long run everything works out of an educated workforce and an educated population but I think that no value is given to that.”
Both sides have been to the negotiating table but workers have been without a contract since the Spring.
More protests are planned as teachers say the math on a billion dollar investment for a private industry against cuts to the public sector just don’t add up.