In a familiar refrain, Lisée bemoaned that the $372.5 million Ottawa has offered the Quebec-based aerospace giant in interest-free loans is chump change when compared to the money the federal government has given Ontario’s automobile industry.
Lisée’s conclusion: that Quebec is always the big loser in the federal system and that its interests would be better served by independence.
“What’s the point of being in this country?” he asked.
“We’re not in the right country.”
The federal money for Bombardier (TSX:BBD.B) will be handed out in instalments over four years to support the Global 7000 and CSeries aircraft projects.
WATCH BELOW: Navdeep Bains announces $372 million in loans to Bombardier
Federal Innovation Minister Navdeep Bains said the money will preserve thousands of high-paying technology jobs in Ontario where the Global will be assembled and in Quebec where it is completed and the CSeries is built.
“Two-thirds of the jobs are in Quebec,” Bains said Wednesday in Ottawa, adding that customization and research and development for the Global 7000 are done in Dorval, Que.
Those numbers have not been confirmed by the company.
WATCH BELOW: Navdeep Bains confident Bombardier will repay $372 million in loans
But Lisée argued that most of the loans would go to the Global 7000 business aircraft program, thus benefiting Ontario to the detriment of Quebec.
Quebec injected US$1 billion into the CSeries in exchange for a 49.5 per cent stake in the program and had called on Ottawa to make a substantial investment.
The federal loan fell short of what Bombardier had been seeking since late 2015 – nearly three times that much to help its CSeries program, which was struck by delays and cost overruns prior to entering commercial service last year.
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François Legault, leader of the Coalition Avenir Quebec (CAQ), said the federal response falls short of expectations and should prompt the Quebec government to review terms of its own deal with Bombardier.
“[Premier] Philippe Couillard has to renegotiate his agreement with Bombardier to reduce the risks assumed by all Quebecers,” Legault said.
Lisée also called it a failure on Couillard’s part to find a willing federal partner to spread the risk.
“Couillard’s aim was to get the federal government to share the risk and he failed. He failed. Why? Did he fail because it’s an impossible task in the federal political culture to help a Quebec company like Bombardier? It may be so.”
WATCH: Karl Moore, an associate professor at McGill University’s Desautels Faculty of Management, shares his thoughts on Bombardier’s federal loan