Canada stumbles on Boeing tough line, contradicting itself on jet talks

Posted June 02, 2017

Steve MacKinnon, the parliamentary secretary for Procurement Minister Judy Foote, says the government has "suspended" talks with Boeing about its plan to purchase 18 Super Hornets.

Sajjan said Canada requires "trusted industry partners".

Boeing accuses Bombardier of selling airliners on the US market at artificially low prices.

"A productive relationship between industry and government is crucial", the minister said. "It is not the behaviour we expect of a trusted partner, and we call on Boeing to withdraw it".

Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland has also chimed in with criticism of Boeing bu many see the tempest as over the top.

Scott Day, a spokesman for Boeing, noted that Sajjan also recognized Boeing as a strong partner in the past and for the future. Boeing says Bombardier's government subsidies enables it to sell its competing aircraft at lower prices; the U.S. Commerce Department and International Trade Commission agreed with Boeing's accusations and has initiated an investigation into Bombardier.

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"We are following a normal process available to USA companies, we're following USA laws", Day told Radio Canada International Wednesday.

"We're very disappointed with the actions Boeing has taken against Bombardier.We believe (Boeing's) position is unfounded", Sajjan said on the sidelines of the Shangri-La Dialogue, an annual meeting of global defense officials.

On Wednesday, Sajjan called on Boeing to halt its trade complaint against Bombardier.

But it added, "Boeing's commitment to Canada has been, and remains, unwavering". Sao Paolo-based Embraer is a fierce rival of Bombardier's.

The Quebec government invested US$1 billion in exchange for a 49.5 percent stake in the CSeries a year ago. But Bombardier won a 75-plane order for the CSeries from US -based Delta Air Lines in 2016.

Canadian Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan said at a trade show Wednesday that his government is "reviewing our procurement" with Boeing for the fighter jets in response to Boeing's anti-dumping complaint against Bombardier, a multinational aerospace company headquartered in Montreal. Trudeau has indicated that he would like to re-open they larger aircraft purchase to a bidding process, even though the successive Canadian governments, both Liberal and Conservative, had agreed to buy the F-35 joint strike fighter.