11/11/2015 11:55 EST | Updated 11/11/2016 05:12 EST

We Need A National Aerospace Policy


The news last week was marked by the announcement of the investment of just over $1 billion from the Québec government who becomes Bombardier's partner in the production of the C-Series.

This 49.5 per cent participation comes as help to a company that is at the heart of a Quebec industrial cluster, which represents more than 44,750 well-paid jobs in Quebec. The wages of these workers are on average twice as much of what is found elsewhere in the industrial sector. In addition, benefits are such that these workers end their careers with a decent retirement and in good health. Putting aside everything that we can blame Bombardier for as a corporate citizen, this aid comes as salvation to save jobs that put bread and butter on the table for a large number of families from Quebec and other Provinces. Also, we must see this as an indication that this new austerity afflicting our public services is more an ideological issue than a fiscal imperative.

The events that took place this week clearly indicate that it is necessary for Canada and for Quebec to adopt a coherent, transparent and innovative policy in the field of aerospace. We must preserve this wonderful industry in Canada and make it a real society project that will benefit Canadians as a whole. The Aerospace sector in this country is 76 000 direct jobs in 700 companies, including 200 in Quebec. This is a major sector with which the government must work with so that we may resist the rise of China, India, Brazil and Russia. All these countries support their domestic industry, why not us?

Canada ranks last with regards to government support in research, innovation and development. If we do not act, we will miss an important opportunity to retain and create good jobs that will fly away. The Trudeau government has a golden opportunity to give the Canadian economy a real boost, particularly in Quebec, Ontario, the Maritimes and British Columbia. The government must act quickly with a well-oriented and concerted plan to strengthen and consolidate existing clusters and to partner with the provinces that are already helping this industry. Each actor should work in consultation with each other and put their shoulders to the wheel.

Cutting-edge companies are present on the territory. Montreal is the third world capital in the aerospace sector, all it takes is that our governments equip themselves with a coherent and flexible policy to take us to another level. A policy that will promote local procurement in a sector with such a high added value, will not only create and secure jobs for the middle class, but also stimulate research and innovation in an industry that has positive impacts in several sectors at once.

All citizens will benefit from such a measure, from our researchers in universities, to our workers in factories; this policy will initiate real change in our economy. It is with this kind of initiative that we promote an effective redistribution of wealth, diversify our economy and the entire country benefits. Lets act now and intelligently for our future.


Bombardier CSeries jets