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Canadian government mulling best approach to investing in Bombardier

Innovation, Science and Economic Development Minister Navdeep Singh Bains speaks with the media after appearing at a policy conference in Ottawa, Wednesday October 12, 2016.


Canada's government is considering how, not if, to invest in struggling aircraft manufacturer Bombardier Inc., Innovation Minister Navdeep Bains said.

The Montreal-based company formally sought $1-billion (U.S.) in federal aid nearly a year ago and the two sides have been locked in a standoff since then over corporate governance concessions. Mr. Bains told reporters Wednesday in Ottawa the government wants to ensure Bombardier's long-term success.

"It's not a matter of if we want to invest, it's how we make that investment," the minister said. "It's about how do we focus on the future success of the company, which is so critical to the success of the aerospace sector."

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Canada doesn't "want to get a deal done for the sake of getting a deal done," Mr. Bains said. He added that government officials met with the company Tuesday in Montreal, where he announced $54-million (Canadian) in funding for a Bombardier-led consortium of firms and academic institutions developing new aircraft technology.

Mr. Bains has said job guarantees are a major issue in "very fluid" negotiations. In exchange for aid, the federal government was seeking to dismantle the dual-class share structure that allows the founding families to control the company with only a minority stake. Bombardier rejected that proposal and has said it doesn't intend to change its share structure.

The Government of Quebec, which finalized its investment in Bombardier's C Series project in June, wants Mr. Bains and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to make a decision on federal aid as soon as possible.

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