Nationalize Bombardier: Stop the Giveaway

Statement by the Central Executive Committee, Communist Party of Canada

The Communist Party’s Executive Committee is demanding the federal government immediately block the corporate deal with Airbus that will kill thousands of new jobs and give away controlling interest in Canada’s C-series jet for $1.

Further, Parliament must step up to put Bombardier under public ownership and democratic control, and pull the plug on NAFTA which has contributed in a big way to this debacle.

Bombardier’s $8.7 billion debt includes over $6 billion spent on development of the C-series jet – a project meant to make Canada a leader in the global aerospace industry, creating thousands of new jobs in Canada. That’s why the federal government made $1.3 billion in loans to Bombardier and why the Quebec government invested $1.25 billion for what began as a 49.5% interest, now shrunk to just 19%.

While reaching into the public purse time after time, Bombardier’s executives were being paid millions in publicly funded bonuses year after year – without any public oversight or control.

            What induced Bombardier to hand over control of the C-Series jet to the European based Airbus, was NAFTA, and the decision of the US administration to slap a 300% tariff on Bombardier’s sales of the C-series jet to Delta airlines in the US. The tariff was the result of demands by the US based-Boeing corporation which claimed that Bombardier was unfairly subsidized by the Canadian government. To get around the tariff, Bombardier made a deal with Airbus to build the jets in Alabama, in a non-union shop, in a US right-to- work state. In exchange Bombardier gets a 31% stake in the C-series for 7.5 years, while sales will be larger because Airbus is a mega-player in the aerospace industry.

Canadian workers get left holding the bag for public investments and loans that will never be repaid, and for jobs that will never materialize because wages are so much lower in the US. In fact, there is a good chance that the 2,000 Bombardier jobs in Montreal could disappear, as production ramps up in Alabama. NAFTA gives corporations complete freedom to set up and close down wherever and whenever they want, with low wages, poor working conditions, and a union-free, regulation-free environment all acceptable reasons to move production out of Canada.

This is another perfect example of why Canada should pull the plug and get out of NAFTA now.

Continuing in NAFTA means continuing to watch as manufacturing and industrial jobs are routinely stripped out of Canada, while wages are beaten down, pensions are gutted and unions and labour rights are undermined and destroyed.

Private corporations have repeatedly demonstrated, in their pursuit of profit, that they cannot be relied upon to provide good jobs with fair wages and benefits, to the working class in Canada. The practice of massive public bailouts to huge corporations, in exchange for job guarantees that evaporate, must end. The aerospace and transportation industry is a key element in Canada’s economy and it must be developed in the interests of the people, not corporate profit.

Enough is enough! Get out of NAFTA! Nationalize Bombardier and block the deal with Airbus. Build the C-series jet in Canada. And build a Canada-wide transportation system that’s publicly owned and democratically controlled, and meets the needs of the people who live and work in Canada – not those corporations that profit here.

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