Unifor's Dias on Bombardier-Boeing spat: U.S. wouldn't do well in trade war with Canada
Bombardier workers in Toronto staged a walkout Wednesday to send a direct message to rival planemaker Boeing.
That message – according to the leader of the workers’ union – is that Boeing’s complaint against Bombardier makes no sense.
“This is what happens when you have more money than brains, to be perfectly candid,” Unifor President Jerry Dias told BNN in an interview on Wednesday. “Boeing is about to blow a $6 billion contract to replace our 88 fighter jets. Six billion! For what? The CSeries doesn’t even make a plane that’s in competition with them.”
Dias says that the walkout is a show of solidarity with both the company and the federal government in the face of an attempted American show of corporate muscle.
“Since Trump went into power it’s almost as if they have this bully mentality that somehow they’re going to push us around and that’s just not going to happen. We’re fighting for some of the major industries in Canada,” Dias said. “This is a big issue and we need to get our heads around it.”
Boeing has accused Bombardier of selling its CSeries planes at a discount on the back of government subsidies. The U.S. Department of Commerce is set to release the results of its investigation of the claims next week.
Dias challenged the claim, urging Boeing to check its math when it comes to what amounts to a subsidy within the aerospace industry.
“It’s really hypocrisy,” Dias said. “Boeing receives over $2 billion a year in local, state and federal funding. So, this is absolutely nonsense.”
The Canadian government has stood up to Boeing over the duration of the dispute and ratcheted up its rhetoric this week.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau lashed out against the U.S. planemaker on Monday saying that Canada "won't do business with a company that's busy trying to sue us and put our aerospace workers out of business."
Dias had a colourful response of his own for how little Canada should be concerning itself with U.S. trade disputes.
“We have so many things that the United States needs that if they want to get into a protracted trade war with Canada I would suggest that they wouldn’t do very well,” he said.
“The Canadian government, to their credit, is not afraid of Trump. And when Trump fires his salvos, no one gets diarrhea here in Canada.”