So we now know what all of Team Trudeau schmoozing with top White House aides and the Prime Minister’s “softly-softly” approach towards President Trump have brought us …
… the 220% punitive duty on Bombardier‘s aircraft is not a decision of the US government’s independent and quasi-judicial International Trade Commission, which is not expected until the spring of 2018, it is a ruling from President Trump’s own Commerce Department and it will, likely, be followed shortly by a punishing decision on a dumping charge against Bombardier.
Given that, as Andrew Coyne said, that the Trudeau regime sees itself (and is seen by many others) “as being one and the same” as Bombardier, then this can only be seen as President Trump giving the finger (however small it may be) to Bombardier, to Prime Minister Trudeau himself, and to Canada.
Prime Minister Trudeau’s amateurish and dishonest attempt to make the CF-18 replacement problem “just go away” by rigging the project so that Canada could sole source a purchase of 88 of Boeing‘s 4.5 Generation Super Hornets instead of buying the 5th Generation F-35 Lightnings now lies in disarray. No matter what he does he will have to admit to being either an inept naif or a liar.
Quebec will “double down” on Bombardier … it has little choice other than to do a 180° course change and admit that Bombardier , despite being a Québecois darling, is a very poorly managed company and that it needs a HUGE restructuring that, almost certainly, given the money involved, means a foreign takeover. Perhaps Prime Minister May, who is also dismayed by the Trump administration ruling, can find some London based entrepreneurs who will rescue Shorts Brothers, Bombardier‘s Northern Ireland subsidiary and the Quebec based parent, too.
Bombardier can make good aircraft and good trains and good vehicles, too … all it needs is good management and a fair, level, international market in which to sell. The US Commerce Department has just, perhaps only temporarily, taken the fair and level international market out of reach; but subsequent political and judicial decisions may bring it back or, at least, may bring it closer. But it was the Couillard government in Quebec City and Team Trudeau in Ottawa that gave US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross the excuse he needed to put some highly visible flesh on to President Trump’s “America First” skeleton.
Secretary Ross and President Trump didn’t lay a trap for Canada … Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Premier Philippe Couillard and (soon to retire ~ actually forced out) Bombardier‘s Chairman Pierre Beaudoin, grandson of the late, great Joseph-Armand Bombardier, did because all of them agreed that government subsidies are more important (or, at least, easier) than meeting honest contract commitments and producing good products.
Boeing is, massively, subsidized by the US government … through it’s military and space projects. Of course there is some “bleeding” of those subsidies into the commercial segments of the corporation but, in international trade law, countries agree to turn something of a blind eye to all that. The sorts of direct subsidies that Quebec and Canada provided to Bombardier, on the other had, fall directly under the intense gaze of international trade law: they are wrong; the US has a right to seek and apply remedies. AsI said, above, the Americans didn’t lay a trap trap Canada; we, Canadians, the people we elect, anyway, built the trap, baited it, walked in and sprung it all by ourselves. We did so because Premier Couillard is shackled to the notion of Québec Inc … a pipe-dream that says that state run or supported enterprises are good and/or efficient. It all harks back to “maîtres chez nous” in the 1950s. The ever elusive search for national unity often makes Ottawa follow Quebec like a dog on a leash, usually at the behest of the Laurentian Elites. Bombardier is just a cog in the national unity wheel which is, in turn, part of our historic, national “machine,” which Lord Durham accurately described as “two nations warring within the bosom of a single state.” We have, for generations, made important national policy decisions simply because the pacification of Quebec is too often seen as more important than the general good and the common wealth of Canada.
But that’s all history … what’s happening now is that Team Trudeau has walked Canada into a trap, of its own making, that will do real, serious damage to Quebec and Canada. Justin Trudeau did so because he, and his most trusted advisors, are politically and economically inept … in other words, “Just.Not.Ready.“