Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
I want to thank the witnesses for their presentations.
I have two questions. If there is any time left, my colleague Mr. Wilfert will continue. I have a question for Ms. Bourque and another for Mr. Bastien.
Ms. Bourque, I will start with you. You have an Acadian last name. I am happy to see the name “Bourque”. It is a pleasure to have you with us.
I agree with you. CAE is an unquestioned Canadian leader in training, in the manufacturing of simulators, and so on. You're right to celebrate CAE's success.
You said you were confident that in the bidding process you could compete with anyone else, and “if you are successful”, I think was the phrase you used, there would be untold job and economic benefits to Canada. I agree.
I'm worried about what happens if you're not successful. I'm worried about what happens in the global supply chain. Unlike previous procurements with guaranteed industrial and regional benefits.... Canada is allegedly buying 65 of these planes; other countries are buying thousands of them. What happens if we're not successful, if we don't put contractual obligations on the supplier to ensure that companies like yours, that have such a proud history, would benefit? I'm wondering why you wouldn't prefer a guaranteed benefit instead of a chance to compete and hopefully be successful on perhaps a larger pie.
Mr. Bastien, at the end of your comments you said something very interesting. Again, I think your company, in terms of fighter sustainment, has certainly been a centre of excellence, and we all celebrate the success and the terrific work done at L-3. I share your pride entirely. But you reminded us that fighter sustainment, the maintenance work you've done so well on the CF-18s, perhaps isn't the same as manufacturing a landing gear or some armament to go on the plane or a component of the plane. So why not then ask the government to oblige?
You said that before the contract is signed is when we have the most room to negotiate. Why not put a Canadian in-service maintenance fighter sustainment program as a binding, contractual arrangement with Lockheed Martin to ensure that your company or another Canadian competitor, if that's the case, is guaranteed that work? Why take the chance that some American company, right on our border, is in fact able to cut the grass from L-3 and you lose a large portion of that work? Perhaps your case screams out for binding IRBs with respect, if only in your case, to the sustainment program.
Thank you, Mr. Chair.