Mr. Speaker, thank you for giving me the opportunity to speak to this important issue of the lack of federal government support for Quebec's aerospace industry.
I would remind the House that during question period on March 1, 2007, the Bloc Québécois returned to the charge. For months, the Bloc had been calling on the federal government to respect the existing distribution of Canada's aerospace industry. A total of 55% to 60% of Canada's aerospace industry is in Quebec. In a contract awarded to a private company like Boeing, we would have liked to see the federal government require the company to distribute its investments in a way that reflects the current situation in Canada. The government, however, made no effort to do so. The company itself was the one to suggest a rate of 30%. Thirty per cent is clearly insufficient. This launched an immense offensive from within the entire Quebec aerospace industry—from large and small companies alike—to tell the federal government that Quebec must receive its fair share.
They also appealed directly to the company. The company showed some sensitivity to the issue, but the federal government showed absolutely none. When the project was announced, the two ministers present, who both happen to be from Quebec, were unable to say how the spinoffs of the project would be divided. They called all of Canada the region. This showed complete disregard for the fact that Quebec has developed an expertise and has 55% to 60% of the aerospace industry within its borders. We are talking about thousands of jobs.
The commitment of 30% means that Quebec will lose 18,500 jobs per year, because the federal government did not want to impose a standard that simply corresponded to the current distribution. In the past, we have seen the government make significant investments in the automotive sector, for instance, and the Province of Ontario came out ahead, because that region was identified as where most of the industry is located.
The Conservative government now refuses to make such commitments in the aerospace sector. Consequently, Boeing, which subcontracts its distribution and production chain, will favour these subcontractors, which is quite normal. However, this chain of subcontractors may not necessarily include Quebec sub-contractors. Bombardier is one of Boeing's competitors. Do we believe that Boeing will subcontract to its Quebec competitor? I think that is absolutely ridiculous.
On an opposition day, we tabled a motion, supported by the Liberal Party, to the effect that the existing distribution in Canada had to be respected in order for each region—Quebec and the other provinces—to receive the share of spinoffs from this contract corresponding to the actual impact. Otherwise, the rules of the game are changed and a private company is given the responsibility for drastically altering the distribution.
Given the overall situation, and after the intervention of the Leader of the Bloc Québécois and myself on March 1, and in view of several measures that we took on opposition day, can the government guarantee that Quebec will receive 60% of the spin-offs, which it deserves, in order to respect the current distribution for each region in Canada? Will the government take positive action and promise to guarantee the 60% share?