Trudeau swats away Su­per Hor­net ques­tions amid Boe­ing-Bom­bardier dis­pute

Kingston Whig-Standard - - NATIONAL - LEE BERTHIAUME

OT­TAWA — Justin Trudeau came out swing­ing at the U.S. gov­ern­ment Fri­day over its in­ves­ti­ga­tion into a trade dis­pute be­tween U.S. aero­space gi­ant Boe­ing and Cana­dian ri­val Bom­bardier.

But the prime min­is­ter re­fused to dis­cuss what other op­tions the Lib­eral gov­ern­ment would have if it were to fol­low through on its notso-sub­tle threat to aban­don plans to buy 18 of Boe­ing ’s Su­per Hor­net fighter jets.

The Lib­er­als ap­peared to link the trade dis­pute and fighter-jet pur­chase the day be­fore, af­ter U.S. of­fi­cials in Wash­ing­ton held a hear­ing into dump­ing al­le­ga­tions that Boe­ing brought against Bom­bardier.

For­eign Af­fairs Min­is­ter Chrys­tia Free­land re­leased a state­ment af­ter the hear­ing say­ing the gov­ern­ment was “re­view­ing cur­rent mil­i­tary pro­cure­ment that re­lates to Boe­ing.”

Gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials and in­dus­try rep­re­sen­ta­tives said the planned Su­per Hor­net pur­chase was the only on­go­ing mil­i­tary pro­cure­ment project with Boe­ing.

Trudeau didn’t men­tion Boe­ing or the Su­per Hor­nets by name while re­spond­ing to ques­tions at an event in Sur­rey, B.C., on Fri­day, but did have some tough words for the U.S. gov­ern­ment.

“We strongly dis­agree with the ac­tions taken by the U.S. Depart­ment of Com­merce and we are mak­ing that very clearly known,” he said.

“We will be re­spect­ful and work con­struc­tively with the United States, but we will al­ways be res­o­lute and firm in how we stand up for Cana­dian in­ter­ests.”

The Lib­eral gov­ern­ment has spent six months ar­gu­ing about the ur­gent need for more fighter jets to sup­ple­ment Canada’s ag­ing CF-18s, and that the Su­per Hor­nets it plans to buy are the only real op­tion.

Trudeau sidestepped ques­tions about what other av­enues the gov­ern­ment has avail­able if it de­cides to fol­low through on its threat to cancel the pur­chase in re­tal­i­a­tion for Boe­ing’s case against Bom­bardier.

“We know that we have a re­spon­si­bil­ity to the men and women of the Cana­dian Forces,” he said. “But we’re al­ways go­ing to be very thought­ful about stand­ing up for Cana­dian rights and what is right at the same time.”

THE CANA­DIAN PRESS FILES

A Boe­ing F-18 Su­per Hor­net per­forms at an air show north of Paris in 2007.

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