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Toronto Star

European giant Airbus to buy majority stake in Bombardier’s CSeries program

Oct 16, 2017 9:10:05 AM

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MONTREAL—European aircraft giant Airbus Group is shaking up the global airline business by buying a majority stake in Bombardier’s CSeries program and assembling the plane in the U.S. to avoid import duties.

The two aircraft manufacturers announced the partnership Monday evening, weeks after the United States announced 300 per cent preliminary duties on exports of the aircraft following a complaint from Airbus rival Boeing.

The partnership is expected to result in significant CSeries production costs savings by leveraging Airbus’s global supply chain expertise, but the company won’t be paying any money for the acquired stake or absorb Bombardier’s large debt.

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Airbus will acquire a 50.01 per cent interest in the CSeries Aircraft Limited Partnership, which manufactures and sells the plane in exchange for access to Airbus’s sales, logistics, procurement and support expertise.

Bombardier will own 31 per cent and the Quebec government’s investment agency will hold 19 per cent, down from 49.5 per cent when it invested US$1 billion in the program.

Airbus can buy out Bombardier after 7.5 years and the Quebec government in 2023.

Bombardier CEO Alain Bellemare said Airbus is the perfect partner.

“Combining the CSeries with Airbus’s global scale creates a remarkable business, and together we will take the CSeries program to new heights,” he said in a conference call.

He said the partnership should more than double the value of the CSeries program by accelerating sales momentum.

“It brings certainty to the future of the program so it increases the level of confidence that the aircraft is there to stay, which means that we will increase volume.”

The way the federal government sees it, the Airbus takeover gives the CSeries a real chance at not just surviving, but making it big, said a government source.

Although there will be debate over the “symbolism” of a Canadian product now being controlled by a European company, the alternatives were not promising, given Bombardier’s financial and trade challenges.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and U.S. President Donald Trump spoke by phone Monday about the aerospace spat, the softwood lumber dispute, and their unexpected consequences.

Airbus chief executive Tom Enders called the partnership a “win-win for everybody.”

“Our partnership will accelerate the commercial success and it will ensure that the program comes into a position to realize its full potential,” he said from Europe.

The company is taking out ads in Canadian newspapers on Tuesday that end with “Thank you Canada ... for welcoming us to our newest home.”

Enders said the partnership will secure industrial operations in Canada, Britain and China, and bring new jobs to the U.S.

Unlike when talks between the companies failed a few years ago, Enders said the CSeries is certified and recognized by customers as a great plane that can expand its narrow-body product line. He noted that Airbus hasn’t made an A319 the size of the CSeries for years.

With this deal, Canada would become Airbus’s fifth home country and first outside Europe.

The CSeries headquarters and main assembly line will remain in the Montreal area, but a second production line for the 100- to 150-seat plane will be set up at Airbus’s facility in Alabama to meet demand from U.S. customers and avoid duties.

Airbus has promised to maintain 100 per cent of those employed Mirabel, Que., and to keep production at the Mirabel plant, where production will be ramped up far beyond its current rate.

The union representing many Bombardier workers said it’s too early to celebrate even though Airbus’ stake could strengthen the CSeries.

“It is a sad day that a high-tech Canadian treasure is ending up in European control, but we can take some satisfaction that the CSeries is getting some needed stability,” said Unifor National President Jerry Dias.

“The attempt to weaken Bombardier has pushed it to join with one of its competitors, which should not have had needed to happen,” Dias said. “Ultimately, the U.S. actions have created a stronger Bombardier.”

Even though talks began in August, months after Boeing challenged government subsidies to Bombardier, Enders said the partnership wasn’t motivated by the trade dispute.

“It was motivated by the clear recognition that the stars were kind of all aligned this time,” he said.

Bellemare added the companies aren’t circumventing anything by joining forces. He added that Delta Air Lines is prepared to wait for delivery of its planes to avoid duties.

“When you produce an aircraft in the U.S. it is not subject to any import duties under the current U.S. rules.”

Even though some assembly work will be done in the United States, Bellemare believes more jobs will be created in Quebec because Airbus will help to augment sales.

The big losers are Boeing and Brazil’s Embraer, said industry analyst Chris Murray of AltaCorp Capital.

“Certainly this makes a much, much stronger program and certainly more competitive against anything Boeing would want to offer,” he said.

Boeing described the partnership as a “questionable deal between two heavily state-subsidized competitors to skirt the recent findings of the U.S. government.”

“Our position remains that everyone should play by the same rules for free and fair trade to work,” spokesman Dan Curran said in a statement.

Quebec economy, science and innovation Minister Dominique Anglade said the strategic partnership will ensure the sustainability of the CSeries and consolidate Quebec’s aerospace cluster.

“In the current context, the partnership with Airbus is, for us, the best solution to ensure the maintenance and creation of jobs in this strategic sector of the Quebec economy,” she stated in a news release.

Federal Minister Navdeep Bains said the government will review the deal under the Investment Canada Act due to the significant proposed investments in Canada by non-Canadians.

“On the surface, Bombardier’s new proposed partnership with Airbus on this aircraft would help position the CSeries for success by combining excellence in innovation with increased market access and an unrivalled global salesforce,” he stated in a separate news release.

Woman whose complaint started Marcel Aubut sexual harassment scandal speaks out

Oct 16, 2017 11:09:00 PM

leanne nicolle woman whose complaint started marcel aubut scandal speaks out 16 10 2017 canada news thestar dam content www.thestar.com  https:

Two years after Marcel Aubut’s resignation, Leanne Nicolle is speaking out publicly about her experience working for the former Canadian Olympic Committee president, who was accused of sexual harassment by multiple women.

Nicolle, the former executive director of the Canadian Olympic Foundation, filed a formal complaint against Aubut in 2015 and said he resigned seven days later.

“I was scared of him. I was alone,” she said in a CTV interview on Monday night. CTV reached out to Aubut for comment, but he declined.

Nicolle, who is now the president and CEO of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Toronto, told CTV that many people working under Aubut who knew what was going on were also being harassed, abused, and yelled at all the time.

“They were being harassed and they were being yelled at all the time and living in constant fear of reprisal,” she said. “The whole organization was based in fear.”

On Oct. 3, 2015, Marcel Aubut resigned as president of the COC and left the BCF law firm where he worked after he was accused of sexual harassment.

“Although I assume full responsibility for my effusive and demonstrative personality, I would like to reiterate that I never intended to offend or upset anyone with my remarks or my behaviour,” he said in the statement at the time.

“Unfortunately, the current situation is a major distraction that obscures the COC’s real goals, especially with the Rio Games fast approaching,” he said. “For these reasons, I announce today that I am stepping down as president of the Canadian Olympic Committee.”

Aubut lingered over hugs and kisses, called staff his girlfriends and made comments about women and their boyfriends and husbands, according to a former COC employee who spoke to the Star at the time but did not want her name used.

“People did warn him . . . ‘Marcel, you shouldn’t say that,’ or ‘That’s inappropriate,’ ” she said.

But that’s all they did, an independent review carried out after the scandal discovered.

Nicolle told the media this week that she documented his inappropriate and unsettling comments from the first days she started working with him in 2013.

“I did it on my phone in the notes page,” she said. “I started documenting where I was, who I was with.”

Her records proved “crucial in the end,” she wrote in the Globe and Mail on Saturday, when she finally decided to start a legal process against him.

After working under Aubut for several years, Nicolle said she felt broken by his behaviour and by the silence of other employees whom she said saw what was happening but looked the other way.

The alleged verbal abuse got particularly bad around the Sochi Olympic Games in 2014, but there was also an inappropriate “physical connection” involved, Nicolle said.

She wrote that she relied on medication to sleep and alcohol to get through the day, and was on the verge of quitting her job — but changed her mind after she told someone about her experience and he said he believed her.

Nicolle’s complaint led to an investigation in which more than 100 people came forward to share similar experiences.

The three-month review by employment lawyer Christine Thomlinson found the majority of staff interviewed had “experienced or witnessed harassment, both sexual and personal” during Aubut’s tenure.

Staff also believed “the board and the (senior leadership team) were aware of information that suggested harassment was occurring in their workplace and they were unable or unwilling to take steps to address it,” stated the report released in January 2016.

Aubut did not face criminal charges but apologized for his behaviour.

Before his dramatic fall from power, Aubut had effectively taken over the organization dedicated to supporting Canadian Olympic teams to the point it was often dubbed the “Marcel Show.”

He had been president for nearly six years and an active board member since 2005, and during his tenure, the COC transformed into a glitzy brand that attracted top corporate sponsors, held lavish events and doubled annual spending to more than $50 million.

His inappropriate behaviour toward women was simply treated as part of the Marcel package, former employees allege.

Nicolle said Aubut’s power and connections within the organization shattered her confidence, and said she didn’t speak up earlier because she didn’t know whether she’d be supported.

She decided to talk about her experience after two years of silence because of recent world events and because she feels more confident now.

For women caught in similar situations, Nicolle said she recommends gathering evidence and documenting it meticulously, telling someone trustworthy, and knowing your worth.

She said men who want to be part of the solution should be empathetic and believe victims, and shouldn’t be afraid to act.

With files from Kerry Gillespie

Trump lied about Obama in another wild news conference. Then he did something unexpected: Analysis

Oct 16, 2017 4:12:05 PM

trump presser trump lied about obama in another wild news conference then he did something unexpected analysis 16 10 2017 world news thestar dam content www.thestar.com  https:

WASHINGTON—U.S. President Donald Trump told a lie about predecessor Barack Obama.

Then something unusual happened. He took it back.

Only partly, only when challenged, and without an apology or admission. Nonetheless, Trump’s de facto retraction was a rare acknowledgment of his own inaccuracy.

Trump, holding an unscheduled press conference in the White House Rose Garden on Monday afternoon, was asked about his public silence on the killing of four Army Green Beret soldiers in Niger on Oct. 4.

Trump said he had written “personal letters” to the soldiers’ families, then that he would call the families “at some point.”

Then he falsely claimed Obama, unlike him, never made such calls.

“Now it gets to a point where you know, you make four of five of them in one day, it’s a very, very tough day. For me, that’s by far the toughest. So the traditional way — if you look at President Obama and other presidents — most of ’em didn’t make calls, a lot of ’em didn’t make calls. I like to call when it’s appropriate, when I think I’m able to do it. They have made the ultimate sacrifice. So generally I would say that I like to call,” he said.

Obama regularly called the families of soldiers killed in action, former aides said, and he met with those “Gold Star families” whenever he visited a military base. One of the former aides, former deputy chief of staff Alyssa Mastromonaco‏, reacted to Trump’s smear with public anger.

“That’s a f---ing lie,” Mastromonaco wrote on Twitter. “To say president Obama (or past presidents) didn’t call the family members of soldiers KIA — he’s a deranged animal.”

By the Star’s count, Trump averages more than two false claims per day, and he has almost never been willing to retract any of them. This time, though, he was challenged to defend his claim by NBC reporter Peter Alexander.

He backed down immediately.

“I don’t know if he did,” Trump said. “I was told that he didn’t often, and a lot of presidents don’t.”

He continued: “President Obama, I think, probably did sometimes, and maybe sometimes he didn’t, I don’t know, that’s what I was told. All I can do is ask my generals.”

Trump also blamed unnamed advisors for a false claim Alexander challenged him on at a news conference in February. When Alexander pointed out that Trump had not, in fact, earned the biggest Electoral College margin of victory since Ronald Reagan, Trump said, “I was given that information.”

On Monday, Trump’s press secretary, Sarah Sanders, issued a statement claiming Trump was simply “stating a fact” that former presidents did not call the families each and every time a soldier died. Apparently to the former Obama aides, she said, “Individuals claiming former presidents, like their bosses, called each family of the fallen, are mistaken” — though the former aides had not said Obama called each and every time.

“President Obama spent time with families of the fallen throughout his presidency through letters, calls, visits to Section 60 (for soldiers killed in the War on Terror) at Arlington and regular meetings with Gold Star families,” former aide Tommy Vietor told the Star.

Trump’s comments on Obama came during a chaotic 45 minute press conference at which Trump was accompanied by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, whom he has criticized repeatedly and whom his former chief strategist, Steve Bannon, has vowed to take down in favour of Republicans he sees as friendlier to Trump’s agenda.

“Despite what we read, we are probably now, I think, at least as far as I am concerned, we are closer than ever before and the relationship is very good,” Trump said of himself and McConnell. “We are fighting for the same thing, we are fighting for lower taxes, big tax cuts, the biggest tax cuts in the history of our nation. We are fighting for tax reform as part of that.”

Read more: The complete list of false things Donald Trump has said as president

In a show of support for McConnell and his caucus, Trump said he would try to talk Bannon out of running primary candidates against certain “great” Republican incumbents.

Trump again cast blame on Puerto Ricans for the ongoing Hurricane Maria crisis, claiming Puerto Ricans, not his government, are at fault for hunger and thirst on the island. Told that many Puerto Ricans still lack clean water — 28 per cent, according to the federal emergency agency — Trump said, “Well, we delivered tremendous amounts of water.”

“Then what you have to do is you have to have distribution of the water by people on the island,” he said.

Trump declined to condemn Alabama Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore for his desire to make homosexuality illegal. Trump said the people of Alabama like Moore.

Trump repeated a promise to reduce prescription drug prices. This time, he noted that Canada, among other countries, has much lower prices than the U.S.

Trump was asked for the first time to address the battles around Kirkuk between Iraqi forces and Iraqi Kurdish forces, both U.S. allies in the fight against Daesh, also known as ISIS and ISIL. He said: “We don’t like the fact that they’re clashing. We’re not taking sides.”

Trump again could not resist mocking Hillary Clinton. In a tweet earlier in the day, he had urged Clinton to run against him again in 2020.

“Hillary, please run again,” he said at the news conference.

Trump made a variety of other false claims, most of them repeats. Among other things, he said that the U.S. is “the highest-taxed country in the world” (it is below average for the developed world), that Puerto Rico’s power plants need to be rebuilt (they were barely damaged by Hurricane Maria), that China has a 15 per cent corporate tax rate (it is 25 per cent except for companies in advanced industries in certain cities).

CP24 News

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