OTTAWA, Nov. 29, 2012 /CNW/ - CAW President Ken Lewenza is lauding the report of the Review of Aerospace and Space Programs and Policies, released today in Ottawa.
Lewenza called the report "encouraging," and said that it raises the profile of a very important sector of the national economy, including in Quebec. Lewenza said the review is an excellent example of pro-active engagement by government to develop industrial policies for key economic sectors.
The report suggests that for the Canadian aerospace sector to thrive, government must play an active role, as is the case in many other countries.
"The Review clearly advises that government must look at proactive policies, measures that will level the playing field with countries that rely heavily on state investment and ownership and ways to invest in building aerospace knowledge through research, development and training," said Lewenza.
Lewenza, along with Assistant to the President Jerry Dias, was in attendance for the launch of the report.
"Historically Canada has been one of the leaders in the aerospace industry," said Lewenza. "In recent years, this position has slipped due to a lack of concerted effort by government. Our aerospace sector cannot and should not be taken for granted."
The union welcomed the recommendations to maintain and stabilize program funding for the Strategic Aerospace and Defence Initiative (SADI) and the Canadian Space Agency, and those in favour of programs to support large scale technology demonstration.
Lewenza cautioned that although the Review highlights the need to secure greater benefit to Canada through government procurement of aircraft and aerospace-related equipment and maintenance contracts, it falls short in failing to focus more strongly on binding commitments to spin-off industrial and technical benefits, including jobs.
He also indicated that while the Review rightly highlights the role of trade, and the aggressive outreach undertaken by other nations, it does not go far enough in its recommendation for greater diplomacy. "Diplomacy alone will not ensure Canadian aerospace jobs - we need balanced trade rules or we'll see our global position in the industry diminish."
The CAW will join with other industry stake holders to press the government to implement the contents of the Review and greater support for the industry. The CAW represents approximately 10,000 aerospace workers across the country.
SOURCE Canadian Auto Workers Union (CAW)