In an opinion piece recently published in iPolitics, Alan Freeman writes that Bombardier is “always anxious to make a sale, to anyone, anywhere, with few questions asked.” He is wrong.
To be clear, Bombardier does want to be the global leader in each of our market segments. We want to grow, profitably, responsibly and ethically. This is our commitment to our shareholders, our employees and ourselves.
Despite Mr. Freeman’s allegations, we have no difficulty walking away from opportunities that run afoul of legal requirements or are inconsistent with our own code of ethics. At the same time, we will not cede international markets to our competitors simply because doing business in countries with different legal, political and regulatory environments is complex and difficult. Quite the contrary — we believe that a Canadian-based company with a strong ethical compass can compete and win in the global marketplace.
Will this present challenges? Yes. Will we run into situations that could put us in contact with people who don’t share our high ethical standards? Yes. Will this cause us to abandon our own beliefs? No. Will we take action if we discover any wrongdoing by our employees or partners? Absolutely.
In passing judgment on Bombardier, Mr. Freeman, a former Globe and Mail reporter, seems to have based his opinions on recent stories from his old employer — a source that we have on occasion found to be both unreliable and incomplete in its coverage. Indeed, many of the great things happening across Bombardier are ignored or not deemed newsworthy. Worse yet, the few stories that are reported are misleading and do not paint a complete picture of our company.
Case in point: Mr. Freeman’s piece, like the Globe and Mail coverage it relies on, misleads readers into thinking Bombardier sold an aircraft to a customer in the midst of a corruption investigation. But that’s not what happened.
In 2014 our company, like EDC, made an evaluation according to strict internal due-diligence protocols. At the time, there hadn’t been a single charge, finding, fine or any conclusion of wrongdoing from a recognized national or international criminal or civil authority.
It is dishonest to use 2017 hindsight to judge actions we responsibly undertook in 2014. A more honest piece would have led with the reality that Bombardier has not been charged with violating any laws, rules or regulations in any of the matters Mr. Freeman mentions, and that we in fact have a strong record of compliance in the more than 100 countries where we do business.
But while Mr. Freeman’s latest commentary on our company is disappointing, it is hardly surprising. Over the last two years, he has written five iPolitics Canada pieces about Bombardier, and not a single one has highlighted a positive aspect of the company or its more than 20,000 Canadian employees. This, during a period in which we commenced a major turnaround plan, brought the most advanced commercial aircraft into service to rave reviews by airlines, pilots and customers, and made steady progress toward the entry into service of the world’s most advanced business jet.
It seems impossible that a fair-minded commentator could go so long without noticing all this good news — unless he had a preconceived viewpoint on Bombardier.
While we’d welcome more attention to our successes, we’re not going to let any negative commentary deter us from the important work ahead. I don’t know what Mr. Freeman’s vision is for Canadian companies — but ours is simple. We want to be the global leader in the passenger rail, commercial and business aircraft segments. We believe in our people, in our capacity to innovate and in our ability to navigate the complexities of doing business globally.
We are proud of the progress we have made in turning our great company around, and we intend to finish the job.
Vice President Communications and Public Affairs