Money for Nothing


I would hazard a guess that most Canadians would agree that helping a huge multi-national Canadian company survive and remain competitive is good for all Canadians. So, when the government of Canada and the Quebec provincial government bailed out Bombardier with a $372.5-million loan, and $1 billion respectively, it was a bit of a sticker-price shock, but still, it could be substantiated in the eyes of many people. What could not be tolerated, however, were bonuses for the company’s top five executives for poor performance.

I do not understand how executives can even think that they deserve raises after being brought back from the edge of the brink with taxpayer’s money. America’s Wall Street banking executives, who performed so poorly that they almost brought the entire world’s economy to its knees, also decided it was a good idea to hand out millions of dollars in bonuses after a federal bailout. In both these cases, executives cited the need to attract and retain the best executives. If the definition of a great executive is to gouge taxpayers and screw its employees, then the Bombardier top executives have easily come from the same gene cesspool of the greedy “privileged” few that have no concern for anyone below them. Money for nothing is not what a tax-funded bailout is for.

Most employees are lucky if they get an annual raise of two per cent. In the case of Bombardier, it has laid off thousand of workers worldwide to “help turn the company around.” There is no turning anything around when part of the problem is executive greed. It’s no wonder they were having financial difficulties. If private companies like Bombardier want to play fast and loose with their private money, then I would have no issue, but they are playing with taxpayer money. These funds should have come with conditions that include things like “never to be used to increase executive salaries.” What Bombardier and other companies like it are doing is a form of corruption, and should never be allowed under any circumstance.

Many Canadians are going through financial hardship. They have never received a bailout from their government. A bailout would sure help me, and it would not need to be anywhere near the amount doled out to corporate giants. When the average Joe or Josephine have financial difficulties, they cut back, scrimp, and conserve to help make ends meet. Why is it that Bombardier executives do not have to reduce their wages during hard times?

Bombardier executives do not need raises. Deferring these compensation packages to 2020 is not the answer. Cancelling these bonuses altogether is the answer. If you are an executive of any company who finds that living on $1 million per year is not enough, then you and I need to trade places for a year. Living on my pay, would, I am certain, make you better appreciate what it truly means to have to cut back or tighten one’s belt.

Canadians are a friendly bunch; they like to help out in any way they can. If that support, however, goes to line the pockets of the people that need it the least, then those people are no better than corrupt dictatorships that keep financial aid for themselves in the face of despair and financial ruin of their own citizens.

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