Canada federal officials stated Thursday that they have been instructed to break off contact with Boeing over the future of Super Hornet fighter jet.
The liberal government’s trade conflict with Boeing over the future of the Super Hornet fighter jet purchase escalated Thursday with an acknowledgement that federal officials have been instructed to break off contact with the U.S. aerospace giant.
The talks with Boeing is suspended and “that is what we have decided," Steve MacKinnon, the parliamentary secretary for the public works minister was quoted as saying by CBC News Thursday.
Last March, the federal government submitted a request to the Pentagon for a government-to-government purchase of 18 Super Hornets, on an urgent basis, to fulfill the capability gap in the fighter jet fleet.
As part of that request, National Defence and Public Works officials hold regular discussions with the aircraft manufacturer in order to clear details and deliver the specific requirements of the Canadian Air Force.
“It is those talks that have been suspended,” MacKinnon added. "There are lots of things we can talk to them about, but we have cut off those discussions," he said.
The dispute, which happened behind closed doors, spilled into the open Wednesday when Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan publicly called out Boeing in front of a room full of defence contractors over the company's commercial trade challenge involving Quebec-based Bombardier.
The public rebuke prompted Boeing to scrap the planned unveiling of its Canadian industry partners for the Super Hornet program Thursday morning.
"It is not the opportune time to share this good news story," said Boeing spokesman Scott Day in a statement issued shortly before the briefing that was to take place at an Ottawa defence industry trade show.