Trudeau defends Bombardier aid, even after huge executive pay raises

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is defending his government's decision to provide federal assistance to Bombardier after the company's senior executives saw their compensation rise by nearly 50 per cent last year.

After touring a Magna auto parts facility in Brampton, Ont., today, Trudeau was asked several times how he can justify the $372.5-million loan package announced in February for Bombardier's CSeries and Global 7000 aircraft programs.

Trudeau says he respects the free market and the choices that companies make, but his government also has a responsibility to ensure public investments help create sustainable jobs.

Total compensation for the Montreal-based manufacturer's top five executives and board chairman was US$32.6 million in 2016, up from US$21.9 million the year before, according to a proxy circular ahead of Bombardier's annual meeting on May 11.

The hike came at a time when Bombardier laid off thousands of workers as part of a turnaround plan.