Quebec premier says returns will fly high with $30-million blimp investment

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Quebec Premier Francois Legault is dismissing naysayers who are accusing his government of wasting $30 million on an investment in giant blimps.

Legault told reporters Tuesday Quebecers need to become more comfortable with the province's investment arm taking risks with taxpayer money in order to generate higher returns.

He is on the defensive after the Journal de Montreal reported the previous Liberal government had rejected as too risky a French blimp venture in which the Legault government invested $30 million last year.

The company, Flying Whales, which also has Chinese backers, envisions transporting materials around Quebec's far north using blimps.

Legault says the project is ``brilliant'' and rejected opposition claims that the government's investment would be lost.

Economy Minister Pierre Fitzgibbon said the French company's project is more advanced than it was when presented to the Liberals, adding he expects the blimps to start flying by 2022-23.