Sandra Pupatello, Ontario’s aerospace champion

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There can be few more energetic champions of Canada's aeropsace industry than Sandra Pupetello. A member of Ontario's provincial parliament since 1995 and now minister of economic development and trade, Pupatello likes words such as"innovation" and "edge", and talks about "cracking opportunites" to link Ontario aerospace businesses with growing markets such as China and India: "Aerospace in Ontario gets ministers on fire".

Speaking in Toronto to Flight International, she stressed the history of Ontario in aerospace - Eurocopter's links to the province go back to 1984 - and the need to keep building Ontario's place in the aerospace supply chain: "We have a lot to sell."

Ontario represents 30% of Canada's aerospace industry by value, and this high-tech sector is just one of the reasons why Pupatello thinks customers and investors shoulds be flocking to a province of 13.5 million people that sits within a day's drive of 157 million people.

However, she concedes, nothing is easy and it does not help that "Canadians are not good at showing off"

And, shes says, it is getting harder to lure inward investment, despite the fact that aeropace businesses in Ontario get a 50% research and development tac credit from the federal government and another 10% from the province. Citing a recent case in which Ontario offered a company looking for new premises a 10% relocation grant but lost it to a southern US state that offered 120%, she says competition between regions for these investments has reached ridiculous levels.

But, she says - reverting to her energised self - governements are always going to be interested in aerospace; defence needs dictate that, and aerospace programmes require so much spending up-front that there is no alternative to government R&D assistance.

Aerospace, shes says, is simply like no toher industry

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 ©Goverment of Ontario
Pupatello: "We have a lot to sell"