The Quebec government is defending its $30 million stake in an airship company and is apparently convinced that hybrid lighter-than-air vehicles are the future of transportation in northern regions. Premier Francois Legault said skeptics will be proven wrong while at the same time acknowledging the financial collaboration with Flying Whales, a French company with Chinese partners that envisions delivering goods to the far-flung communities in the North and serving mining and other resource interests. “If we don’t take risks we go nowhere,” he told a news conference last week.
The province signed the deal last year and it includes locating part of the business in Quebec. Economy Minister Pierre Fitzgibbon said Quebec’s large aerospace industry and its expertise attracted the company and “not because we’re morons who write cheques.” Fitzgibbon said he is hoping the first Flying Whale, which is purported to carry 60 tons of cargo, will be in the air by 2023 but opposition members of the National Assembly, have demanded details of the deal. “It’s a pity that we have to put this project on trial,” said Fitzgibbon.