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Government announcement
22 February 2018

François Legault ready to sacrifice the independence of the Caisse de dépôt et de placement du Québec

QUÉBEC CITY, February 22, 2018—This is the reaction from Minister of Finance Carlos J. Leitão to the remarks by Coalition Avenir Québec leader François Legault, made during his visit to La Pocatière, with the goal of re-opening contracts that CDPQ Infra wishes to conclude for the creation of the Réseau express métropolitain (REM). This declaration challenges the independence of the Caisse de dépôt et de placement du Québec (CDPQ) and, incidentally, breaks the agreement reached between the Government of Quebec and the CDPQ allowing it to carry out this exceptional project benefitting Montréal and Quebec as a whole.

“During the initial stages of the project, the CAQ said it was very attentive to respecting the CDPQ’s independence in the REM project and underscored the importance that—in their words—“an airtight wall between the CDPQ and the government will be clearly defined” and that “the government would not be able to intervene.”

The choice of the consortiums for carrying out the project was made through a very rigorous procedure, entirely and independently conducted by CDPQ Infra. This procedure guarantees the best project at the best price.

Through this interference with the CDPQ, the CAQ is not only showing disrespect for the independence of the CDPQ, but intruding in a way that could be detrimental to agency decisions and also to cases like the CSeries vs. Boeing. It’s exactly thanks to the independence shown by the CDPQ that Quebec was able to prevail in this case. On a larger scale, the CAQ’s behaviour betrays their disrespect of our institutions.

What is even more regrettable, beyond this opportunistic about-face, is the use of the workers of La Pocatière as a political means to an end and the manipulation of the organization known as Quebecers’ nest egg. As the Premier has done several times now, I wish to reassure them about their future. There are several public transportation projects to come in Quebec and there will be jobs and a fine future ahead for Bombardier workers at La Pocatière. However, this future is certainly not being safeguarded by the dangerous and absurd promises made by the leader of the CAQ.

Finally, let’s remember that the project proposed by the CDPQ expects to have Quebec content both in the rolling stock component and in the construction and engineering component, for a total of 65%—a percentage well above the 25% promised by Mr. Legault,” said Leitão.