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Former Quebec transport minister Jacques Daoust won’t testify in Rona hearings

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WATCH ABOVE: Former Quebec transport minister Jacques Daoust will not testify in front of the National Assembly hearings Thursday. Global's Raquel Fletcher reports – Aug 25, 2016

Former Quebec transport minister Jacques Daoust will not testify in front of the National Assembly hearings Thursday.

Daoust resigned last week amid accusations he lied to the public about approving the sale of Investissement Quebec‘s shares in Rona.

The sale ultimately led to the hardware chain being taken over by the American chain, Lowe’s, causing scandal in the province.

READ MORE: Quebec opposition insists Transport Minister should resign over Rona shares sale

When Rona was sold to Lowe’s in February, Daoust repeatedly denied he knew anything about the sale of Investissement Quebec’s shares.

Yet, emails surfaced last week between Rona and Daoust’s chief of staff that suggest he did know, and he approved the sale.

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Premier Philippe Couillard then came out to say he no longer had confidence in the minister, and swiftly kicked him out of cabinet.

Thursday morning, the assembly heard extended testimony from presidents of Investissement Quebec.

READ MORE: Lowe’s takesover of Quebec-based Rona approved by Competition Bureau

Opposition members insist they want the chance to question Daoust about what he knew.

WATCH BELOW: Rona sold to Lowe’s

Liberal MNAs blocked the motion, but Pierre Ouellet, Daoust’s chief of staff, is expected to speak later in the afternoon.

“We already heard, quite often [from] Mr. Daoust,” said Robert Poëti, former Quebec transport minister.
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“He expressed himself about Rona, but Mr. Ouellet, never at all at this time, so let’s live today and we’ll see after.”

Depending on what Ouellet says, it is still possible that Daoust will have to speak.

READ MORE: Lowe’s blames Rona for low earnings in 2016

“We’ll see today with all the information and questions from all the persons that we’re going to hear,” said François Bonnardel, Coalition Avenir Quebec (CAQ) house leader.

Quebec Auditor General Guylaine Leclerc, who has already spoken out about the issue, will speak Thursday afternoon.

Several months ago, she indicated that meeting minutes showed Daoust was present for the meeting where the sale of Rona shares was discussed.

Daoust continues to insist the minutes are incorrect.

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