Document reveals ex-Liberal minister Jacques Daoust opposed sale of Rona shares

Jacques Daoust.
Jacques Daoust. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jacques Boissinot

Ex-Quebec Liberal cabinet minister Jacques Daoust wrote in a political document before his death last year he was opposed to the sale of Rona shares to U.S. interests in 2014.

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The document, obtained by Quebecor Media, indicates Daoust was furious his own government wanted him to say publicly he agreed with the sale by Quebec’s investment agency, when he did not.

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Daoust wrote that the decision to authorize the sale was made by a senior staff member behind his back when he was economy minister.

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Jacques Daoust won’t testify at Rona hearings – Sep 15, 2016

Daoust said he was caught in a behind-the-scenes game between his chief of staff, Pierre Ouellet, and another person with more authority than a minister — pointing a finger at Premier Philippe Couillard‘s then-chief of staff.

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Sebastien Daoust, one of Daoust’s sons, told Montreal radio station 98.5 FM Wednesday that some of the passages in the document were in keeping with what his father told him.

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The younger Daoust added that while he talked about politics daily with his father, the former minister did not like to discuss the sale of the hardware chain.

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In March 2016, Rona shareholders overwhelmingly approved the sale of the company to Lowe’s, a U.S. renovation chain, as part of a $3.2-billion friendly bid announced two months earlier.

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PQ calls for Daoust resignation – May 24, 2016

Daoust was elected to the national assembly in 2014 and named economy minister before he took the transport portfolio in January 2016.

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He kept the position until he stepped down as a member of the legislature in August 2016 after he landed in hot water for his alleged role in Investissement Quebec’s sale of 11 million Rona shares to Lowe’s.

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Daoust, who was head of the province’s investment agency between 2006 and 2013, has always insisted he did not know about the sale until it was a done deal.

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He died last August at the age of 69.

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