‘We will miss him’

For­mer Que­bec cab­i­net min­is­ter Jac­ques Daoust dead at 69

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - OBITUARIES -

For­mer Que­bec Lib­eral cab­i­net min­is­ter Jac­ques Daoust, who quit pol­i­tics be­cause of con­tro­versy sur­round­ing his al­leged role in a gov­ern­ment agency’s sale of Rona Inc. shares to a U.S. com­pany, has died. He was 69.

Premier Philippe Couil­lard lauded Daoust, who suf­fered a stroke less than two weeks ago.

“Dur­ing his time as econ­omy min­is­ter he did work to help Bom­bardier...and to help im­prove pro­grams, no­tably for peo­ple run­ning small busi­nesses,’’ the premier said Thurs­day in He­bertville-Sta­tion, Que.

“So I think we have to be grate­ful to him for his pub­lic ser­vice. Pol­i­tics is never easy and he ex­pe­ri­enced it from ev­ery an­gle. But to­day, let’s think of the man, let’s think of his fam­ily.’’

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

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

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

Daoust pre­vi­ously worked for the fed­eral De­fence Depart­ment as well as the SNC Group be­fore go­ing on to the Na­tional Bank and the Lau­ren­tian Bank.

It was dur­ing his ten­ure as econ­omy min­is­ter that the prov­ince com­mit­ted to a US$1bil­lion in­vest­ment in Bom­bardier Inc. to help it com­plete the de­vel­op­ment of its CSeries jet.

His stint at the helm of the Trans­port Depart­ment was marked by the stormy Uber dossier, which saw the gov­ern­ment pass a law in 2016 reg­u­lat­ing the taxi in­d­dus­try.

Im­mi­gra­tion Min­is­ter Kath­leen Weil called her for­mer col­league “a re­ally bril­liant man who was able to find in­no­va­tive so­lu­tions.’’

“We will miss him,’’ she said in Montreal.

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