Rona Scandal Finally Brings Quebec Transport Minister Daoust’s Resignation

Only a few hours after the bitter remarks of Premier Philippe Couillard, Quebec’s Transport Minister Jacques Daoust announced not only to have resign from his position but also to quit politics on Friday. The premier had insinuated that he no longer had full confidence in the minister.

68-year-old Daoust was facing increasing criticism for over a few months over his alleged role in authorizing the sale of a Quebec hardware chain to American giant Lowe’s while he was the province’s economy minister. According to Daoust, he didn’t know about Investissement Quebec’s decision to sell its shares in Rona, however several emails obtained by TVA suggest that the vice-president of the provincial investment agency had been given the go-ahead from Daoust’s former chief of staff in 2014. There was growing criticism from the members of the opposition who called for his resignation and accused him of having lied to the public.

Upon inquiry about having confidence in Daoust, Couillard replied that he wanted answers to the “serious questions” that had been raised about the Rona sale. He alleged that “serious questions have been asked,” adding that “they are important to me and they need to be answered very quickly.” Appointed transport minister in January, Daoust mentioned in a statement announcing his resignation that he did not know about the Rona sale but didn’t want to be a distraction to the government. He mentioned that “it’s clear that, although I have…always told the absolute truth, the file that concerns the Rona shares has become a distraction that overshadows the fulfilment of our government’s plan.”        

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