Fitzgibbon acknowledges Michael Sabia's credibility

Fitzgibbon acknowledges Michael Sabia's credibility

Fitzgibbon acknowledges the credibility ; by Michael Sabia

Graham Hughes The Canadian Press Michael Sabia, during an address to business people in Montreal, November 28, 2019, when he was the p.- d.g. of the Caisse de depot et placement du Québec.

The Minister of Economy and Energy, Pierre Fitzgibbon, on Wednesday recognized the credibility of Michael Sabia, approached for an appointment as President and CEO of Hydro-Québec.

M. Fitzgibbon, however, refrained from confirming that Mr. Sabia will succeed Sophie Brochu as head of the state-owned company.

“He is credible because of his background, he said before participating in a meeting of the CAQ caucus. But we won't talk about that today. We will wait, there will be an appointment at the appropriate time. »

Premier François Legault also remained stingy with comments when questioned about the possible appointment of Mr. Sabia, who was president and CEO of the Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec (CDPQ) from 2009 to 2020.

Lack of audacity

“We should have an announcement to make next week for the presidency of Hydro-Quebec,” he said before heading to the Blue Room for question period.

The Parti Québécois claimed that the appointment of Mr. Sabia would demonstrate the government's lack of audacity in the context of energy transition.

“The Liberals liked him a lot, the caquists like him as much,” said the MP Pascal Berube. Ontarian Michael Sabia has a remarkable career in the financial field. »

Mr. Bérubé claimed that Mr. Legault and his minister Bernard Drainville had criticized Mr. Sabia's appointment to the CDPQ when they were both in the PQ caucus.

“François Legault too, on several occasions , asked liberals, “why are you appointing that person who is anything but a nationalist?” So, more and more, those who think that the CAQ has replaced the Parti Québécois, no, the CAQ has replaced the Liberal Party,” Mr. Bérubé said.

In an open letter published in 2009 by Le Devoir, Mr. Drainville accused the Liberals of making a “historic error” in appointing Mr. Sabia to the CDPQ.

“By appointing a notorious federalist, an influential former member of the Privy Council of Canada and a former member of the Canadian Unity Council, Jean Charest consolidates the influence of those who do not want a too strong Quebec, he wrote. Who want him small, docile, resigned to his provincialist condition. »

On Wednesday, Mr. Drainville swept past reporters after exiting the building where the Prime Minister's offices are located. “He did a great job at the Caisse de depot,” he said of Mr. Sabia.

Liberals have expressed concern about the independence that Mr. Sabia will be able to have to deal with the government's ambitions for Hydro-Quebec, which raised objections from Ms. Brochu.

“I don't want someone at the mercy of the Minister of the Economy,” said MP Monsef Derraji. It is very serious what is happening in terms of energy in Quebec. »

Mr. Sabia served as CN's Chief Financial Officer when the railroad was privatized and later transformed into a public company. He began his career at the federal Department of Finance, then as Deputy Secretary to the Cabinet at the Privy Council in Ottawa. In December 2020, Mr. Sabia was appointed Deputy Minister of Finance by the federal government. He previously led Bell Canada from 2002 to 2008.

More details will follow.