Quebec Tramway: a hot potato for the Caisse?

When it comes to transport projects, François Legault’s government is really not easy to follow.

After the “crazy” journey of the third Quebec-Lévis link, promised by François Legault during the election campaign, it was put on hold after her election and… against all expectations, revived after the CAQ’s recent defeat in the by-election in Jean-Talon , this time the CAQ leader plunges into the adventure of the future transport network for the city of Quebec.

To this end, the Prime Minister fired Quebec Mayor Bruno Marchand, who had recently decided to take the lead in the development of the famous tram project.

To hell with Mayor Marchand’s tram project, François Legault has asked the Caisse de dépôt etplacement to present him “the” best structuring project for the Quebec City transport network.

The CEO of the Caisse, Charles Émond, together with his experts from the subsidiary REM-Infra, have six months to present to the Legault government the transport project that appears most favorable for the old capital.

This suggests that Mr Legault has great confidence in the Caisse’s expertise in public transport. And the technical glitches the REM has encountered since it went into operation don’t worry him at all.

Damned! At this time, can the Prime Minister explain to us why he took the REM de l’Est de Montréal project out of the hands of Charles Émond and his REM infra experts and put it in charge of the Ministry of Transport?

What an inconsistency on the part of the Legault government! The government does not like the Montreal East REM project so much that the said project is withdrawn, but the same government considers that the Caisse is sufficiently competent to submit a supposedly structuring transport project for the city of Quebec.


Between a transport project developed under the influence of the City of Quebec and its dynamic mayor Bruno Marchand and a project developed by the Caisse subsidiary REM-Infra, that of the Quebec City Hall seems to me to be more financially suitable.

Just at the level of tenders that are carried out for rolling stock and the construction of infrastructure. With the City we would certainly see all major global companies submitting bids, each believing they had a real chance of winning contracts.

With the Caisse as a sponsor of the new transport project for the old capital, companies could forgo offering their services. For what? The Caisse itself is the main shareholder in two of the largest companies specializing in public transport, namely the multinational Alstom (owner of Bombardier Transport) and AtkinsRéalis (SNC-Lavalin).

As luck would have it, it turned out that it was these two large companies that won the most important REM contracts and are now also responsible for the day-to-day operation of the REM.

Why is the fund…

The implementation of a public transport project by the Caisse, as is the case with the REM, creates the impression that it costs the state less. Know that this is not the case.

First, the money the Caisse invested in the REM came from our savings (QPP, public servants’ pension plans, etc.) and from government coffers (Generation Funds, Treasury, etc.).

Second, the money that the two governments pumped into the REM states came from our taxes.

Thirdly, the 8% annual return that the Caisse will achieve on the REM will come from the financial contribution that the Government of Quebec (with our taxes) and the municipalities (with our taxes) must make annually in order to “become profitable make”. the REM from the fund!

Not the role of the fund

I insist and sign: The Fund’s mission is to grow the net assets of our $420 billion nest egg.

That it invests heavily in companies specializing in public transport infrastructure around the world… that is obviously part of its mandate as an investor.

But it is not his job to play the role of builder of public transport infrastructure, and even less to manage it on a daily basis as owner.

Les eaux seront plus agitees pour le Canadien lan prochain

Originally posted 2023-11-11 06:02:17.