The Liberals' three economic amigos

Anthony Abbondanza
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Liberals get star candidates to run in Robert-Baldwin, Nelligan and Verdun ridings respectively

Liberal Party leader Philippe Couillard meets with Jacques Daoust (left) Martin Coiteux, and Carlos Leitao (right) before yesterday’s announcement.

The Liberal Party of Quebec announced Thursday morning at Place Victoria their economic trio of Carlos Leitao, Martin Coiteux, and Jacques Daoust – all of impressive financial stature.

The star candidates didn’t take too long to criticise the provincial government’s economic record.

Most notably, Leitao called Quebec’s economy “very weak and precarious” compared to the rest of Canada and the United States, while Coiteux added that a “morose climate had been established” and that “private investments had stopped growing.”

Anyone of these three could possibly become the finance minister or critic, depending on the outcome of the April 7 election.

So, who are these financially-sophisticated men, all new to the political world?

Carlos Leitao

Running in the riding of Robert-Baldwin to replace the departing Pierre Marsan, Leitao is entering the world of politics as a highly-reputable Canadian economist of the last 30 years.

During his latest stint as the Laurentian Bank’s chief economist, Leitao was anointed the second best economist in the world by Bloomberg in 2008.

The Liberals added the star candidate because of his extensive knowledge of Canadian economic issues and business sectors across North America.

Although his Robert-Baldwin Liberal Riding Association didn’t get a voice in the selection, Peter Prassas is rather pleased with the selection.

“I think he’ll be good for the party. I like the way he speaks. He’s going to be good for our riding,” said Prassas, president of the riding association.

Prassas met Leitao days prior to Thursday’s announcement, and said the candidate may be fit for the role of finance minister.

Indeed, the former Dollard des Ormeaux resident has the financial pedigree to right Quebec’s economic woes. Leitao regularly meets with federal and provincial financial officials, as well as contributes to the budget preparation process of the federal and provincial governments of British Columbia.

Martin Coiteux

Running in the riding of Nelligan to replace the departing Yolande James, Coiteux is a noted economist and researcher.

After 10 years of teaching at HEC Montréal, where he was an associate professor in the department of international business, Coiteux joined the Bank of Canada in 2012 as a senior consultant.

While he may lack the star quality of both Leitao and Daoust to become a possible candidate for the role of finance minister, he’s considered as a notable Quebec economist.

Nevertheless, Philippe Voisard, president of the Nelligan Liberal Riding Association, welcomed his arrival to provincial politics even though he had yet to meet Coiteux.

“He looks like a good guy…If the members of the association like him, then we’ll support him fully,” he said.

Voisard, who had come to learn of Coiteux’ nomination just days before Thursday’s announcement, said the association will meet with the candidate next week.

“He’s a guy in business. He wants to work hard for the people,” said Voisard.

Jacques Daoust

Running in Verdun, Jacques Daoust brings a wealth of experience from the world of finance.

The Verdun-native is entering politics following a lengthy stint as president and CEO of Investissement Quebec, an organization whose mission is to foster the growth of investment and job creation in Quebec.

He left the organization last year after putting the finishing touches to Investissement Quebec’s merger with Societe Generale de Financement.

Adding several senior managerial roles with Canada’s Department of National Defence, National Bank of Canada, Laurentian Bank and others to his resume, Daoust is the likely frontrunner for the minister of finance role, or critic –dependent on the outcome of the election.

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Organizations: Liberal Party of Quebec, Laurentian Bank, Bloomberg National Bank of Canada Robert-Baldwin Liberal Riding Association Investissement Quebec Nelligan Liberal Riding Association Societe Generale de Financement Department of National Defence

Geographic location: Quebec, Verdun, Canada United States North America British Columbia

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