Caisse PR chief's $355K pay too rich for PQ
The head of the public relations department at Quebec's largest pension fund is paid $355,000 a year, plus benefits, and the opposition Parti Québécois thinks that is just too much.
But the Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec defends paying that amount, saying Denis Couture could make more money elsewhere and they need his experience to help rebuild the fund's reputation after it lost $40 billion in 2008.
PQ spokesman Jean-Martin Aussant said Caisse management needs to look at why its communications department has three employees.
"I think they should really look seriously into that division and ask themselves if they really need that many people and such high salaries as well," Aussant said. But he fell just short of calling for Couture's resignation.
"I think they have too many people in the public relations and media and communications department at la Caisse," he said.
"They don't need good communications. They need good management and good choices in terms of investments. And I think — in this context of very strict public finances, when we're getting tax rates that are being higher — I think this decision is a clear lack of judgment," he said.
Aussant said he would like to see more supervision of the Caisse de dépôt by the government. But Liberal Premier Jean Charest said it is an independent institution.
He said the pension fund has an administrative board, whose job is to decide if Couture's salary is a good idea.