The Quebec Liberal Party pledged Monday it would spend $1 billion so Quebec can become more active in foreign takeovers — in financing them abroad, and blocking them at home.
Leader Jean Charest and Liberal candidate Raymond Bachand, the incumbent finance minister, said that if elected, the party would create a billion-dollar fund to help Quebec companies buy properties outside the province, with a special focus on the mining sector and in emerging powerhouses like Brazil, Russia, India and China.
And echoing plans brought forward by two of their rival parties on the campaign trail, the Coalition Avenir Québec and the Parti Québécois, the Liberals also said they would make it harder for foreign companies to acquire Quebec ones. That would happen by allowing a company's board of directors to repel a hostile takeover bid if it deemed it to be against the interest of workers or the greater community.
Charest and Bachand offered scant details on how their takeover-blocking strategy would work, or through what mechanism it would be introduced. They told a news conference they were simply following the lead of nearly three-dozen U.S. states with similar anti-takeover rules.
The cross-party focus on thwarting foreign takeovers in Quebec is a timely subject given the attempted acquisition of the Rona hardware chain by the U.S. giant Lowe's.
Unlike the Liberals, the other parties have proposed creating multibillion-dollar funds within the Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec, the province's pension-fund management arm, to buy up shares in companies threatened with foreign takeovers.
The PQ would direct the Caisse to devote $10 billion of its $160 billion in assets to such a fund.
Quebecers vote Sept. 4.