Montreal

Quebec Liberals turn to taxi mogul Alexandre Taillefer to run re-election campaign

In a tweet, the Montreal entrepreneur confirmed he will be the provincial Liberals' campaign chair, saying he can relate to party leader Philippe Couillard’s “progressive views.”

But Montreal entrepreneur has no intention of stepping down from roles that tie him to government

Alexandre Taillefer founded Téo Taxi, an app-based service that uses only electric cars. He will will replace former premier Daniel Johnson as chair of the Liberals' election campaign. (Ryan Remiorz/Canadian Press)

High-profile Quebec entrepreneur Alexandre Taillefer has confirmed he will chair the Liberals' re-election campaign, saying he can relate to Liberal Leader Philippe Couillard's "progressive views."

In a tweet, he said it wasn't an easy decision, but he felt it necessary because of what's at stake.

On Monday, Taillefer said he wouldn't be running in the Oct. 1 election but did say he would get involved in some way.

"It's a good way for me to get involved in politics. It's a good way for me to talk about the future of Quebec, to talk about the topics that are important to me," said Taillefer. 

"I'm part of a party that has been around for 151 years, has been able to reinvent itself, and that's what I want to do. I want to make sure we can reinvent the Liberal Party."

He said he doesn't believe the role creates a conflict with his businesses.

"I will be in a position where I will be scrutinized more than ever, and the last thing I want is that people perceive something that might introduce a conflict of interest."

He will replace former premier Daniel Johnson, who held the same position during the 2014 election.

Couillard praised Taillefer as a man who is "part of today's Quebec" and said he will be a positive addition to the team.

"A young man who made his own business, who has been also socially very forceful in his points of view, fits very well with our party, which mixes economic development and social justice," the premier said.

And while Taillefer has previously said he was proud not to be affiliated with any political parties, Couillard said clearly, something has prompted him to change his mind.

Taillefer founded Téo Taxi, an app-based service that uses only electric cars, and bought out two of the main traditional taxi companies that operate in Montreal as well. 

He built his fortune in the early 2000s in information technology. He owns Mishmash Media, which in turn owns the French-language current affairs magazine L'actualité and the French-language cultural magazine Voir.

He is managing partner of XPND Capital, a private equity firm, served as a dragon on Radio-Canada's version of the Dragons' Den television series, and sits on a number of boards of Montreal institutions.

According to Radio-Canada, Taillefer doesn't intend to quit any positions that have ties to the government, including his role as head of the Musée d'art contemporain de Montréal's board of trustees, because he isn't running for office.

Couillard echoed that sentiment, saying many people have chaired campaigns and didn't have to divest themselves of their various other interests.

With files from Sean Henry

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