Christian Dubé leaves Caisse de dépôt to run for CAQ

His candidacy for the Coalition Avenir Québec was officially announced Monday morning in the La Prairie riding on Montreal’s South Shore, where he'll be running.

His candidacy was officially announced Monday morning in the La Prairie riding

CAQ Leader François Legault, left, embraces Christian Dubé during a campaign stop in La Prairie, Que., Monday, Sept. 3, 2018. Dubé is returning to the CAQ fold after stepping down in 2014 to take a position at the Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec. (Graham Hughes/Canadian Press)

Christian Dubé, senior vice-president of Quebec's Caisse de dépôt et placement since 2014, is leaving his position and returning to provincial politics as a candidate for the Coalition Avenir Québec.

Dubé's candidacy was officially announced Monday morning in the La Prairie riding on Montreal's South Shore, where he'll be running.

He said one of the challenges will be to prove to people in the riding that he is worthy of their vote.

"I think I can make a difference for them. I just need to understand what are the challenges specific to this town," he said.

Dubé left politics in 2014, months after he was re-elected to a seat in the Lévis riding, to take the position at the Caisse. He waived the severance pay to which he was entitled as an MNA when he stepped down.

He said it was a good decision to make, but he repeated numerous times that he was happy to be back in the CAQ fold.

​Dubé said if he is elected, he will stay on for his full term, regardless of how the party does province-wide.

Legault was present for Dubé's debut Monday and seemed pleased about his return.

"Christian, even more than before, knows all the economic players in Quebec very well. That's a big advantage," said Legault.

A hockey fan, Legault said on Sunday that having Dubé rejoin his ranks was akin to putting NHL players Alex Ovechkin, Sidney Crosby Nikita Kucherov and Connor McDavid on the same team.

They are all very good hockey players.​

Dubé represented the CAQ in the Lévis riding for the 2012 and 2014 elections. He won the seat both times with about 40 per cent of the vote. (Jacques Boissinot/Canadian Press)

La Praire is by no means a stronghold for any party — since 1973, it's been held by the Liberals, Parti Québécois, the now-defunct Action Démocratique du Québec and the CAQ.

Party leaders react

CAQ president Stéphane LeBouyonnec was originally going to run in the riding, but withdrew amid controversy last week.

Parti Québécois Leader Jean-François Lisée criticized Dubé for his involvement, through his work at the Caisse, in the construction of the REM light rail trains. They are being built in India, rather than locally.

"He has a responsibility in one of the biggest economic mistakes in recent years in Quebec," Lisée said.

Legault had also previously criticized the fact that the trains won't be built in Quebec, leading some to wonder whether that will cause friction between the leader and his candidate.

But Legault told reporters Monday that his issue was less with the Caisse's decision and more with the fact that the Liberal government didn't step in to request that the Caisse consider building the trains in Quebec.

Liberal Leader Philippe Couillard was less critical of the choice.

"It will be fascinating to see [Dubé's] coexistence with the party," Couillard said Sunday, suggesting that there are other issues on which Dubé and the CAQ will not see eye-to-eye.

"There will be questions to answer about the Caisse's independence. During the mandate, the CAQ regularly attacked the Caisse's independence."

With files from Radio-Canada's Joëlle Girard

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