CAQ recruits banking exec Eric Girard, touting him as next finance minister
The CAQ has recruited a long-time banking executive who leader Francois Legault said has all the skills to become Quebec’s next finance minister.
Eric Girard announced Monday he is running in Groulx, a riding just north of Laval. With over 25 years of experience in the fields of investment and financial markets, Legault calls the strong new candidate on his team an "economic heavyweight."
Girard has had a long career at the National Bank, most recently as the senior vice president of corporate treasury. He left the job last Friday, just ahead of Monday's announcement.
Girard has studied at both McGill and UQAM, and has a Master’s degree in economics.
No stranger to politics, Girard ran for the Conservative Party in the West Island riding of Lac-Saint-Louis in the 2015 federal election campaign.
After listing Girard's credentials, Legault told reporters on Monday that he can't imagine anyone more competent to manage the Quebec government's investments on international markets.
In Quebec City, Premier Philippe Couillard was talking about the Quebec economy to a business crowd, giving a speech and taking questions in front of the Quebec Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
Without specifically mentioning Legault or the CAQ, Couillard made some subtle digs at their policy proposals – for example their plan to reduce immigration levels, which Couillard said that would hurt Quebec's economic growth.
While Legault may be promoting Girard, Couillard said Liberal Finance Minister Carlos Leitao is still the man for the job.
“When you have a winning team on the ice, you don't change the team. You keep the same team. You make it better - you do some trades, you do some improvements - but you keep the same team on the ice. We have probably one of the best finance ministers ever in Quebec, one of the best in Canada today, so why change? Look at what we've achieved. Look at how the world now looks at Quebec, which is vastly different from what it was in 2014,” he said.
The latest Leger poll shows the CAQ is still leading in the polls with 35 per cent support, compared to 26 per cent for the Liberals.