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Jean Charest earned nearly $70,000 in two months at CN

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Former Quebec premier Jean Charest pocketed just under $70,000 in compensation during his brief stint as a director of Canadian National Railway (CN).

Charest was appointed a director in early 2022, but resigned two months later to run unsuccessfully for the leadership of the Conservative Party of Canada. In total, he received $68,987 in compensation during his time at CN, according to regulatory documents released by the company.

The rail carrier also disclosed the language skills of its director nominees. Three of the 11 nominees are fluent in French.

Last year, Montreal-based CN was criticized for not having French-speaking directors after Charest left the company.

Innergex president and CEO Michel Letellier, who took office last October, is the only director whose first language is French. Directors Susan Jones and Justin Howel are bilingual.

President and CEO Tracy Robinson, who has committed to learning French when she took office in February 2022, has not listed fluency in French as a qualification.

Robinson received a total compensation package of $13.7 million in 2022.

Earlier in March, CN announced its registration with the Office québécois de la langue française (OQLF) under Bill 96, which came into effect last year. The carrier had said its discussions with the OQLF in recent months were aimed at finding a way to reconcile the obligations under the federal law with CN's willingness to voluntarily register with the OQLF.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published in French on March 23, 2023. 

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