Clément Allard Archives The Canadian Press In May 2009, seated at the controls of a mechanical excavator, Jean Charest himself launched the work on the complex from La Romaine.
Created 14 years ago “great builder” by the Liberal Party of Quebec (PLQ), former Prime Minister Jean Charest will participate in the inauguration of the Romaine hydroelectric complex on Thursday, the same day his party takes a new step towards its reconstruction.
At the invitation of Hydro-Québec, Mr. Charest will be part of the delegation which will accompany Prime Minister François Legault and ministers of his government to the North Shore for the occasion.
This inauguration must highlight the completion of construction work on the last of the four power stations of the complex located on the Romaine River, near Havre-Saint-Pierre.
Jean Charest, now a lawyer, will participate in the event, said the McCarthy Tétrault firm, where he now works. “Mr. Charest will be present at the inauguration of the Romaine complex,” replied executive assistant Chaghig Torikian.
In May 2009, seated at the controls of a mechanical excavator, Mr. Charest had himself launched the work on the complex. This $6.5 billion project at the time, among the “largest in the world,” would change “the horizon of the North Shore,” he promised.
“We must not Don't be modest today, he said. On the radar screen of the global economy, this is good news. »
Two weeks later, during a general council of the PLQ, the activists inducted him into the pantheon of “great builders”.
- “After the Romaine” or imagining Quebec beyond the dams
On the cover page of a commemorative document, the photo of Mr. Charest appeared alongside those of his liberal predecessors Adélard Godbout, Jean Lesage and Robert Bourassa, who contributed to the development of hydroelectricity in Quebec.
Closing the general council, Mr. Charest acknowledged that he still had a way to go.
“It’s a challenge, it’s now my turn to leave my mark with my government,” he said.
Jean Charest announced during the event that the government was accelerating the preparation of a new hydroelectric dam project, planned on the Petit Mécatina river.
While Quebec found itself in a context of an electricity surplus, it intended this additional production, and that of Romaine, for export.
Subsequently shelved, the Petit project Mécatina returned to the news recently, with the Legault government wanting to relaunch the construction of large dams in the face of increased demand for electricity.
In addition to the PQ opposition, which mocked his title as a great builder, Mr. Charest was criticized by the editorialist André Pratte. In a text entitled “The great impostors”, published by La Presse, Mr. Pratt accused the Liberals of having mixed partisanship with the development of hydroelectricity.
The editorialist, who is now working on the reconstruction of the PLQ, particularly highlighted the work of PQ Prime Minister Bernard Landry.
“Bernard Landry therefore deserves, at least as much as his successor, the title of “great builder” of energy,” he wrote. In this matter, the Liberal leader simply took the plunge. »
Mr. Pratte affirmed that Mr. Charest should rather be judged in light of the results of the Plan Nord, an economic development initiative whose authorship is indisputable.
“Let us hope that the “North Plan” will soon take a form more concrete than the PowerPoint presentation to which he has limited himself until now,” he said.
Co-chair of the Committee on the revival of the PLQ, Mr. Pratt will present a report on Thursday which should be used to rebuild the political party, in decline since its 2018 defeat against Mr. Legault's Coalition Avenir Québec.
Among its proposals, the committee suggests the development of a Quebec constitution, which would allow liberals to assert their nationalism, reported Le Devoir recently.
Prime Minister from 2003 to 2012, Jean Charest was discreet about the situation in the PLQ. On the public stage, he bit the dust in September 2022 when he was defeated by Pierre Poilievre in the race for the leadership of the Conservative Party of Canada.
In April, the Superior Court of Quebec granted M . Charest compensation of $385,000 due to the leak to the media of personal information collected as part of the Mâchurer investigation by the Permanent Anti-Corruption Unit (UPAC).
With the fundraiser Marc Bibeau, Mr. Charest was one of the targets of this investigation into the financing of the PLQ. UPAC closed Mâchurer in March 2022 and no charges have been filed in this case.
According to extracts from Mâchurer documents published by Le Journal de Montréal, at At least three representatives of engineering firms affirmed that Mr. Bibeau was soliciting donations for the PLQ while suggesting that he could influence the awarding of Hydro-Québec contracts to companies in their sector.
Mr. Charest did not respond to an interview request from Devoir.