Caisse as ‘authority’
Re Caisse Readies For Fight Over Bombardier Trade Decision (Report on Business, Oct. 4): The U.S. Department of Commerce’s preliminary finding in the Boeing-Bombardier dispute that the Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec is an “authority” of the Quebec government has substantial merit.
In 2000, I was chairman of Rogers Communications when Ted Rogers agreed with André Chagnon, Vidéotron’s controlling shareholder, to merge the companies. Mr. Chagnon believed the path forward for his Quebec business was to form a national communications company to compete against Bell and other telcos.
Once the deal was announced, the Caisse intervened and met with the premier of Quebec. In negotiations to seek an accommodation, the Caisse demanded representation on the Rogers board of directors, and a right of first refusal on the controlling shares of Rogers Communications held by the Rogers family.
The latter point was non-negotiable, and I did not need confirmation from the family to reject it. Printer and publisher Pierre Karl Péledeau was then selected by the Quebec authorities to acquire the cable asset.
Financed by the Caisse, Vidéotron’s Quebec services were protected from Toronto control. Rogers Communications was paid a $241-million fee for the forced termination of its Vidéotron agreement.
Garfield Emerson, Toronto