Crown corporation Legault wants to “finally” abolish bonuses

Prime Minister François Legault wants to “finally” scrap bonuses given to directors and employees of state-owned companies like SAQ and Loto-Québec, which Québec solidaire parliamentary leader Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois says is “indecent”.

• Also read: The bonus rain continues at SAQ and Loto-Québec

• Also read: Charles Emond’s $6.3 million compensation is ‘decent’

“In certain cases of state-owned companies, I would prefer that we abolish the bonuses at some point,” the chief caquist replied to the Blue Room on Wednesday in response to a question from his supporting counterpart.

However, since those bonuses are subject to contract clauses, “we can’t throw that in the trash overnight,” Mr Legault recalled.

At the Société des alcools du Québec (SAQ), 600 employees will again distribute “around 9 million dollars” in bonuses this year, confirmed the CEO of the state-owned company, Catherine Dagenais, on Tuesday when examining the budget.

Loto-Québec managers and employees will receive additional payments totaling $4 million to $5 million.

“These bonuses are an insult to families who are struggling to make it to the end of the month,” denounces Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois.

Québec solidaire co-spokesman says it’s “indecent” that we’re “breaking champagne” at certain state-owned companies in the midst of a “historic inflationary crisis.”

“There are some who are not embarrassed,” he denounced in a press conference.

“On the question of bonuses, this year […] I really would have embarrassed myself a little bit,” for her part, Liberal leader Dominique Anglade reiterated.

An exception for the CDPQ?

In the House of Representatives, Mr. Nadeau-Dubois pointed out that the Caisse de depot et placement du Québec’s CEO, Charles Emond, alone makes “more money” (a record $6.3 million in compensation last year) than all members of the Caisse the Council of Ministers. “It has to stop,” said the Gouin MP, shouting to the prime minister.

As for the Caisse de depot, Mr. Legault found it normal that the most senior executive should be offered compensation “comparable” to that granted in the past. This is the price to pay “to have a quality leader”, he suggested, recalling that the earnings for Quebecers’ wool stockings had been there.

PQ Group leader Martin Ouellet also finds it abnormal that SAQ employees are being offered bonuses while the price of bottles is being increased for consumers. “It’s a premium as usual. It is open bar‘ he wailed.

“Are those famous variable pay still right for public service in monopoly markets? I’m not convinced,” commented Mr Ouellet, who wants to make it a campaign issue.

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