Quebec Liberals join economic nationalism stampede; promise takeover rules - InfoNews

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Quebec Liberals join economic nationalism stampede; promise takeover rules

Quebec Liberal Party Leader Jean Charest responds to questions at a news conference on a farm in Saint-François-de-la-Rivière-du-Sud Que., Monday, August 13, 2012. Candidates, from the left, Raymond Bachand and Norbert Morin look on. Quebecers are going to the polls on Sept. 4. THE CANADIAN PRESS/ Jacques Boissinot
August 13, 2012 - 12:58 PM

MONTREAL - The Charest Liberals say they want to become more active in foreign takeovers — in financing them abroad, and blocking them at home.

The governing party says that if it's re-elected it would create a $1 billion fund to help Quebec companies buy properties outside the province, with a special focus on the mining sector and in emerging powerhouses like Brazil, Russia, India and China.

The Liberals also want to create conditions to make it harder for foreign companies to acquire Quebec ones.

They say they would allow a company's board of directors to repel a hostile takeover bid if they deem it to be against the interest of workers, or the greater community.

At a news conference today, Premier Jean Charest and Finance Minister Raymond Bachand offered scant details on how their takeover-blocking strategy would work, or through what mechanism it would be introduced. They said they were simply following the lead of nearly three-dozen U.S. states with similar anti-takeover rules.

All three major parties in this election have proposed rules to thwart foreign takeovers in Quebec, a timely subject given the attempted acquisition of the Rona hardware chain (TSX:RON) by the U.S. giant Lowe's.

Unlike the Liberals, the other parties propose creating multibillion-dollar funds within the Caisse de depot pension-fund manager to buy up shares in companies threatened with foreign takeovers.

The Parti Quebecois, which is leading in the polls, would direct the Caisse to devote $10 billion, from its $160 billion in overall assets, to such a fund.

Quebecers vote Sept. 4.

News from © The Canadian Press, 2012
The Canadian Press

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