07/04/2013 04:22 EDT | Updated 09/03/2013 05:12 EDT

Liberals accuse PQ over partisan choice of Scraire at Investissement Quebec

QUEBEC - The Quebec Liberals accused the PQ government Thursday of making a partisan choice by naming Jean-Claude Scraire as board chairman of Investissement Quebec in order to advance its controversial project to create the Quebec Economic Development Bank.

Liberal provincial member Sam Hamad didn't challenge the competence of the former head of the provincial pension fund manager, the Caisse de depot, but noted the appointment follows the government's decision last month to replace Jacques Daoust as president of Investissement Quebec after he criticized the bank project.

The PQ has proposed to replace Investissement Quebec with the Economic Development Bank and merge all of its business assistance programs and venture capital funds under one entity.

Hamad said Scraire's appointment signals that the minority government wants to move ahead with the agency's transformation despite the refusal of the opposition parties to support the legislation.

Quebec's third-largest party, the Coalition avenir Quebec, said that while Scraire is close to the Parti Quebecois, his appointment can't be considered partisan given his qualifications.

CAQ critic Stephane Le Bouyonnec said Scraire could be mandated to prepare for the bank's creation by ministerial decree instead of legislation.

In Montreal, Premier Pauline Marois created a parallel between the choice of Scraire and Mario Albert, who replaced Daoust.

"We believe that the arrival of Mr. Scraire will complete this remarkable team that takes over, even if its predecessor did its job well," she told reporters.