Pierre Fitzgibbon: successes and failures

Hyperactive minister Pierre Fitzgibbon leaves no one indifferent. He knows his business like the back of his hand, but his closeness to business people annoys many Quebecers. We run the risk of presenting you with what we consider to be good and less good moves.

• Read also: Should we be afraid of Super Minister Fitzgibbon?

• Read also: Pierre Fitzgibbon: frontal attacks on the media

• Read also: Pierre Fitzgibbon: a minister with elastic ethics

His good moves


Together with his federal counterpart, François-Philippe Champagne, Pierre Fitzgibbon has stepped up efforts to attract investment to Quebec in the electric vehicle sector, which will be critical to the economy of tomorrow. Despite fierce international competition in this niche, he helped General Motors, BASF and Sayona, among others, decide to establish themselves in Quebec. Ford may follow this year.


Minister Fitzgibbon had cause for celebration on April 29, 2022, when he announced the opening of the Moderna plant in Montreal.

Photo courtesy of Chantal Poirier

Minister Fitzgibbon had cause for celebration on April 29, 2022, when he announced the opening of the Moderna plant in Montreal.

After a bitter fight with Ontario, Quebec convinced the American pharmaceutical company Moderna to open its Canadian vaccine manufacturing plant in Laval. This $180 million investment, with a $25 million government bailout, will create 75 jobs and bolster Quebec’s life sciences sector, which has been struggling for several years.


The 2020 COVID-19 pandemic caught Minister Fitzgibbon by surprise as his files suddenly faded into the background. However, the business community as a whole appreciated his efforts to help companies weather the storm. The Ministry of Economy’s flagship measure, the PACTE program, provided over $1.2 billion in loans and loan guarantees to 1,479 companies in about 18 months.


Two weeks after the Department of Energy was added to his responsibilities, Pierre Fitzgibbon announced on Twitter that the government wants to remove the 270 megawatt block of electricity reserved for blockchain (cryptocurrency) projects. In doing so, the minister sent a very clear message to the sector, which loves clean and affordable energy in Quebec but creates very few jobs.

His worst hits


Since taking office, Pierre Fitzgibbon has made this American-born tool his go-to tool for helping companies. Some of these loans are non-repayable if the recipient meets certain conditions. Two projects funded by such loans never saw the light of day (MDA and Mitsubishi), while others were controversial (Sonder and Alstom). It’s too early to talk about others.


When he took office in 2018, the CAQ promised to better protect head offices. Four years later, it is far from clear whether the goal has been achieved. Pierre Fitzgibbon has set up a fund for this purpose, but so far his investments seem poorly targeted: Lightspeed, LMPG, Coveo and Olymel. And according to a compilation done last year by Le Journal, the number of Quebec companies sold to foreign investors continues to rise.


In 2019, Pierre Fitzgibbon stunned many Quebecers by announcing a $30 million investment in the French Flying Whales project. The following year, Ottawa put a spoke in the wheels of Flying Whales with the presence of Chinese aviation firm AVIC. After the latter withdrew from the project, Mr. Fitzgibbon decided last year to reinvest $53.5 million in the project, which is $75.5 million today.


Pierre Fitzgibbon makes no secret of his tendency to take a close interest in the affairs of his ministry. In 2021, he was criticized by the Auditor General for using his discretion to allow at least 10 companies to receive PACTE assistance totaling $68 million, even if they did not meet all the criteria. To date, the minister still refuses to name the 10 companies.

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