Sunday, November 23, 2008

Charest claims beleaguered pension fund can weather economic downturn

MONTREAL — A financial tempest continued to swirl around the provincial elections on Saturday as the Liberal campaign was buffeted by accusations it is hiding massive projected losses at Quebec's Caisse de depot et placement.

Premier Jean Charest, in Levis to discuss the financial framework of the Liberal plan, had to stave off questions from journalists on the performance of the province's pension-fund manager.

The Liberal leader's $1.5 billion worth of promises and a pledge to maintain a balanced budget over the next five years were overshadowed by the controversy surrounding the embattled agency and by attacks from his main opponents.

"(The PQ and the ADQ) are attacking the credibility of the institution and that's unacceptable," he said.

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