Do not look for the “Made in Quebec” logo on the large exterior glass panels of the 26 stations of the Metropolitan Express Network (REM), the flagship project of the Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec (CDPQ). Rather, it was a manufacturer from Abu Dhabi who was chosen, leaving behind a Quebec company with more than 60 years of experience, learned The newspaper.
The contract for the design and manufacture of the glass panels was awarded to Emirates Glass, a company founded in 1998 in the United Arab Emirates.
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“It’s a decision that surprised everyone. We are always told about the blue basket, so we found it special, ”said a source who knows the sector well.
At least one Quebec company, the manufacturer Prelco, was in the running. The disappointment is still palpable within the company founded in 1954 in Rivière-du-Loup.
“That we lost the contract is one thing, but that it is not a Canadian or Quebec company, it is frustrating. The Caisse de dépôt et placement, as far as I know, is our money. After the wagons made in India, I must say that it stuck with me. There is no political will to promote local purchasing, ”said Sylvain Maillet, technical director at Prelco.
From the early days of the REM, Prelco collaborated on the project by submitting glass samples.
“I was asked for two years, but in the end, they decided to go for a product equivalent in performance, but not in appearance. For a question of price, it went to the United Arab Emirates, ”explained Mr. Maillet.
According to him, this contract would have had a major impact for the company which has already worked on various projects, notably at the CN Tower in Toronto.
“It could represent ten million dollars just for us,” he said.
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Called on to comment on the matter, CDPQ Infra affirms that the contract for the glass panels was awarded by the consortium to a Laval company, Vitreco, owned by the Ontario group Flynn. And it was this group that decided to turn to the supplier from the United Arab Emirates. The Caisse also points out that a Quebec subcontractor, plani-Verre, was chosen for the interior glazed elements.
“We want as much Quebec content as possible. In this regard, approximately 86% of the contracts awarded for the REM project were signed with Quebec companies and almost 97% with Canadian companies, ”said Jean-Vincent Lacroix, of CDPQ Infra.
-The company was founded in 1954 in Rivière-du-Loup and has 650 employees.
-The group is notably a supplier to Bombardier.
-Prelco works in the sectors of architecture, transport and defense.