August 22, 2013
At the 65th Institute of Public Administration of Canada National Annual Conference, from August 18 to 21, 2013, in Montreal, Full Professor Danielle Morin (Accounting) and HEC Montréal alumnus Sarah Megas (Trilingual BBA, 2009) received the Prix Roland-Parenteau for their article entitled “Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec : Je me souviens…” The award has been presented since 1992 to the author(s) of the best article in French appearing in the bilingual Administration publique du Canada/Canadian Public Administration journal in the previous year.
The authors look at the calamitous performance of the Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec in 2008, when it posted a net loss of $40 billion and a negative return of 25%, i.e. 6.5 points less than the benchmark return of negative 18.5%. They show that contributing to Quebec’s economic development was not only the Caisse’s raison d’être, but also its primary mandate, and that this noble mission was defended by subsequent governments up to the early 2000s. They argue that the collapse of the Caisse was precipitated by revolutionary actions, in the sense described by Kahn (2006), taken by the executive directors of the Caisse and the Charest government in the years prior to this debacle. The authors show that by 2008 the Caisse had become primarily an investment fund manager designed to yield profits for its depositors. The downfall of the Caisse eloquently illustrates, in their view, a drawback of market logic when “shamelessly applied to the administration of public funds.”
Professor Morin (Ph. D., MBA, CPA, CA), holder of the Roland Chagnon Professorship in Auditing, has been with HEC Montréal since 1995. She specializes in auditing (private and public sectors), and her research concerns specifically legislative auditors in supreme audit institutions such as the Auditor Generals of Canada and Quebec, the Cour des comptes in France, etc. This is the second time she has won the Prix Roland-Parenteau, as she received this distinction in 2001 for an article based on her doctoral thesis, entitled “La vie après une mission de vérification de l’optimisation des ressources : le point de vue des gestionnaires.”
Sarah Megas is currently pursuing her studies toward a Master Carrières judiciaires et juridiques degree at Sciences Po, in Paris. She has also studied law at the Université Paris I Panthéon-Sorbonne. She was a research assistant in accounting at HEC Montréal for over three years.