April 8, 2009 / 2:55 PM / in 9 years

Quebec finance minister to leave politics

OTTAWA (Reuters) - Quebec Finance Minister Monique Jerome-Forget announced on Wednesday that she was resigning and would leave politics, less than a month after bringing down the Canadian province’s first major deficit budget in more than a decade.

Jerome-Forget -- who had been in the job for two years -- came under heavy pressure earlier this year over record losses at Caisse de depot et placement du Quebec, Canada’s biggest pension fund manager.

“I am leaving in a calm manner. I will rediscover my family, my grandchildren, my daughter, my husband -- all the people I love dearly and who have supported me,” she told a televised news conference in Quebec City.

French-language public broadcaster Radio-Canada said a new finance minister would be named later on Wednesday.

The province’s Liberal government said last month that the worsening global crisis meant it would run budget deficits for the next four years. Critics accused Jerome-Forget of not doing enough to cope with the recession.

They also blamed her for problems at the Caisse, which lost C$39.8 billion in 2008 -- a quarter of its value. She denied opposition accusations that the Liberals had pushed the fund to make risky investments in a bid to boost returns.

($1=$1.24 Canadian)

Reporting by David Ljunggren; editing by Peter Galloway

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