Dead silence among the shareholders of Panier Bleu

Le Panier Bleu has been on life support since the announcement of his imminent death by Quebec on Tuesday. The company’s shareholders – Investissement Québec, Desjardins and Fonds FTQ – maintain a deafening silence and refuse to reveal the rest.

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“We will make a decision [sur notre avenir] in the coming weeks,” Le Panier Bleu simply declared via an agency on Tuesday, regarding the bombshell dropped by Pierre Fitzgibbon.

The Minister of the Economy had just declared the death of the Panier Bleu live on national radio. The transactional site has “reached completion” and a decision on its future “will be made in the coming days,” he said.

All of Quebec has understood that the carrots are cooked and that the company’s 25 employees must think about their future. No way of knowing, moreover, if they were warned of their fate, because the leaders of the Blue Basket are in hiding.

Investissement Québec, which paid $12 million for less than 30% of the transactional site in September 2022, did not even respond to the Newspaper Tuesday.

At the Ministry of the Economy, we are told that discussions with the leaders of Panier Bleu are confidential. The fate of the 25 employees is not up to the state, it is said.

For Desjardins, which put $4 million in the Blue Basket in 2022, it is “premature” to comment on the situation. At the FTQ Fund, which put in $5 million, we are being told the same refrain as elsewhere.

Ah, Amazon, how beautiful you are

Often mocked, rarely used, the Panier Bleu was to be the place where all SMEs in Quebec sell their products online without going through Amazon.

The project was presented as such by Pierre Fitzgibbon himself in April 2020. Four million dollars in subsidies later, the failure was bitter and the site was “privatized”, even if the shadow of the minister still weighs on the balance.

François Legault’s star player went so far as to say on Tuesday that Amazon is a “very good platform where many Quebec companies want to be.”

The irony of these praises of the no1 in the world of online commerce did not escape the economic spokesperson of the Liberals in Quebec.

“It was already a good platform in 2020. They are throwing money out the window in patents that they know very well that they will not be able to manage,” said Frédéric Beauchemin, in an interview with Newspaperabout the Blue Basket.

This is the same Pierre Fitzgibbon, adds the liberal, who, just a few months after the birth of the Blue Basket, was already increasing efforts to bring Quebec SMEs closer to Amazon.


The minister’s murderous comment on Tuesday came a few hours after the announcement of the partnership between Les Produits du Québec and Amazon.

The “made in Quebec” certification NPO allows its members to shine at the largest online retailer in the world thanks to its distinctive logo which is now visible on the site. Les Produits du Québec even have their own page.

Amazon rolled out the red carpet to around thirty guests on Monday in Montreal, during the announcement of its partnership with Les Produits du Québec.

photo julien mcevoy

The question when the partnership was announced on Monday was whether it was an admission of weakness by the Panier Bleu. Without saying it, Pierre Fitzgibbon answered yes on Tuesday morning.

The rest promises to be difficult. All our sources confirm that Panier Bleu has already burned through its $22 million from September 2022 and will need new liquidity to survive.

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