The coronavirus crisis is giving Quebec’s nationalist government an excuse to attempt what may be impossible.
The Canadian province is embarking on an uphill battle to chip away at Amazon.com’sition. Reckoning that weeks of confinement will permanently accelerate the growth of online shopping, Premier Francois Legault wants to boost Quebec retailers’ digital sales, and is urging the population of 8.5 million to buy from local firms.
His government took a first step by building an online directory of retailers called Le Panier Bleu — or Blue Basket, a reference to the color of the French-speaking province’s flag. To run it, the government recruited a board including the former president of Lowe’s Cos. Inc. in Canada and Alexandre Taillefer, a private equity partner who years ago floated the idea of a Quebec response to Amazon’s dominance.