$1.8 billion to support Quebecers and restart the economy

 

 12 November 2020

As Québec is being hit by the second wave of the pandemic, the government is continuing its actions to support Quebecers, strengthen our health care system and restart the economy. The Update on Québec’s Economic and Financial Situation presented today by the Minister of Finance, Eric Girard, outlines additional measures totalling $1.8 billion over three years to continue supporting Quebecers and restart the economy. These new initiatives bring to nearly $13 billion the amount invested by the government since March to deal with the historic economic and public health crisis Québec is currently going through.

Additional funding to support Quebecers and our economy

In addition to the actions taken since March 2020, the government is announcing an additional $287 million to support Quebecers and our economy. This includes $100 million that will be invested to address mental health problems by providing better access to support services,
among other things.

In addition, new initiatives totalling $117 million will help support vulnerable population groups, provide safe subsidized childcare services, and ensure that educational settings are better adapted to the current context and to distance learning.

An additional $60 million in support for the tourism sector was also announced today, in particular to offset the impact of the pandemic on tourist accommodations.

When adding the amounts granted since the June snapshot, the government has provided a total of $5.9 billion to support Quebecers and our economy during the crisis.

An additional $1.5 billion for economic recovery

While the majority of investments to date have been allocated to managing the crisis, the government is now presenting concrete actions totalling $1.5 billion over three years to accelerate economic recovery. Of this amount, $459 million will go to initiatives aimed at
helping Quebecers get back into the labour market by focusing on requalification, training and graduation.

The government is also providing $477 million to drive economic growth by accelerating business investment projects, fostering innovative initiatives and supporting regional economic development. Additional investments of $300 million will also be used to enhance the Plan for a Green Economy and $247 million will be invested to promote Québec production and buying locally.

These actions are in addition to several investments provided ahead of schedule in the 2020-2030 Québec Infrastructure Plan (QIP), as announced in May. The plan now provides for investments of up to $13.9 billion for 2020-2021, instead of $11.0 billion as originally planned. This initiative will have a financial impact of more than $300 million over three years.

The new initiatives announced today bring the government’s contribution to economic recovery to $1.8 billion since March.

Since June, $1.3 billion to manage the public health crisis

The first step in restoring the confidence of citizens and businesses is to ensure that the public health situation is under control. In this regard, the November 2020 update reports $1.3 billion in additional expenditures since June, resulting in part from the action plan to tackle the second wave of the pandemic. These expenditures are mainly related to the extension of bonuses for health care staff, training for new patient-care attendants, increased screening and test processing capacity, and purchases made in order to have all the necessary protective equipment. Since March, the investments in health care total $5 billion.

Nearly $13 billion invested since March

In total, since March, the government has invested approximately $13 billion to manage the public health crisis and to support Quebecers and our economy:
• $5.0 billion to strengthen our health care system;
• $5.9 billion to support Quebecers and our economy during these difficult times;
• $1.8 billion to ensure a strong and sustainable economic recovery in Québec.

A significant budgetary deficit in 2020-2021

A $15-billion budgetary deficit is still projected for 2020-2021. Including provisions, declining budgetary deficits of $8.3 billion in 2021-2022 and $7.0 billion in 2022-2023 are currently forecast. The pandemic and the measures put in place since March have generated these deficits.

The government has been involved since the beginning of the pandemic and intends to maintain its support throughout the crisis and ensure economic recovery. We will return to a balanced budget within 5 years without cutting services or raising taxes. Additional details on the way forward will be presented in the next budget.

“We must collectively tackle one of the worst crises in Québec’s history and the government will take every necessary step to strengthen our health care system and help hard-hit citizens and businesses so that they can get through this pandemic and recover quickly. The new
recovery measures announced today allow us to increase confidence and ensure greater predictability for investment projects.”

Eric Girard, Minister of Finance.

Highlights:
• Initiatives totalling $1.8 billion since June to restart Québec’s economy, including:
o $287 million to support Quebecers and our economy;
o $459 million to help get Quebecers back into the labour market;
o $477 million to drive economic growth;
o $300 million more to ensure a greener recovery;
o $247 million to promote Québec production and buying locally.

Related link:
Update on Québec’s Economic and Financial Situation: http://www.finances.gouv.qc.ca/update

The Gouvernement du Québec launches a new plan for a greener Québec

 

 2 November 2020

The Minister of Energy and Natural Resources and Minister responsible for the Côte-Nord region, Mr. Jonatan Julien, accompanied by the Minister of Economy and Innovation, Mr. Pierre Fitzgibbon, the Minister of the Environment and the Fight Against Climate Change, Mr. Benoit Charette, and the Minister of International Relations and La Francophonie and Minister of Immigration, Francization and Integration, Ms. Nadine Girault, unveiled the Québec Plan for the Development of Critical and Strategic Minerals 2020-2025 (QPDCSM), which results from the Government’s intention to promote the prosperity of Québec’s regions and the transition to a lower-carbon economy.  This Plan will allow the deployment in Québec of value chains of critical and strategic minerals (CSMs) in respect for the principles of sustainable development, social acceptability and wealth creation for the regions, including local and Aboriginal communities.

The implementation of this Plan is based on a financial framework of $90 M, announced in the 2020-2021 Budget Plan last March.  This Plan will be deployed in close cooperation with the departments, bodies and partners concerned.

Essential minerals in high demand: potential to exploit

Critical minerals are defined as essential substances for key sectors of the economy, present a high supply risk, and have no commercially-available substitutes. Strategic minerals are mineral substances necessary for the implementation of key government policies.  Québec has established a list of 22 minerals considered critical and strategic (see appendix). Among these minerals are lithium, graphite and nickel, to name only a few. CSMs are used in several spheres of everyday life and provide significant leverage for our economy and our autonomy.

Telecommunications, aerospace, renewable energy production, energy storage, the medical sector and transportation electrification are all high-growth sectors in which the CSM supply is vital. In the current context of transition to a lower-carbon economy and economic upheavals accentuated by the COVID-19 pandemic, several countries are also looking to secure their CSM supply.  It is also projected that the demand for CSMs will continue to rise.

A global vision and government orientations

The vision proposed in the Plan is to make Québec a leader in CSM production, transformation, reclamation and recycling, recognized internationally for its ethical approach respectful of sustainable development principles. This ambitious vision will allow Québec not only to benefit fully from its mineral potential and its expertise by attracting investors to Québec, but also to encourage local companies to become involved in the different phases of mineral transformation and recycling.

The Plan breaks down into four orientations:

  • Increase knowledge and expertise on critical and strategic minerals
  • Deploy or optimize integrated sectors in partnership with the CSM-producing regions
  • Contribute to the transition to a sustainable economy
  • Raise awareness, guide and promote

These orientations include a total of 11 objectives and 22 actions that will encourage the expansion of CSM value chains.  For example, let us mention the following actions: acquire new geoscientific knowledge, sustain the creation of a CSM-specific scientific network, support R&D on CSM extraction, transformation, reclamation and recycling, and support the circular economy projects applied to the CSM sectors.

 

“It is with pride and great enthusiasm that we today unveil the Québec Plan for the Development of CSMs. As a reliable and ethical partner, Québec will contribute actively to the global energy and technological transitions, by wealth creation in a greener economy.  Today, we are launching this future-oriented project, which will allow us together to create more value here at home, while responsibly developing our natural resources and our expertise. We have everything we need to succeed in this innovative sector with growing demand.”

– Jonatan Julien, Minister of Energy and Natural Resources, Minister responsible for the Côte-Nord region

 

“Thanks to our resources and the Plan for the Development of CSMs, we have a solid foundation to develop the battery sector.  This Plan will ensure the development of the components of our batteries while generating concrete benefits for Québec: quality jobs and business opportunities for our Québec companies to prosper here and internationally.”

– Pierre Fitzgibbon, Minister of Economy and Innovation

 

“The Plan launched today is part of our government’s integrated approach to electrify the Québec economy and fight climate change.  Thus, the Québec Plan for the Development of Critical and Strategic Minerals is excellent news. The circular economy concept, which includes recycling of products containing minerals, for example, is at the core of this Plan.”

– Benoit Charette, Minister of the Environment and the Fight Against Climate Change and Minister responsible for the Laval region

 

“This is an opportunity for Québec to extend its outreach internationally and attract quality investors.  As the gateway to the North American market, Québec positions itself as a partner of choice in the development of sectors requiring strategic minerals in their development. This ambitious Plan will contribute to worldwide recognition of Québec’s strength in this strategic sector.”

– Nadine Girault, Minister of International Relations and La Francophonie and Minister of Immigration, Francization and Integration and Minister responsible for the Laurentides region

 

Highlights

  • Critical and strategic minerals are part of everyday life and are found in many kinds of equipment and objects, such as medical imaging devices, batteries, laptop computers, cell phones and electric vehicles.
  • Québec already contributes to supply strategic minerals as a nickel, niobium and graphite producer. Mining projects are in progress for lithium, vanadium and rare earth elements.
  • Conducted in winter 2019-2020, the Review of Québec’s Role in Development of Critical and Strategic Minerals collected different points of view, contributing to the drafting of this Plan.
  • The Ministère de l’Énergie et des Ressources naturelles will publish an annual report of the results of the actions set out in the Plan. In light of these results, the Plan may be updated over the next five years.
  • The mining sector plays a leading role in Québec’s economy, with over 30,000 direct and indirect jobs and 22 active mines, primarily in the Côte-Nord, Nord-du-Québec and Abitibi-Témiscamingue regions.

For more information concerning the Québec Plan for the Development of Critical and Strategic Minerals, go to the Web page on this subject: Québec.ca/critical-strategic-minerals . The complete plan can be accessed there, among other information.

For information on the Ministère de l’Énergie et des Ressources naturelles and to learn more about its activities and achievements, go to mern.gouv.qc.ca.

School tax: The CAQ will apply the lowest rates, no matter the region

 

 23 January 2018

The leader of the Coalition Avenir Québec, François Legault, wants to put a definitive end to the inequities in school taxes by applying a single rate across Québec: The lowest currently in effect. Mr. Legault made this announcement accompanied by his spokesperson for education, Jean-François Roberge, as well as his spokesperson for public finances, François Bonnardel.

Since the arrival of the liberal government 15 years ago, the amount collected by school taxes has risen approximately 113%, about 1.2 billion dollars. Over the course of only the last 5 years, we are talking about an increase of 700 million dollars, denounced the CAQ leader. Currently, the liberals are dangling a drop in school taxes that is unfair from one region to another. How is this justified to a citizen of La Mauricie or Saguenay -Lac-Saint-Jean, who pay rates that are three times higher than those of a citizen of another region. For François Legault, the liberal solution is haphazard.

A CAQ government will will therefore reduce the school tax, over a period of 4 years, to the lowest current rate. that’s 10.54 cents. This is a tax cut of 700 million dollars for Québec families, compared to the liberal promise. In doing so, the CAQ will reduce the revenues of the school tax to the levels at which they were before the arrival of the liberals to power in 2003, said the CAQ leader.

Unlike the Liberals, who are opening the door in their Bill 166 to a further increase in school taxes in the aftermath of elections, a CAQ government will decree a freeze of school taxes for the duration of their mandate.

Priorities of the parliamentary session : The economic record of Phillipe Couillard will be tackled head on by François Legault

 

 29 August 2016

The economy of Quebec will be the major concern of the Coalition Avenir Québec: this was the message sent by the head of CAQ, François Legault, on the first day of the pre-sessional caucus of the political party.

As soon as the parliamentary activities begin, the CAQ will make a point to hold Philippe Couillard accountable for his disastrous economic results.

We’ve had enough of the improvisation of the liberals, says the head of the CAQ. In all the cities and municipalities that he visited during his regional tour, François reported meeting tens of entrepreneurs, regional leaders and citizens who have all expressed concerns about the current state of Quebec’s economy.

“The observation which stands out is very clear: Quebec can do better. Our families have less and less money in their pockets. Citizens have the feelings of not being listened to. Regions are left to themselves. Enterprises have many projects but have to wait after Hydro-Québec or after Investissement Québec. Instead, the liberal government is dragging its feet. It has no leadership. It lacks ambition in economic matters. The Liberal party doesn’t serve Quebec anymore. Since its election in 2003, it is only serving its own interest. The party forgot about the general interest and is only governing to maintain itself in power “, explains the head of the CAQ.

On the employment side, it’s a free fall. Since the beginning of the year, 2 800 jobs have been lost, reminds us François Legault, while Philippe Couillard had promised us 250 000 jobs  in 5 years, meaning 50 000 per year. The weakness of employment rates calls for strong measures to stimulate our economy. “Quebecers deserve a government whose obsession will be to create good jobs, just as will be the government of the CAQ. Since the election of April 2014, 28 months ago, only 43 100 jobs have been created. You can count on me to ask Philippe Couillard, day after day, where are the jobs that he had promised” ensures François Legault.

It is high time to put an end to the liberal monopoly, which has fully demonstrated its harmful effect on our economy. This is the reason why the head of the CAQ is really determined to become in 2018, the first economic prime minister in 20 years in Quebec. “While Phillipe Couillard is asking himself how to handle his Council of Ministers, the Parti Québécois is obsessed by the next referendum on sovereignty.  This can’t go on. Quebec needs a big breath of fresh air. To all the Quebecers, I am saying, the CAQ will stay focused. During the next parliamentary session, the CAQ will continue to stand tall for the economy, for the education and for our identity”, concludes François Legault

The Sale of RONA: Couillard Didn’t Care to Question Daoust

 

 7 June 2016

Philippe Couillard deems it normal, that investments Quebec (IQ) sold their shares in RONA without the government’s authorization. Moreover, he doesn’t think that it is necessary to question his Minister of Transport, Jacques Daoust, following the shocking revelations of the former president of RONA, Robert Dutton. The CAQ Leader, François Legault, sees the latter as clear evidence to the Prime Minister’s indifference, regarding the future of Quebec’s headquarters. It is this Liberal indifference that caused the sale of RONA, one of Quebec’s key companies.

“The Prime Minister exemplifies everything that shouldn’t be done in economy. He even invented a new economic theory, stating that ‘buying is taking a risk, and selling is liberating of a risk’. It is obvious to what point the PM is unfamiliar with economics. Nonetheless, it is the government’s role to promote economic development. Evidently, Raymond Bachand was right: With Philippe Couillard at the head of the Liberal party, the CAQ is the new party of the economy. Worst of all, despite the testimony by RONA’s former president, Mr. Dutton, Couillard didn’t even ask his Minister of Transport for his version of the facts!” exclaimed Mr. Legault, and added that the PM didn’t even return on his Minister’s statements.

The member for L’Assomption notes that the allegations are serious; according to the former president of RONA, Jacques Daoust said that he doesn’t want to “know anything” about the company. The role of the PM includes the responsibility to protect Quebec’s economic jewels. “The Prime Minister must question his Minister of Transport. If these statements are true, he needs to relieve him of his duties”, reiterated François Legault.

RONA’s Shares Sold: Legault Exposes Couillard’s Indifference

 

 3 June 2016

The CAQ Leader, François Legault, along with his house leader, François Bonnardel, have been pursuing the Liberals for a second day in a row; in regards to Jacques Daoust’s role in Investments Quebec’s (IQ) RONA share sale. During the Questions Period at the National Assembly, the CAQ Leader exposed Prime Minister Philippe Couillard’s laxity and indifference towards a most significant matter: The sale of a major Quebec company.

In chambers, the Prime Minister stated that he doesn’t consider necessary for his government to be consulted about key transactions, such as RONA’s share sale. “Quebec has lost a major company and, once again, the PM remains unaffected. The less he knows, the better he goes. He is just like his Minister of Transport! The Prime Minister must care about the ownership of Quebec’s companies!”, voiced the CAQ Leader.

“His memory gaps would have made the Minister of Transport an excellent witness at the Charbonneau Commission. The Minister has to resign!”, added the CAQ’s house leader. He also insisted for the old and new CEOs of IQ, for the spokesperson of the organization, and for Jacques Daoust’s former chief of staff (Pierre Ouellet), to attend a parliamentary committee.

Oil and Gas in Quebec: Couillard’s Green Shift Harms the Industry

 

 1 June 2016

It is time for Philippe Couillard to acknowledge that his words weigh more than he realizes. Although Squatex estimates that the soil of Mitis contains over 52 million barrels of oil, the extraction will not start anytime soon. The main reason: Since last December, the Prime Minister’s statements and intrusions have been scaring away local and foreign investors.

The CAQ critic for energy, Chantal Soucy, has welcomed Squatex’s business development manager, Mario Lévesque, to the National assembly on Wednesday. He explained to the MNA how hard it is for his company to find a single financial partner, since the vast majority of the oil and gas sector believes that investing in Quebec is risky.

“According to the results of recent studies, the soil of Mitis may contain nearly 10 million barrels per square kilometer. It is twice greater than the potential assessed on the Anticosti Island! The company is referring to one of the most important discoveries made today. It is looking for financing, and is getting shunned because it is located in Quebec, under a Liberal government; with a Prime Minister who has the reputation of being against oil and gas extractions. The consequences of the Prime Minister’s words and actions are clear: We are being avoided, like a plague”; expressed regretfully Chantal Soucy, during the Question Period.

Notwithstanding global context and the market energy price, the member for Saint-Hyacinthe asked the Minister of Energy to reassure the industry, by declaring loud and clear that Quebec is interested in oil and gas investments. Pierre Arcand refused to make the statement. “It is no longer a secret, that the economy is trivial for this government. It stands against Anticosti and Old Harry. The Liberals are harming the business sector. Mr. Arcand, you are the Minister of Natural Resources, not a delegate for the environment. It is time to take the reins of your ministry. The companies are seeking international financing. When will you finally open the door to our economy?” inquired Chantal Soucy.

Aerospace Strategy: Zero Jobs Created in Ten Years

 

 31 May 2016

The Liberal government has not created a single job in the aerospace industry ever since the release of its first strategy report, in 2006; disclosed François Legault at the National Assembly on Tuesday. Despite this observation, the Prime Minister, Philippe Couillard, refused to table a plan of action that would quantify a job creation objective for the two upcoming years.

The CAQ Leader, François Legault, states that in 2006, at the moment when the Liberal minister Raymond Bachand presented his strategy, Quebec’s aerospace industry counted 40,000 jobs. Ten years later, the situation remains identical. “Meanwhile, the government’s speeches have multiplied, and the Minister of Economy’s new strategic plan for the industry includes no employment goals. Do you know how many jobs were created in the last ten years? Zero! Our economy requires more than just theory. To create jobs, corporate investments must be sought, one after the other. During the last 12 months, we have lost 9,500 jobs! We are ages away from the Liberal promise. We are suffering from a negative trend”, stated François Legault during the Question Period.

The member for L’Assomption criticized Philippe Couillard’s idleness in matters of economy. After two years in term, there is still no evident ambition for wealth creation. The aerospace strategy presented on Monday has no job creation target, and appears to be another admission of failure, regrets François Legault. “The Prime Minister may very well print papers and make mesmerizing speeches; but there are no results. Is he active or passive in matters of economy? The reality is that after ten years, the Liberals are still unproductive”, concluded the CAQ Leader.

 

Job Creation: Our Figures Pale in Comparison

 

 6 May 2016

Halfway through its mandate, Philippe Couillard’s Liberal government may no longer deny the facts; Quebec’s performance is poor in matters of job creation and economic growth. This sad realization was expressed by the CAQ critic for the economy, André Lamontagne, following an employment data release by Statistics Canada on Friday.

“It is certain that in matters of job creation, Quebec’s figures pale in comparison. The government may keep telling us glamorous tales and making fancy announcements, but the numbers speak for themselves”, stated André Lamontagne. In fact, 9,500 jobs were lost in Quebec during the last year; in comparison with 95,700 jobs created in Ontario, and 153,500 elsewhere in Canada.

“There is no excuse for Ontario to thrive while we wither away. We will repeat it over and again, Quebec has all the potential to be wealthier! We lost 700 full time jobs in a year, while our neighbours created 67,000. The first step for the Liberals would be to acknowledge their failure, and to finally present a bold plan with detailed employment creation targets. We have an urgent need for an ambitious economic vision”, according to the member for Johnson.

Mr. Lamontagne also notes that the manufacturing sector is clearly suffering, having lost 1,400 jobs in one year. The CAQ believes that it is through innovation and increased productivity, that our organizations will be able to penetrate international markets. The party proposed a Fund of 5 billion dollars over 5 years, in order to modernise the manufacturing sector. “At the CAQ, we are certain that Quebec has all the means to perform even better than Ontario!” concluded André Lamontagne.

 

Regional Economic Development: Where Is Lise Thériault?

 

 22 April 2016

At the budgetary appropriation study for the regional economic development on Friday, the CAQ MNA, Donald Martel, expected to be sitting across the government’s Minister for regional matters, Lise Thériault; rather, to his surprise, she was replaced by the Minister of Public Security, Martin Coiteux. Her absence is completely inexcusable, at the year’s most important parliamentary mandate for all ministries, stated Donald Martel.

“I have been involved in the regional economic environment for over twenty years; the government has always dignified these discussions with an appropriate representative. I almost fell off my chair when I heard the comments made by Minister Coiteux. According to him, there is no minister assigned to regional development, but every minister is regionally involved in his own way! What exactly is Lise Thériault’s role? She has suddenly become the Minister of nothing! Even more outrageous, is that the government is sending yet another awful message to our regions, who have already been feeling abandoned since Philippe Couillard’s coming to power. Who can the regions count on, to defend their interests within this government? It is completely ambiguous”, reproached the CAQ critic for regional economic development.

Donald Martel had hoped to question Lise Thériault on her plans for the regions to prosper, especially after abolishing the Regional Conferences of Elected Officials (CRÉs), nearly a year ago. The CAQ member is saddened by the Liberal government`s nearsightedness, that is depriving the regions of democratic consultations, henceforth available only to government officials.