Economic Update: A Real Farce
Following the disclosure of the economic update by the Finance minister, the Coalition Avenir Québec public finance critic and member for Granby, Francois Bonnardel, noted that Quebecers are financing the effort towards a balanced budget promised by the Liberals. He fears yet another tax hike on gas, following the course of comments of Minister Leitão in a press conference.
François Bonnardel recalls that the Liberals have already increased the average family burden by $1500. “There are two ways to balance a budget: by limiting expenses and by increasing revenues. As far as limiting the expenses goes, the government appears on target. But where it gets rough is definitely in the revenues: we are at a frail growth of 1.5%. The taxpayer is therefore, the only one contributing to balancing the budget, as the Liberals are unable to stimulate the economy”, regretted François Bonnardel, as he added that it was 3.3 billion dollars that originated from families and the middle class over the past two years.
Furthermore, the CAQ`s critic was troubled by an announcement from Minister Leitão predicting a new tax on gas. “Although he had just told me inboardroom that he has no intention to increase taxes on gas, Carlos Leitão told a journalist that he may very well increase it, as means towards what he calls ‘ecofiscality’. This man may not be trusted!” expressed Francois Bonnardel.
François Blais Disclaimed
Even though he acknowledges the curb of expenses, the CAQ`s critic isn`t ready to applaud it. The Couillard government has made the choice to cut in the services rather than in the bureaucracy. “Since the Liberals’ coming to power, there has been a shortfall of 621 million dollars in education. This led to budget cuts affecting direct services to students, especially kids with difficulties in learning. I note that this 621 million dollar shortage is being compensated for with a trifling 20 million dollar budget this year and a hypothetical 80 million dollar per year, conditional on future government budgets. It goes to show that Francois Blais, who deemed wrong to release funds from education, is disclaimed by the Finance minister”, stated M. Bonnardel, insisting on the fact that the strict budget cuts by the Liberals in education remain even after the economic update.
No Course to Recovery
The chapter devoted to the government`s economic plan is a real farce for François Bonnardel. “It is but a copypaste of the weak measures that were presented in the last budget. The CAQ has already demonstrated that the Plan Nord and the Maritime Strategy, two major projects put forth by the government, are but empty shells that present no major potential for economic recovery.”, added the member for Granby. Bear in mind that Quebec is ranked 57th out of the 61 North American states for wealth per capita and that Philippe Couillard foresees no improvement in ranking until the end of his mandate.