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CAQ government spending is out of control, deplores Duhaime

Photo: Jacques Boissinot The Canadian Press The leader of the Conservative Party of Quebec, Éric Duhaime, last November

Caroline Plante – The Canadian Press in Quebec

3:47 p.m.

  • Quebec

The Legault government has lost control of its spending and should take inspiration for its next budget from the liberal government of Philippe Couillard in power from 2014 to 2018, believes Éric Duhaime.

The Conservative leader defended the Couillard government in Quebec on Thursday, often accused of having imposed budgetary austerity. In fact, Mr. Couillard only slowed spending growth, according to Mr. Duhaime.

“When the Liberals came to power, they cleaned up public finances, and since the Coalition Avenir Québec has been here, it’s been a mess,” he said in briefing. “How is it that in Quebec, we have lost so much control over our spending ?”

Mr. Duhaime cites the Association of Quebec Economists, which says it has observed growth in portfolio spending in Quebec of 42.5% in the last five years.

The fact that Prime Minister François Legault recognizes that the next budget will be “largely in deficit” is also “very worrying,” according to him. “You know like I do that interest rates are not going to go down,” he said. The 11 billion [dollars] we pay in interest is going to explode. »

To consolidate public finances, Mr. Duhaime proposes, among other things, reducing government subsidies to businesses and for the purchase of electric vehicles. He also recommends revising programs and reducing the size of the state through attrition.

On Thursday, the Montreal Economic Institute reported that the number of full-time equivalent employees in the public service has increased by 5,223 since 2018.

Mr. Duhaime defended himself at a press briefing from wanting to cut services to citizens. “People think that as soon as we reduce spending, we will reduce services. In fact, in Quebec, there has been significant growth in spending and the quality of services has declined,” he argued.

The PQ wants to recover money from Ottawa

For its part, the Parti Québécois of Paul St-Pierre Plamondon asks the CAQ to demonstrate transparency and to quantify in their next budget the cost of “successive refusals from Ottawa”.

He underlines in a press release that the government has requested 1 billion dollars from the federal government for the reception of asylum seekers, but that it has so far only obtained 100 million dollars .

Furthermore, Quebec only received a sixth of what it asked for in health. Mr. St-Pierre Plamondon also recalls that the Quebec government is still waiting for a right of withdrawal with full compensation of $3 billion for the dental program.

“That explains a good part of the large deficit announced,” he said. By kneeling in front of Ottawa, the result will always be the same and we must draw political conclusions. »

The PLQ and QS emphasize construction

The Legault government must take advantage of its next budget to revive residential construction, say the Liberal Party of Quebec (PLQ) and Québec solidaire (QS).

Both parties expressed their budgetary expectations on Wednesday, emphasizing the importance of building more homes in Quebec.

The PLQ proposes to remove the QST on construction materials and to offer financial assistance to municipalities that achieve certain targets, for example, for the issuance of building permits.

For its part, QS is asking the government to provide $470 million to increase the number of construction starts by improving the QST reimbursement on new construction.

The Minister of Finance, Eric Girard, will table the 2024-2025 budget next Tuesday.

Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116