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Sovereignty is a noble project, says François Legault

Photo: Karoline Boucher La Presse canadienne Le premier ministre François Legault, le 8 mai 2024

Sovereignty is a noble project but the end of equalization payments paid to Quebec by the federal government constitutes an unavoidable pitfall, Prime Minister François Legault declared Thursday.

In an exchange with PQ leader Paul St-Pierre Plamondon, at the Salon bleu, Mr. Legault dismissed his criticisms of the size of the federal state and the waste of public funds by Ottawa.

“I first want to remind you that the sovereignty of Quebec is a noble project, and I accept that,” he declared in the House.

Attacking the budget for a sovereign Quebec presented last year by the Parti Québécois, Mr. Legault repeated once again that the elimination of administrative overlaps between the two governments would not erase the loss of payments from the federal equalization program.

“I want to tell him kindly, without questioning the nobility of Quebec’s sovereignty project, that Quebec receives 10 billion more than what Quebecers send to Ottawa. In his famous year 1 budget, the leader of the PQ said: “Yes, but we are going to erase it all with duplication.” There is no one who believes that. »

The Prime Minister invited the PQ leader to exercise caution before proclaiming the unprofitability of federalism.

“Yes, sovereignty to defend our identity, but to go into the financial field and say that Quebec does not get value for money, I would be a little embarrassed,” he said.


In the beginning of his question to the Prime Minister, Mr. St-Pierre Plamondon argued that federal government services have deteriorated while the number of civil servants has increased by 42%, as reported La Presse on Thursday .

Calling it all a “waste,” the PQ leader said the size of Health Canada has doubled since 2000 while that of Revenue Canada has increased by 52% since 2016.

“The Prime Minister has made his career on the importance of putting an end to waste. Can he recognize that Quebec does not get value for money in Canada?”, he asked.

M . Legault, who himself produced a budget for a sovereign Quebec when he was a Parti Québécois MP, discredited his opponent's update of his figures.

“I understand that he found people to sign his document but that he is consulting serious economists and they will tell him that Quebec receives 10 billion more, each year, than what Quebecers send to Ottawa,” he said.

Not reached the limits

As he has done so frequently in recent weeks, Mr. Legault has drawn on the PQ leader's past writings to deride him.

The Prime Minister read an extract from a book written by Mr. St-Pierre Plamondon in 2014, Les Orphelins politiques, in which he called for attention to more fundamental questions, such as the state of the French language, rather than sovereignty.

““A gathering around the French language, Quebec cultural specificity, cannot function under a government entirely dedicated to sovereignists,” cited Mr. Legault. I agree 100% with what he said. »

Leaving the Salon Bleu, the Minister responsible for the French Language, Jean-François Roberge, maintained that Quebec still has a lot of room for maneuver within the Canadian federation to defend Quebec identity.

M. Roberge recalled that the government has included the specificity of Quebec in the Constitution of Canada with Bill 96 and that it is preparing to present a bill on Quebec digital content.

“We haven’t reached the limits, there are still many things to do,” he said.

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