Jacques Boissinot The Canadian Press Le leader of the Parti Québécois, Paul St-Pierre Plamondon (right), alongside PQ deputies Joël Arseneau (left) and Pascal Paradis (center) after the presentation of the “Budget of Year One” of an independent Quebec , in Quebec, last October 23
While 80,000 nurses are on strike, the Parti Québécois (PQ) accuses the Legault government of having produced an economic update “strangely tailor-made to support the argument that it's impossible to give attractive salaries.”
On Tuesday, Finance Minister Eric Girard said the government's financial framework was “tight”, that the government's current offer had been budgeted for and that any additional spending would require borrowing.
These These assertions were called into doubt on Wednesday by PQ leader Paul St-Pierre Plamondon, who underlines that the government has notably adopted a “very aggressive approach” to return to a balanced budget in 2027-2028.
“We must respect the intelligence of workers, they are not fooled,” he argued in a press scrum at the National Assembly. It’s too easy to hide behind the economic update. […] The government can make other choices. »
Both Mr. St-Pierre Plamondon and the parliamentary leader of the Liberal Party of Quebec (PLQ), Monsef Derraji, stressed that the government had granted a tax cut to five million Quebecers, thus depriving $1.7 billion per year.
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François Legault's Coalition Avenir Québec (CAQ) also distributed checks of $500 in the spring of 2022, and of $400 to $600 the following fall, they recalled.
“We make these choices, then we appear in front of the workers and say: “Look, look at my budget update, there is no room for maneuver”. Well yes, there is one,” declared Paul St-Pierre Plamondon.
For example, “we can choose to maintain the debt-GDP ratio, to make offers that give the sector a chance public to keep staff, to attract them, and which do not impoverish any worker”, according to him.
Mr. Derraji also accused the CAQ of having squandered the $7 billion in surplus accumulated during the Liberal years.
“We see that the government did not hesitate to distribute checks to the right and to the left for electoral reasons. […] This is why today he no longer has any room for maneuver. Who is responsible ? It's François Legault and his Minister of Finance,” he denounced.
On Wednesday, the deputies of Québec solidaire (QS) joined the nurses on the strike pickets.
“If the update was arranged with the views guy to send a message to public sector workers, it’s a failure,” said QS parliamentary leader Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois, who believes that the CAQ has already lost “the battle of public opinion.”
For his part, Prime Minister François Legault continued to defend his government's offer.
< p>“We are offering an average salary increase of 14.8%. The unions are asking for 21%. “It’s $3.5 billion more,” he argued from his seat at the Salon Bleu.