Francis Vachon Le Devoir “I'm just pointing out that we tried to believing the population that it was 14.8% over five years; this is not true. Public funds cannot be used to misinform,” said Paul St-Pierre Plamondon, leader of the Parti Québécois, at a press briefing on Friday.
The Parti Québécois (PQ) accuses the Legault government of misinforming the population in its advertisements on negotiations with the public sector.
The PQ leader, Paul St-Pierre Plamondon, criticizes the government for using public funds to spread information that, according to him, is false, particularly on salary offers.
“I’m just pointing out that we tried to make the population believe that it was 14.8% over five years; this is not true. Public funds cannot be used to misinform,” he said at a press briefing on Friday.
He was reacting to the revelations of the Soleilindicating that the Quebec government spent $300,000 on advertising to counter the unions' arguments, while the labor conflict between the state and its employees continues.
“And I ask both the unions and the government to put aside […] the war of public opinion, to go into a room, lock it and come out when it there will be a solution,” said Paul St-Pierre Plamondon.
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The interim Liberal leader, Marc Tanguay, believes that the state must use public funds “parsimoniously”. “I think the government can, to a certain point, communicate, but $300,000 is a lot of money,” he said at a press briefing, adding that the government had to negotiate intensively.
Solidarity deputy Guillaume Cliche-Rivard, for his part, recalled that the population supports public service employees. “The government could invest $400,000, $500,000, $600,000, the people are behind the workers, so that’s not where I would have put the money,” he said.
Called to react, Prime Minister François Legault defended his government's decision. “The unions have been spending millions of dollars for several weeks to make their demands known. I think it is important that the population is informed of our offers,” he said in a press scrum.
Support for the Common Front on salary demands has not weakened
The population's support for the salary demands of the common front in the public sector does not seem to be weakening, according to two surveys conducted before and after the latest strike sequence. Thus, a Léger poll carried out from November 24 to 27, therefore after the last three days of the Common Front strike, even shows a slight increase in support for its salary demand.
The question asked is explicit, it clearly mentions that the government is offering a 10.3% increase over five years and that the Common Front is asking for the equivalent of a 20% increase over three years.
During the poll of 3 as of November 6, 47% of those questioned said they supported the common front's wage demand and 28% the government's offer. However, the most recent survey asking the same question, conducted from November 24 to 27, therefore after the last three days of the union strike, shows that 53% of those questioned supported the Common Front's demand and 26% the government's offer.
Support for the Common Front's wage demand therefore increased slightly by 6% between the two polls, while support for the government's offer increased from 28 at 26%.
Lia Lévesque, The Canadian Press