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28 November 2014

Make hard decisions

It strikes me important to remind Quebecers the reason why the government is restoring the provinces public finances. Let us remember the facts.

This year, our debt service will be $10.6 billion dollars. We are talking about the interest that we pay on the overall debt in Quebec, which is $200 billion dollars right now. And to top it off, we generate new debts that add up each year.

If we had not have done anything, the deficit would have been over $5 billion dollars in 2014-2015 and it would have continued to increase afterwards. In 2015-2016, it would have been over $7 billion dollars.

I constantly put the stress on these figures as they explain the difficult decisions made by the Government.

We do not even have the necessary room to manoeuvre in order to adequately finance our priorities: health and education. We remain the most indebted province in Canada.

The Governments recovery plan aims at taking control over public finances. We place great value on intergenerational equity, as this is what this is all about: What are we going to leave behind for our children?

The time has come to face reality and to stop ‘’living off credit cards’’. We are no longer in the 70’s.

The Government is taking action

Programs have been piling up without really questioning them for over 40 years now. Quebecers do not even know why they are taxed so much. Magic thinking is no longer sufficient. It is time to clean things up.

We can no longer override expenses just to simply make ends meet on a yearly basis. We must make decisions that promise a better future for Quebec

This is why the Government has notably :

  • Asked the municipalities to make an effort in transition towards a new fiscal balance;
  • Abolished regional offices of the Department of Education, Leisure and Sports;
  • Maximized resources in the Health Care and Social Services Network with the objective of cutting red tape and for greater clinical efficiency;
  • Modernised the funded educational childcare services program in order to allow optimum management of the program and to also ensure sustainability, quality, accessibility and equality of services offered to Quebec families;
  • It is going to shape the State of Quebec by reducing its size and its staff (overstaffing) and by reconsidering certain structures. The Government will limit other factors that may contribute to increased expenditure and remuneration;
  • In 2014-2015 on top off the efforts that have already been made, the government is tightening its expenses even more:  from eliminating bonuses to tight expenditure on public expense accounts. The State is tightening its belt.

This is how we plan on making better use of constituents’ tax money. We would like to offer a budgetary margin so that we can invest where the essential needs are and to further stimulate the economy. Ultimately, we have said it, after the return to a balanced budget, we will use the surplus to bring the debt and taxes down.

Our contribution today will be that which our children will not have to manage tomorrow. The Government is aware of the effort is requiring of all, however national attendance is needed since we have no choice, nor can we avoid it

Martin Coiteux
Member for Nelligan and Minister responsible for Government Administration and Ongoing Program Review Chair of the Conseil du trésor