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Press release
10 March 2020

CAQ’s Budget : Obsessions Before Priorities

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The François Legault government governs according to its fleeting obsessions and to the detriment of Quebecers’ real needs. These obsessions lead it to spend the surplus it has available in a manner that lacks vision and does not take reality into account.

Finance Minister Éric Girard is forecasting a 2% increase of the gross domestic product (GDP), while many signs are pointing to an economic downturn. His forecasts are overestimations, especially given the global context that is currently affected by the Covid-19 virus.

Following his stubbornness in the creation of wall to wall 4-year-old kindergartens last year, the CAQ is now focusing on a green shift for which details are lacking. The devil is in the details though, as we witnessed with 4-year-old day cares. After having promised to create 5000 new classes by the end of its mandate, the number deflated day after day and will now be just 1000 classes by 2022. Recall that François Legault’s initial cost estimate for a class was $122,000 when in reality the cost of a class can reach $2M.

Sorely Lacking

Health care is a priority for all Quebecers. François Legault’s government did not make it their priority though. Funding for patient ratio projects was the most concrete action the government could have taken to demonstrate its real intention to quickly improve both working conditions for health-care workers and the quality of the services offered within the system. It was now, when the government has the means, that it needed to take action to reduce the pressure on the health care system, pressure which will only increase over time with an ageing population.

Despite the fact that all sectors of the economy are affected by workforce shortages, the Minister of Finance chose to completely elude the topic in his remarks. No concrete measures were announced to help our businesses face the recruiting challenges they are currently experiencing.

We’ll see! That’s all I can say about a budget that includes a panoply of measures for which we will have to wait to learn the details. When it comes to the environment, for example, over 70% of the investments are planned for after the CAQ’s mandate. Expenses that are spread out over time like this raise doubts about this government’s true intentions. It’s another budget based on one of François Legault’s fleeting obsessions; this year he has decided to talk about the environment. Last year it was 4-year-old kindergartens and we saw where that got us. The CAQ spends money, but Quebecers aren’t able to benefit.

–Carlos J. Leitão, MNA representing Robert-Baldwin And Liberal Critic for Finance

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