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Press release
9 March 2020

Official Opposition’s Budget Expectations : The CAQ Needs to Prepare for Economic Downturn

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The Liberal Critic for Finance, Mr. Carlos J. Leitão, is asking François Legault’s government to create a $1B provision in light an economic downturn related to Covid-19. The Finance Minister, Éric Girard, needs to act responsibly and create an emergency fund that is readily available in the budget he tables tomorrow.

The economic effects related to Covid-19 are very real. Last week the Bank of Canada reduced the prime rate by half a percent; a first since the 2008 economic crisis.

In these past few weeks we have also witnessed stock market volatility. Again, this morning, we learned of a 20% drop in oil prices. Minister Girard needs to take these precursor signs of an economic downturn into account.

Underscoring Priorities

The government must make long-term funding for our health care system a priority by making choices that are directly related to improving services, including implementing ratio projects for patients.

The government must also review the senior tax credit for home support. The main criterion for establishing this credit amount is currently based on an individual’s type of residence, which penalizes low-income seniors. The Official Opposition insists that the credit should instead be based on annual income.

This is not the time for François Legault’s government to be announcing new programs. The government needs to present a pragmatic vision and to use the surplus in a responsible manner, always keeping slowing economy in mind. Moreover, we will observe increased pressure on our health care system in the coming years due to an ageing population. The surpluses must be used to counter an economic downturn and to improve services within Quebec’s health-care sector.

–Mr. Carlos J. Leitão, Liberal Critic for Finance.