Opposition party sees Legault government heading for Liberal-style austerity

Quebecers will very soon return to the austerity of the Liberal years, says opposition party Quebec solidaire (QS).

The party met this weekend in a virtual council with the theme “Who will pay for the crisis?”

At a news briefing on Saturday morning, QS co-spokesperson Manon Masse said that, in her opinion, cuts to public services are inevitable.

In his Nov. 12 economic update, Minister of Finance Eric Girard confirmed that the deficit will reach $15 billion this year, a historic high.

It will be followed by an anticipated $8.3 billion deficit in 2021-2022, then $7 billion the following year. From 2020 to 2023, that makes $30 billion written in red ink in the Quebec budget.

The government has pledged not to increase taxes, despite the difficult context caused by the novel coronavirus pandemic. The mini-budget does not include any tax increase for Quebeckers.

“They prefer to count on the federal government, to hope for the return of strong economic growth; honestly, these two factors are more or less reassuring,” said Ms. Massé.

“When we refuse to increase the income column, quite inevitably, it is the expenditure column that we must reduce. It is announcing austerity.”

Masse said the prospect of austerity will be tough to take for Quebecers adding that she wants to discuss alternatives this weekend to avoid the “announced sacrifice of the CAQ.”

— this report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 21, 2020.

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