Researchers: Quebec desperately needs change

HEC researchers have found Quebec's standard of living is plummeting while government spending is too much for Quebec taxpayers to handle. The alarm is being sound on the state of Quebec's deteriorating economy and rather than addressing it, Marois and her PQ government would prefer to play divisive political games with the cultural hot potato.

The report addresses the Quebec government's chronic spending beyond its means as it poses a threat to the continued viability of Quebec society. "We are governed like we don't have any budget constraints," said the study's author Richard Gagné, director of the Productivity and Prosperity Centre at HEC Montreal. "Daycare is a nice program, if we can afford it."

The study looked at the tax burden on Quebec society and concluded that since 1981, Quebecers have collectively accepted a declining standard of living propped up by spending more and getting less in return.

As a result of over-taxation and a government that is everywhere a government shouldn't be - not to mention the instability created by the separatist movement and the stringent laws to "protect" French culture, families and businesses alike have opted to look elsewhere leaving Quebec in a dire financial situation. This situation may not seem to be important to the PQ government which would rather pass a Charter of Values that would make the situation worse, but it has ensured Quebec's standard of living is not only lower than the Canadian average, but also it is lower than most OECD countries.
"Since the early '80s we don't have enough growth," said Gagné. "At the same time we are struggling to fund adequately our existing programs... roads, schools, hospitals... so we don't have money to travel or to repair the roof of the house so we're [doing it anyway] on our credit card." 
"Since 1981, if we had the same growth as New Brunswick, over that 30-year period our average" income would be $10,000 more per year per person, added Gagné.
The solution of Quebec governments whether they be Liberal or PQ over the past few decades has been tax hikes that have choked the life out of the province and economy. Quebec families scaling back on spending to guarantee food hits the table can teach the government a thing or two about efficiency and how the government is in all the places it shouldn't be. What would a Quebec culture be worth if families lived in poverty? What would language laws and the PQ's racist Charter of Values and identity politics be worth if Quebec families were forced to move elsewhere, as they have been over the years, to find a stable lifestyle to raise their families?

Quebec's circumstances aren't getting any better. The heavy and wasteful government services and bureaucracy are about to tumble on the backs of the new generation which will also have to take care of Quebec's ageing population. According to Gagné, the low replacement rate means "people will have to retire later, of course, and have to work more."

In addition, the study found Quebecers don't work enough to maintain the government-run society they've tried to build. "When you look at different countries, growth is coming from productivity growth, not from labour hours," said Gagné. The Quebec government's priority should be to increase productivity and create jobs, look for better ways of handling its programs and look to slashing its debt, but instead the PQ would rather bully non-francophones, scare away businesses with ridiculous identity politics and insult immigrants who are helping to provide the productivity Quebec is clearly lacking.

Quebec is in a state of economic peril and while the rest of Canada sees an economic recovery, Quebec continues to shed jobs and lose families. It's PQ government has not only ignored this, they've thrown fuel on the fire with ignorant policies crafted only to try to get the apathetic and prejudice in our society to give them a majority. Sadly, recent polls suggest it appears to be working.

While Quebec politicians would respond the obvious solution is to yet again raise taxes to increase revenues, as the Charest Liberals did in their last mandate, and Marois did in her last budget by creating a new tax bracket and raising healthcare taxes, the author warns another tax hike would only do more harm than good in creating jobs and encouraging families and investors to settle in Quebec. It is time, he suggests, that Quebec starts scaling back public servants and remove programs it cannot afford - one of the first I would axe is the OQLF.
"We will have to re-examine programs, maybe get rid of other programs, because we just can't pay for it."
It is also worth noting that for all the money we pay the Quebec government, the most Quebecers can expect are more nanny-state laws and regulations, followed by corrupt unions to prop up the PQ and Liberals alike.

If there's one bottom line to take from the research, it's that Quebec desperately needs change. Unfortunately when Liberal leader Phillippe Couillard said the Charter would "pass over [his] dead body" he didn't mean it. Now that the Liberals have gone full circle on the issue and may well decide to offer a diluted alternative to the PQ, it makes us realize we need a new party. We have a new party, the CAQ, which wouldn't need to go full circle to give Marois what she wants - as they have thus far. The Quebec Solidaire wouldn't fix the problems in Quebec society, their economic plans would make them worst. Perhaps there is another solution, or perhaps one needs to be built, but Quebec as it stands today cannot sustain its current status nor its intrusive nature on the lives of its individuals.

While Quebec MNAs squabble in the National Assembly about identity issues that don't matter, Quebec's economy continues to deteriorate and Quebec families continue to be short-changed. Polls, sadly suggest that instead of giving this backward government the boot, Marois, like Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, may get her coveted majority and finish off the province standing on its last foot. All she really needed to say in 2012 to her supporters was: "you won't recognize Quebec when I'm through with it." Indeed, Quebec is a more prejudice place where language and culture antics make the headlines more frequently than before and outside of Montreal, anyone who isn't Marois's definition of a Quebecer is an outsider.

Quebec desperately needs change. The economy must become the electoral determinant and politicians must start listening to evidence instead of their corrupt union partners. Quebec may soon be headed to the polls and this election will be more important than ever because if future generations are to have any future in Quebec, tough decisions need to be made and now is not the time to decide who is a Quebecer and who is not and now is not the time to decide that the French language is more important than economic stability. What do you think of this HEC report? Do you believe it's time for change in this province? Share this article, join the discussion and let us know what you think: Facebook, Twitter, Google+

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