Par Éric Duhaime,
Voici un article paru dans le National Post aujourd’hui, le 1er avril 2010,
While Ontario made an announcement last week of a spending reduction of 2.6% for the upcoming year and the federal government is targeting an increase of 1.3% in the near future, the Quebec government tabled a budget on Tuesday that increases its spending by 3%, year after year after year.
Quebec already finances its public services by 26% more than Ontario, which involves spending $17.5-billion more, or $2,250 more per Quebecer, compared to our Ontarian neighbours in spite of the fact that Quebec’s wealth is 14% smaller that Ontario’s. And guess who’s going to pay for Jean Charest’s profligacy? You got it. Taxpayers — in Quebec, first and foremost, but also, to a lesser extent, our generous Albertan friends!
Instead of cutting the fat from its bureaucracy, Quebec liberals have chosen to tax each citizen even more. Taxes on gas will go up by an extra cent per litre every year for the next four years, a new $200 a year health tax per person has been created, the provincial sales tax will be hiked by 2%, electricity bills will be increased, all kinds of tariffs on government services as well as university fees are going to go up — the list goes on and on.
In total, we are talking about a tax increase of about $1,200 per year for a family of four.
The message sent by Quebecers was obviously not heard. In a poll released this week, 91% said they were against increases in income taxes, 87% against electricity bill increases, 82% against an increase in gas taxes and 77%against a PST increase.
But « Quebec must collect more tax because of shortcomings in equalization, » one of the budget’s headlines says, even though Quebec received a historic high in transfer payments, mainly from Alberta. According to Quebec liberals, it is not the Quebec government’s decision to offer more public services than anywhere else in Canada that has made it necessary to raise taxes. It is the federal government’s fiscal imbalance and the disparity in the equalization formula that disadvantages Quebec.
This argument comes from a so-called federalist government.
Jean Charest reminds me of a brother-in-law that visits you or his banker to borrow money supposedly to feed his wife and their kids. After crying on your shoulders and squeezing a big cheque out of you, he then turns around to buy a new Camaro, a yacht, a cottage in Tremblant and a brand new house that he obviously cannot afford, all of which — to everyone’s astonishment — he then brags about.
Those who were expecting and hoping for a common sense budget that could have brought Quebec back to Earth — and ended the province’s championing of public debt and high taxes — will need to be more patient. And those who were hoping that Charest would address the collusion and corruption scandals in the construction industry that are tainting his administration also better not hold their breath… though they should probably hold their nose. When he became Premier in 2003, Jean Charest told us that the Quebec government was « obese and tentacular. »
Forget about his fine intentions to fix the problem. This week, Jean Charest chose to keep taxing and spending, making the state fatter and more sprawling, without taking into account the limited means of Quebec taxpayers or the mood of an English Canada fed up with feeding an irresponsible Premier.