Even though Finance Minister Eric Girard prides himself on having delivered the goods with his first budget, the opposition parties believe that he has spent less on the considerable room for maneuver that was in the coffers of the government. State.
To a surplus of $ 2.5 billion – after a payment of $ 3.1 billion to the Generations Fund – reached in 2018-2019, the great financier of the province provides only for a balanced budget over the next three fiscal years, which seemed to worry the Liberal Party of Quebec (PLQ).
“This is a little last year of room for maneuver,” said Carlos Leitao, the official opposition finance critic, along with Liberal treasure critic Gaétan Barrette. Enjoy it, because the following years will not be that at all. ”
In his list of reproaches, the former Minister of Finance estimated that the Legault government was abandoning certain promises, particularly with regard to the deployment of kindergarten 4 years. Quebec expects only $ 36 million in the 2019-2020 fiscal year and $ 72 million in the next.
At the current pace, said Leitao, it will take at least a second term in the Legault government to fulfill its promise to offer these kindergartens to all.
“Where is the acceleration of growth (economic) ?, he asked, recalling that the Caquistes promised to inject a new impetus to the economy. That’s 1.5 percent (gross domestic product growth) in 2020 and 1.3 percent in 2021. Is that more? Good luck! We are very disappointed with this budget. ”
On the side of Québec solidaire (QS), the critics focused on the theme of the environment, where, according to the political party, there has been a flagrant lack of “new and structuring” investments to fight against climate change.
Visibly disappointed, QS spokeswoman Manon Massé said she was planning to have her caucus meeting quickly to prepare a “response” to a budget that “does not take into account the greatest global emergency.”
“It seems to me that all the red flashers have been lit for a long time,” said Ms. Massé, accompanied by the public finance manager, Vincent Marissal. Young Quebeckers are not even 18 and they understand it. We do not understand why the government is ignoring this urgency. ”
“Our expectations were low, but it is clear that nothing is in the budget to fight against climate change”
– Vincent Marissal, Member of Parliament for Québec solidaire
According to QS, the proportion of investment in public transport relative to that in road infrastructure has deteriorated from 31 percent to 27 percent. In addition, lamented the political party, the amount allocated to public transit projects remained stable at $ 9 billion in the Québec Infrastructure Plan.
“Our expectations were low, but it is clear that nothing is in the budget to fight against climate change,” said Marissal.
For its part, the Parti Québécois (PQ), despite some criticisms, nevertheless highlighted some positive aspects, particularly in calculating alimony and legal aid.His spokesperson on finance and the economy, Martin Ouellet, however, wondered whether the $ 280 million set aside for home care “will be there every year”.
“The parents did not ask kindergarten 4 years, but CPEs,” he said, in his criticism of the Legault government.
Ouellet also blinkered that the Legault government was giving Investissement Québec an additional $ 1 billion, while anticipating a slowdown in economic growth over the next few years.