Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Understanding Quebec's Finances and the new PQ Budget

The tabling of Quebec's new budget yesterday afternoon, hasn't afforded me the time necessary to study and comment upon it in so short a time.

These documents are complicated and what appears obvious upon first glance, isn't always borne out when the full document is analyzed, which takes time.

There's always a danger that the mainstream media, in an effort to offer instant analysis,  gets the immediate interpretation wrong, the very best example that I can think of is the wholesale misreporting of the US Supreme Court Decision on Obamacare, where many media outlets, including CNN, falsely reported that the court had knocked down the statute when in fact it had done the opposite and upheld the law. Read a story about the blown coverage

I'll look over the budget today and offer an opinion either Friday or Monday, but I thought that it would be very useful to understand what exactly Quebec's budget is, how much the government takes in terms of revenue and how and where it spends the money.
Perhaps with a little better understanding, we can all make better sense of what the current budget changed, for better or for worse.

Here is a high resolution illustration, representing last year's budget, one that clearly shows how much money the governments take in and where the money is spent. Unfortunately, it is available in French only, but it's not so hard to understand.

You can click the picture to enlarge it then drag it to your desktop where you can use a picture viewing software (MAC="Preview") to enlarge it. Because the illustration is such high resolution, even the little, little writing is clear when enlarged.


Before we start analyzing how the Quebec government spends this money, we should have a general idea about how it raises this money.
I'm only going to provide a rough sketch, not wishing to impose information overload, this post is actually meant to give readers some understanding and background on last year's budget spending, so we can better understand the provisions and changes in the new PQ budget tabled yesterday.

The government actually takes in more money than the 73 billion spent, but that difference is placed into special funds, meant to cover specific long term projects, not covered here. We won't discuss those elements here.
Where the Quebec government gets the 73 billion dollars it spends;  

34%.............. personal income taxes and payroll tax levies
17%.............. transfers from Ottawa (equalization and other transfers, etc.)
15%............. provincial sales tax, gas tax, tobacco, licensing etc.
6%.............. dividends from SAQ, Hydro-Quebec, Loto-Quebec
4.5%...........  corporate taxes
7%.............. premium collected (social security, drug plans, etc.)
8%.............. investment income
9%.............. other income
3%.............. deficit
Link to StatsCan

Readers, the numbers above are very approximate....

Now to understand the chart above and how the government spends the 73 billion dollars, follow the spokes radiating out to the various coloured balloons representing a major area of spending. Around that balloon written in the same colour are sub balloons and smaller details describing spending within that sphere.

Let us consider one of the smaller and easy to understand sections, that of "Famille et Aines" (Family and Seniors) the green spoke, radiating out from the center at about the 6:30 position at the bottom.

That green spoke brings us to a bubble that represents $2.4 billion in spending and as you can see from the satellite comments, $2.1 billion of this money is earmarked for daycare and other family care facilities.

Following the same method you can follow all the spending of each major sphere of government expenditures, it's quite interesting.

Health and social services = $29    billion
Education                          = $16     billion
Debt service                       = $8      billion
Municipal affairs               = $3.7    billion 
Employment                      = $4.2    billion

For your information, the royalties on natural resources, something the PQ has announced with great fanfare that it is increasing, is hardly the windfall promised.  Even if Quebec were to charge 50% more, it would raise an additional $600 million at best, not a drop in the bucket, but not a game changer.

And by the way, in my last post I told you that Quebec gives away an amazing $6 billion in subsidies to Quebec business each year, three times more than Ontario does, despite Ontario raising considerably more taxes than Quebec.

You won't find a direct reference to it in the chart above, the subsidy is done through tax credits, whereby taxes to be collected are forgiven. This leads to Quebec corporations to contribute a paltry 4.5% of the 73 billion Quebec budget through corporate taxes.

As for me, I think I pulled away some interesting facts from the chart, the first and most important, the fact that almost half the budget goes to pay for government and quasi-government salaries which go up each year by a couple of percentage points adding a billion or two to the budget each year. The only way to change this is to cut down on the size of the civil service.

This reminds me of the best advice my late father ever gave me, which was that it is more important to watch what you spend rather than what you make.
Living within your means, and putting a little aside is a sure road map to prosperity.  In tough times, spend less.
It makes sense, even for a government.

As for services like subsidized day care, reduced tuition fees, I am not against these programs on principle, but object that they are universal, meaning everyone rich or poor gets the same benefit.

The idea that a lawyer in a BMW can pull up to a public subsidized daycare (an urban myth?) and drop off her child there for $7 a day is galling.

As for tuition, let me tell you my personal story.
My son was accepted to a medical school in the USA which informed us in the acceptance letter that tuition was $40,000 per year, to be paid up front.

When he was finally accepted to medical school in Montreal, I almost choked at the low tuition of about $5,000 per year, what a bargain!
As a successful businessman I certainly could have paid a lot more than that and I would have done so  gladly, without begrudging students from less fortunate circumstances paying a much reduced rate.

I'm not against enhanced government services, I'm against universality.

A solid tweak to these programs can make them socially and financially responsible, but hey, that's just one man's opinion.
What is yours?

82 comments:

  1. I found a couple of things in the budget confounding. Looking up the budget summary in The Gazette, I'm not clear about what is happening with tuition fees. Did they freeze them, or ignore the protesters and continue to raise them?

    Too, according to that article, the budget is balanced. Both expenditures and revenues, which I find hard to believe, will be balanced at $72.8 billion.

    The PQ also broke their promise to eliminate the $200 health tax. They adopted something closer to the of a more progressive formula similar to the Ontario formula. In Ontario, there is no health premium up to $20,000, then jumps abruptly to $300 or $60 per $1000 earned between $20-25,000. Other abrupt jumps take place at the $36,000, $48,000, $72,000 and $200,000 points to a maximum of $900 at the $200,600 threshold.

    According to the Gazette diagram, the most abrupt increases will take place between $130,000 and $150,000 where the premiums will increase from $200 to the maximum $1,000, an $800 increase within that $20,000 increment.

    In effect, Quebec is more lenient on the Health premium than Ontario, but hits the highest earners sooner and for a little more money, but this is the PQ and they tend to be supported by lower wage earners. At least the premium is less regressive, but the income taxes are not.

    Also featured as a link in the Gazette is this story about equalization payments in the Vancouver Sun.

    One disturbing thing in the budget is the infrastructure expenditure is being cut by $1.5 billion per year. That's short term gains for long-term pains. Based on that, instead of seeking preventative measures to get ahead of infrastructure deficits, they'll be dealt with on a crisis-to-crisis basis.

    Editor, with regard to your statement "that Quebec gives away an amazing $6 billion in subsidies to Quebec business each year, three times more than Ontario does, despite Ontario raising considerably more taxes than Quebec", it should be emphasized that this subsidization is almost exclusively to Francophone businesses.

    The source for that last statement is from the publication The Reconquest of Montreal by Prof. Marc V. Levine of the University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee. According to Levine's work, there is great incentive to subsidize such businesses because they are the biggest recruiters of Francophone managers, especially at the upper echelons. Anglophones need not apply to these corporations.







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    1. Mississauga,

      Editor, with regard to your statement "that Quebec gives away an amazing $6 billion in subsidies to Quebec business each year, three times more than Ontario does, despite Ontario raising considerably more taxes than Quebec", it should be emphasized that this subsidization is almost exclusively to Francophone businesses.

      I can say that it is not true.

      Bombardier receives helluva tax cuts. Pharmaceuticals too. In fact, one CEO of one pharma company that opened its HQ in Montreal in early summer (the name escapes me) stated that without tax breaks there was no way that he would move his company to Montreal. Oh, and it was obvious he did not speak French. Check also the software industry. While there may be plenty of francophones working in that industry, its major market is English-speaking.

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    2. Well, I know for a fact that Ubisoft is a French company (based in France), that may have also been why they opened up in Monteral as opposed to somewhere else.

      The massive subsidy and tax relief was probably more imporant, though.

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    3. I can assure you that Bombardier get special treatment from the feds strictly because it is in quebec.

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    4. Troy: I wrote almost; besides, who founded Bombardier? Who is its Chairman of the Board and former CEO? Who is the current CEO? Francophones, all! The Chairman and now his son are very good, as you wrote, of obtaining corporate welfare. Hmmmm.....

      What was the Quebec Stock Savings Plan for? Smaller Quebec-based businesses. There were a slew of other government programs with very favourable tax incentives for smaller and medium-sized Quebec-based businesses. Read the above-mentioned book. It should be available at your friendly local library.

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  2. Social services gets $31.3 BILLION while MTL is shouldering a $1.5 billion infrastructure cut.

    I'd say unbelievable, but then, I really wasn't expecting more.

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    1. As I stated above, short-term gains for long-term pains. The PQ has always been good at shooting itself in the foot that way.

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  3. Off subject but interesting:

    http://www.imperatif-francais.org/bienvenu/articles/2012/la-commission-europeenne-contre-la-langue-fran

    hehehe = look how angry this makes these bigots! They don't like getting a taste of their own medicine.

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  4. Editor: I agree with you - the universality of these programs is what's killing the economy plus quebec's total waste of money in imposing language police, commissions, and lawyers to fight every bit of English display in this place. We will get out of debt only when we learn to play well with others and not before. The seppies have to wake up and smell the coffee or we're doomed.

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    1. C'mon, Cutie, the PQ places language and culture above infrastructure. This is their ideology. This is no surprise, their priorities were established when they were first elected. Between the corruption in the construction industry that has been around long before you and I came along, coupled with their dogmatic focus on language and culture, why so surprised?

      Why do you think roads, bridges and buildings in Quebec have been crumbling and collapsing left, right and center?

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  5. Sorry - when I clicked on the above link it didn't work so:

    http://www.imperatif-francais.org/bienvenu/articles/2012/la-commission-europeenne-contre-la-langue-francaise.html

    This should work.

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    1. Cutie...Quebecois are Latins like French from France, and Latins in general fall prey to their irrational emotions without being able to have a rational overview of the problem. It's not a dearth of, but a total lack of rationality and critical thinking. Plus, Quebecois are masters of irrational, illogical and one-way de-contextualization.
      Anyway, French is as useful as a quilt in Africa.

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    2. "...French is as useful as a quilt in Africa..."

      Ou aussi utile que l'anglais au Québec.

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    3. "Latins in general fall prey to their irrational emotions without being able to have a rational overview of the problem."

      Comme les Canadiens-anglais lorsque la séparation du Québec devient possible.

      "Quebecois are masters of irrational, illogical and one-way de-contextualization."

      Comme Cutie, qui en fait la démonstration jour après jour.

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    4. S.R, haha you are doing mental masturbation! However, English will be very usefull in Quebec if one day we ask welfare cheque receivers to speak English. Today, most of them speak French only.

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    5. La petite vie de cutie se limite aux coupons-rabais en globish et aux fluctuations du prix de son bungalow outaouain.C'est une anglo-canayenne (ontarienne) typique qui vit dans une province dont elle ne connait absolument rien...Pathétique situation.

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    6. Par chance que les Canadiens-anglais ont une culture bien vivante. Il sort de nouveaux films américains chaque semaine...

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    7. Globalement,j'évalue à environ 75% les références d'origine américaine sur ce blogue.Heureusement que les Québécois sont munis d'un dôme anti-américain.

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    8. Plus spécifiquement,la section commentaires.

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    9. The "Editor-Dome" defence system has failed us - we've just suffered multiple "Bougon Bomb" bombardments from the blog's two proud welfare sponges...

      ...ah, who am I kidding, we all know S.R & YL are one and the same.

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    10. So sad, we cannot beat them here, they have too much time as their main jobs are collecting welfare cheques every month. (I don't know on which day, S.R, can you tell me?)

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    11. Ahhahaha that is great, leave it to this mighty Impératif français, to take on the EU for the sake of the French language. In France the actual French, the people of the French language, of the French culture, and of real true modern day French blood, have a dynamic and vibrant society and realistic expectations for the French language, its not going anywhere. They (the people not L'Académie)understand that we will always be French even if end up speaking something else, maybe even English (which by the way, English is between a third and half made up of French words anyway)

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    12. Belle attitude de colonisé!

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  6. The CAQ wanted to take down the PQ government. Libs wisely deciding to holding off on it. Let the PQ ship steer into deeper waters before it sinks.

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  7. No one can afford another election right now and the liberals don't want to go into an election minus a leader.
    By the way, here we go again. Met a young lady in the park this morning that moved here and rented a place because she has two children under 4 and she wants the $7.00/day daycare program. As soon as the children are of school age, she intends to leave and move back to Ottawa. Reminiscent of the old days when people would rent here to collect the $5,000 baby bonus and move out once they had it. Good old quebec - no common sense.

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  8. "The idea that a lawyer in a BMW can pull up to a public subsidized daycare (an urban myth?) and drop off her child there for $7 a day is galling." "As a successful businessman I certainly could have paid a lot more than that and I would have done so gladly, without begrudging students from less fortunate circumstances paying a much reduced rate."

    Yet you opted to pay 5,000 instead of 40,000. Just like the successful guy driving the beamer, you went with the "socialized/communist" option and not with the "socially responsible" conservative one of doling out the full amount out of pocket and unburdening the rest of us from the remaining 35,000$. I'm pretty sure the rationalizations were similar in both cases too: "it's closer to home", "I'm also a taxpayer", etc...

    This whole thing about "people in BWMs dropping their kids off at 7$ daycares" fits with the "welfare queens in Cadillacs" mantra that takes an exception and makes a rule out of it - and the exception is always a powerful image (a guy in a BMW, a "queen" in a Cadillac). This right wing chialage would be funny, except that these scoundrels are the first ones to reach for bail outs when their shit hits the fan. So it's actually pretty sad.

    I say if you want to be right wing about these things, then at least do what Ron Paul did - he put all his sons through college with his own money, having refused all state subsidy that his sons could have got. He stuck to his principles which makes him probably one of the last true conservatives left on this planet. The rest of them seem to be of neoconservative persuasion.




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    1. +1000, adski!

      That said, I'm sure you agree that the intent of cheap daycare is relief for the poorest members of society, right?

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    2. If you could give me your insight in my reply to the last thread's discussion on language consolidation, I would be much obliged.

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    3. FROM ED BROWN
      Adski, You missed the point. No one was burdened with the $ 35,0000. It was not a choice in Quebec, it was NY prices against Quebec prices. Ed

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    4. FROM ED BROWN
      How could you compare any one to Ron Paul. He is one of the richest men in the U.S. The editors son did not cancel out on NY because of the price but opted to stay here at home. The fact that it was cheaper is not the young man's fault. Ed

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  9. We all kind of knew that the PQ November Budget was not going to be good. What I find problematic is the CAQ and the Quebec Liberals.
    The options seemed simple. the two can bring down the PQ government and force an election. Not the best option in the middle of the holidays. But, the two could form a coalition government and take control of the situation for a few years in order to settle things down.

    This would probably be the best option for all of Quebec.

    Now if these two refuse to work together in order to help out the province, I believe the CAQ's days will be numbered when the next election comes around. All those ex-Liberal voters will switch their votes back from the CAQ to the Quebec Liberals. This just to make sure that the PQ doesn't get back into power. So, if the CAQ is smart, they will button it up, work with the Quebec Liberals to form a new government.

    This will allow the CAQ to demonstrate that it can handle certain goverenment posts within a coalition government.

    This will save us all another unwanted election so early in the game.

    And this will buy both the Quebec Liberals and the CAQ time to get their houses in order.

    It's a win win situation. Unless of course you happen to be the PQ.

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    1. Whynot: It's really not that simple. Unfortunately, John James "Goldilocks" Charest was a sore loser. He could have had the PLQ continue to pay him until a new leader is put in place. He'll be getting his MP's pension starting next summer and top that with his premier's pension five years hence. Both are fully indexed to the cost of living, so the man will never know deprivation and will never have to choose between food, medicine and paying rent. He'll never have a steady diet of pasta or canned cat food. He's set for life. Then again, he was in the job for 14 years. It's a grind, but he endured, and in fact he enjoyed it, but all good things must come to an end.

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  10. "Living within your means, and putting a little aside is a sure road map to prosperity. In tough times, spend less.
    It makes sense, even for a government."

    Actually, the opposite is probably more appropriate. In tough times -when the private sector is struggling- is when the government should spend more. Some of this is automatic (more people unemployed, so higher spending on welfare, unemployment insurance), but it could also make sense for governments to spend more to offset the weakness in demand in the private sector. By spending on infrastructure projects for example.

    What this needs though is for governments to restrain spending during the good times so that they have fire power ready when a recession hits. Unfortunately, this is not where politicians excel, and definitely not our politicians, be it PQ or PLQ.

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    1. Ah, a Keynesian loyalist! Unfortunately, Ben Bernanke has been pumping tons and tons of money into the economy (as is Jim Flaherty, but not as much), and if this continues, we're going to work our way back to 1981 when interest rates shot up to 22% due to inflation, and the whole thing will start all over again.

      In Quebec, like in Greece, people don't like to work, so they're in the pickle they are for obvious reasons. Quebec is heading down that same path. In fairness to the Greeks who have left Greece, I find they work very hard and are very industrious, so perhaps leaving that environment brings the best out of those who leave it.


      MikeFitz's post

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    2. Well Sauga, austerity tends to make bad things worse. Greece now has a staggering 25% unemployment.

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    3. Definitely not a loyalist. But wouldn't it be nice to have lower debt and be able to spend money on modernizing some of our aged infrastructure without having to worry about being downgraded by S&P and having to spend $8B on interest. I guess I was talking a little more about fiscal policy, not monetary policy.

      That being said, I do fear we are going the way of Greece. It has nothing to do with not liking work, but we have a bloated public service, an ageing population and we are not generating enough wealth. And this is true in many other Western countries, but when you compare us to the Canadian average, we do not compare favorably.

      But the trouble is that until there is a crisis, nobody will propose any real changes because at least in the short term, any real reforms will hurt and you will never get reelected.

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    4. Actually Ben Barnake is doing something more then just trying to ensure economic growth. They are trying to devalue the US dollar as much as they can. More then the United States it is China that is in a catch 22. The Chinese economy depends mostly on manufacturing exports. For China to make sure its products sell in the US market they must make sure that their currency does not appreciate vis a vis the US dollar. Therefore to keep the US dollar from devaluing to much China keeps buying US dollar currency and even treasury notes to prevent a massive devaluing of the dollar.

      Keynesian theory works when it is applied correctly and when you don't have massive amounts of your jobs offshored to other countries. When Jean Chretien got into power in the 1990s while the Liberals cut massive amounts of transfer payments to cut he deficit they also initiated massive amounts of infrastructure spending to help boost the economy. Since alot of manufacturing related to infrastructure was still in Canada it made a difference in at least minimizing further job losses. When the deficit was eliminated there were targeted personal income and corporate tax cuts. When Paul Martin became Prime Minister he could have reined in further tax cuts and started cuts in spending as the economy nearly hit its peak. The goodies handed out didn't work and the Liberals lost to the conservatives. When the conservatives took over they had a chance to let the economy cool off with a small housing crash in Canada that would have allowed prices for housing to level off and keep inflation in check. Also if they didn't cut the GST from 7 to 5%, income tax, reduce things like immigration fees and increased spending. The economy would have cooled, housing wouldn't have bubbled and there probably wouldn't be this a high a deficit. On the other hand Harper had to win an election and now we see the "fiscally" prudent conservative government in action with its massive deficit. Also while Ontario is economically mismanaged by an incompetent Liberal government, they still have a better record in cutting the deficit then the federal government.

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    5. Yannick: In actual fact, the unemployment rate is probably higher than the 25% the numbers "officially" indicate. In the U.S., "officially" there are 12 million people unemployed, but in reality it's closer to 23 million with people working part-time because they can't obtain full-time work at this point, others who have gone back to school to pass the time and possibly upgrade their skills, and some have had to go on welfare, etc.

      Jarry: Sounds like we both are seeing things go in the same direction. Devaluation of the U.S. currency spells inflation. Simply put, inflation is the depreciation of a currency. Since the early 1980s, inflation has been seen as the worst enemy of the economy hence the sharp increase in interest rates and the unemployment that ensued.

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  11. Why would anyone want to headquarter a corporation in Quebec if not for the tax subsidies? Take them away and watch all of those big buildings downtown empty out overnight. My wife works for a big company with it's "Headquarters" in Montreal. Every month, more and more things that used to be managed in Montreal are now managed out of Toronto. If the subsidies go away, all that will be left to do is take the sign off the building and move the presidents office to Toronto.

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    1. My company is currently doing the same thing. Its headquartered in here in Montreal but its been sending departments to Toronto for years. Any growth models we have is for Southern Ontario, Quebec is moribund. What we have witnessed in my lifetime is a massive transfer of capital out of Quebec. Toronto, as much as we hate to admit it, is on track to becoming a World Mega city with a population fast approaching 6 million.

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    2. Lord D.: Toronto IS a world megacity right now! It's not perfect, especially for mass transit, but there is a greater focus on improving that part of the infrastructure.

      There is no "language problem" here, and I know more people from more countries and cultures than I ever saw in Montreal. Their cultures are embraced here, and they are not second class citizens.

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  12. The CAQ is playing it smart by opposing the budget as they know the Liberals wont vote against it in enough numbers to make the government fall. Hence the CAQ can claim that they were the only party to oppose the PQ in totality. I like the CAQ but they are playing politics here but not a bad move in my opinion. The Liberals are stuck..they have to support the budget as the Libs and CAQ would likely have the most to lose if another election was called so soon. Plus the budget is really not that horrible..there isnt anything really offensive in it..the PQ did a pretty good job of coming down the middle.

    Given how poorly our infrastructure projects are managed I think its a good idea they cut money out of this area. Until the government can come up with a serious plan on how to tackle the corruption and mismanagement with large projects then it should cut back to begin with. Personally I think they should move more towards private partnerships like with the Autoroute 30..this is one of the few big projects that came in on schedule and on budget.

    I doubt the PQ will actually bring the deficit to zero..its one thing to forecast one but we will see if they come in. We could easily be into a recession by next year which would add another billion or so to the deficit so this zero deficit talk is well just talk.

    Its way too early for a coalition government. I think the CAQ and the Libs should let the PQ run the province for at least 18 months..chances are they will make a lot more mistakes. As well the economy is likely to be worse than forecast given what is going to happen in the USA next year. Hence stories of layoffs and so on will hurt the PQ. Plus a quick coalition would be political suicide for both the Libs and the CAQ. Remember the goal is to defeat the PQ govt soundly in the next election. I suspect in 18 months..spring 2014 when the next PQ budget is due this will be the time to pounce. By then there should be plenty of ammunition to bring down the PQ. Plus the Liberals will have their new leader..very likely Couillard.
    Still not a fan of the Liberals..my hope by then is that voters will have some common sense knocked into them and realize that the CAQ is the only viable option to cutting the waste in Quebec, tackling corruption, reducing the debt and taxes.


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    1. I agree with Complicated - let the PQ run the ship a while and steer it closer to the iceberg:

      http://www.lapresse.ca/actualites/quebec-canada/sante/201211/21/01-4596203-marois-veut-retarder-le-rattrapage-salarial-des-medecins.php

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    2. Actually Toronto has 2,615,060 people. The city of Montreal itself though has only 1,649,519 (doesn't include all of Montreal Island. It still means Toronto has about 1 million more people and 20 fewer councilors. Also Montreal has borough mayors where Toronto has none.

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  13. "As for me, I think I pulled away some interesting facts from the chart, the first and most important, the fact that almost half the budget goes to pay for government and quasi-government salaries which go up each year by a couple of percentage points adding a billion or two to the budget each year. The only way to change this is to cut down on the size of the civil service."

    It's interesting, because the public servants in Quebec are paid paltry amounts compared to what they could earn outside of Quebec. In my profession, one literally earns more starting outside Quebec than one would earn at the top of the salary tree in Quebec.

    To go and say that too much is spent in salaries, well... There's something crooked going on.

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    1. Yannick,

      My feeling is that it is not individual salaries that are higher, but that there is just more people employed in the public sector. So we need a higher number of people performing the same functions when compared to other provinces. Basically, we're less efficient. What I always think of is Revenue Quebec. While one agency (Revenue Canada) performs the tax collection function is the ROC, here we have 2 agencies. Just imagine the amount of work that gets duplicated when 2 people look at a tax return instead of 1.

      Here are a couple links on the public service from antagoniste.net, the website the Editor cites from time to time. The factors he mentions might go towards explaining the high cost of government in Quebec.

      http://www.antagoniste.net/2012/09/10/les-plusse-meilleurs-fonctionnaires-du-monde/
      http://www.antagoniste.net/2012/04/02/lisee-prise-10-les-fonctionnaires-quebecois/

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    2. "What I always think of is Revenue Quebec. While one agency (Revenue Canada) performs the tax collection function is the ROC, here we have 2 agencies. Just imagine the amount of work that gets duplicated when 2 people look at a tax return instead of 1."

      F**king finally!

      I always felt like the only one who pointed this one out, and it really is refreshing to see someone else on this blog bringing the point up. But Revenue Quebec really is one of the most heinous cases of massive job duplication in Quebec.

      PLUS...

      ...they're running a cartel - for a state that claims to be "socialist" RQ goes after anybody they can for a measly $10. These pirates would sell their own mothers down the river.

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    3. Your also forgetting the Quebec Government Immigration Department. Which might might be even more of a duplication then Revenue Quebec. Other provinces have their own special immigration programs but they are implemented by the Federal Immigration Dept.

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    4. I think its the sheer numbers of public servants that is the problem. It seems Quebec has a much higher number of public servants than most other provinces. As well its common knowledge that Quebec government workers use their sick leave as if its vacation leave. I have seen this myself..people in Alberta are much less likely to just take a day of sick leave for trivial reasons but in Quebec its the norm. There is of course the usual total mismanagement that is common in Quebec which of course costs more money.

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    5. Montreal = 64 city councillors for a population of 1,854,442

      Toronto = 44 city Councillors for a population of 6,054,191

      Ready to puke yet?

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    6. Assemblee nationale du Quebec: 125 seats for a pop. of 8.1M
      Legislative assembly of Ontario: 107 seats fir a pop. of 12.9M

      And remember, we cannot reduce the number of seats because the regions need to be properly represented.

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    7. Je me demande réellement ce qui peut bien retenir notre diable résident au Québec.

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    9. I know what I wrote is harsh...but I really do mean it. Please, as much as that comment may sting the senses, let's leave it up for sake of posterity...

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    10. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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    11. Désolé diablotin,Editor a été vraiment rapide sur celle-là,j'ai l'impression d'avoir raté une réplique croustillante...Dommage!

      Better luck next time :)

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    12. Oh no welfare-supreme...just look at the comment above and follow the instructions.

      Just because you ruined your own chances in life... ;-)

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    13. Sorry Ed - not until our resident Klansman gets the message...after all we live in a Quebec Libre, n'est-ce pas?

      What I said was: "S.R, the Editor, as I had predicted, removed my comment, but I do believe I owe it to you to see this message - I sincerely wonder how you can look at yourself in the mirror without seriously considering hanging yourself and thereby doing a massive favor to both tax payers and your son."

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    14. Tout ça pour ça?

      Je suis déçu,moi qui croyait que vous pouviez faire preuve d'un peu plus d'audace et surtout, être un cran plus corrosif que ma belle-mère à mon égard.

      Vous n'êtes pas à la hauteur de votre pseudo.

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    15. The whole province is nothing more than a disgrace. I can't believe the number of jobs that are duplicated with the feds plus duplicated by the province itself. Again, the socialist mentality of a place that is doomed.

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    16. "Vous n'êtes pas à la hauteur de votre pseudo."

      Well, I did get my hands on...

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    17. Ah S.R. se sent blessé évidement. Temps de se réveiller ‘Le petit’. Un cerveau, c’est la pire chose à gaspiller!

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    18. Toronto doesn't have 6 million people, not even the CMA of Toronto has 6 million people, the Greater Toronto Area which is much larger than the actual conurbation of Toronto has 6 million people. I consider the whole "GTA" idea as more of a method of trying to prioritise Toronto issues to larger governments by exaggerating its significance. The difference in population for Toronto and Montreal is actually much smaller. 64 city councillors is excessive, but Toronto hardly has triple Montreal's population.

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  14. You would think that with this many people reviewing tax returns, they could tell who needs $7.00 a day daycare and who can afford to send their kids to medical school, but they can't even pull that off.

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  15. The spirit of Adrien Arcand is alive and well in Montréal, though I'd imagine the culprits share neither his faith in federalism or the British monarchy. Perhaps Khadir Jr. has been violating the terms of her probation:

    UQAM Prof gets a nasty surprise

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  16. Yannick,

    Did you compare all the benefits such as early retirement alot of Quebec government workers are entitled too, or pension eligibility?

    There maybe more benefits to the Quebec Government Employees? Mr Sauga was mentioning a relative of his who worked in the Quebec Bureaucracy who was able to retire relatively early.

    Another thing about Government bureaucracy, I was told by someone who had an Ontario government job in the 80s that pay was usually lower then the private sector but benefits and pension was usually better. Now that many Private sector well paid jobs have been offshored it might be that in comparison the focus is on government employees and their benefits.

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    Replies
    1. Quebec Pensions payouts are lower than Canada Pensions, but perhaps the money is going in retiring people early. Why they would pay severance packages to do that is beyond me, but that might be the culprit.

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  17. On the PQ's useless and pathetic attempt on removing the winning team's flag from
    the AN: http://www.journaldemontreal.com/2012/11/21/lunifolie-va-rester-au-salon-rouge

    Les partis d’opposition auront un prix politique à payer, a réagi le whip en chef du gouvernement, Yves-François Blanchet, en après-midi. «Je rappelle que le fleurdelisé n’est pas un symbole souverainiste, mais le symbole national de tous les Québécois et sa présence exclusive dans le Parlement est le principe même qui veut qu’il n’y ait que l’Assemblée nationale et les élus du Québec qui ont juridiction dans cet immeuble»

    Contradict much?

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    Replies
    1. FROM ED BROWN
      Resident evil. One thing we do not do is go against the Editor who was good enough to allow us this site, just to get a message to S.R. The editor and others have asked us not to communicate with him. You are giving him what he wants, filling up the site with bullshit. I too have had a falling out with the Editor but I came to my senses and apologized. Let's show appreciation for the amount of work he does for all of us. Ed

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    2. I respect you greatly Ed, but must disagree with you on the subject of S.R. I think you are giving him way too much credit really, as if anything he says (whether we respond or not) has any bearing on anything or anyone. For the most part he is actually quite repetitive and mostly he’s always on the defence for being b*tch slapped! I read his comments merely for entertainment value. If you think about it, who in their right mind would hang around a blog that has nothing good to say, ever, about him and his kind, unless of course you’re a masochist, OR suffer from this insidious paranoia that the “aliens are coming, the aliens are coming” and the “sky is falling” as well!

      I, for one have never en gone on “Imperatif F” and the like cause I’m not even the slightly curious of what such a blog (or is it an actual website?), is up to.

      He hangs around here for the free English lessons and cause lives in constant fear we’re all plotting something and he must keep abreast, that OR he really really likes us!!! LOL

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  18. LD

    Revenue Quebec, Immigration Quebec, Emploi Quebec, Hema Quebec... These are all agencies that are duplicated from existing Canadian departments, which incidentally, we Quebec taxpayers are paying for twice! Thousands of Quebec public service employees that do duplicate work and when they retire, will draw full pensions most of us would kill for. All this waste because Québécois politicians want to act like they are a country. Don't forget all the mini-Quebec embassies all over the world stacked with friends of the Government of the day. Another wasteful duplication! Only when we hit the financial wall will they be forced to look at this. As a Quebec and Canadian taxpayer, I'm sick of paying twice for the same services only as a make work project for Francophones.

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  19. I've been saying the same thing forever but these stupid seppies don't let it sink in that they are paying twice for the same thing. You just can't explain to them that money is not there for their personal use to make them feel that they are a "country". Until this fact sinks in, this province will keep sinking deeper and deeper into debt, we will be bankrupt and our infrastructure will be ruined to the point of no return. It's really sad and stupid but when you read the comments from them on this blog, you realize that they really don't care if everyone in the province is on the dole. This socialist mentality is very apparent and the students taking to the streets again today for free tuition just shows the sense of entitlement in this place. Only a soup line for all will convince them that they are on the wrong track and it's not long in coming. Let's wait and see what good old P will do today - will she also be out banging pots with them again?

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  20. Hi guys, off topic ( well, on the long run could be on topic )

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=hJ_goXHZlPE

    Take a look at this story.

    Accepting immigrants from former France arab colonies just for the sake of french language will bring Quebec to where is France now ... same thing as for creole. I'm not saying that Quebec should stop accepting these guys, but impose the same requirements for everybody. This is why Quebec swallows more and more money as BS...

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  21. Want to see where our money is going?
    http://www.lapresse.ca/le-droit/economie/201211/21/01-4596408-des-millions-dans-les-poches-des-bougons-.php?
    With all the people that the province employs, how come they can't stop this on-going fraud? Surely there are checks and balances in place but they obviously don't work.

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  22. FROM ED BROWN
    The problem with duplication of services is that it has become a 'Catch 22' situation. Even though the
    jobs at Income Tax, Immigration and other departments are all french, at least they are working and paying income tax. If we closed down those departments we have thousands more unemployed and living on welfare. By the by, often I find when I call federal Income tax I am still talking to a Frenchman. My grandaughter at 18 has just finished college and is working for the Federal income tax on Dorchester street. She is fluent in french written and oral but says she doesn't need it there. Ed

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  23. For sure Ed - most jobs in the federal public service are now "bilingual imperative" positions and are filled by francophones. If you are not bilingual in the public service, you can believe that your chances for promotion are few and far between. It's been that way for a long time and that's what a lot of anglophones object to because they find that they are not required to use french most of the time.

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  24. FROM ED BROWN
    Anectote, Thanks but it's not important that you agree with me although I appreciate your respect, thanks. The point is that the Editor has asked that we not encourage him. It's obvius that he is out to destroy the usefulness of the site as much as he can. I pointed out on one of the older blogs that 63% of the days comments had been arguing with him.(SR) Since then everybody except two complied with Editor. That's not what the Editor goes to the trouble and expense for. Perhaps my age, born at a time where we toed the line and respected the man at the top makes me see things differently. Ed

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  25. Oh brother, the pots and pans are back. I thought it was all over. Just let Montreal get a good night's sleep for 3 months. Is that too much to ask for? What kind of jerk thought of such a ridiculously unrealistic idea as free tuition, especially in the financial crisis Quebec is in? What's next, demanding free- wait I don't want to give them any more ideas.

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  26. ***NEWS FLASH!***
    I just saw an article on the National News about taxing booze. From what I understand, the tax is being charged retroactively, and restaurants are going to have to absorb the tax on bottles already sold(?) As if running a restaurant or watering hole isn't hard enough already!

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  27. What a great post.

    Thank you, Editor. Putting the basic categories for revenue and spending in such clear language gives a great overall picture.

    Wikipedia has great pages for the U.S. federal government budget where they do pretty much the same thing: how much comes in, how much goes out, and what the major categories of spending and receipt are.

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