Elections 2022: 10 good economic measures | Elections Quebec 2022

I am particularly surprised to see the CAQthe QLP and the PCQ propose tax cuts that will deprive the health and education networks of several billion dollars in the coming years. We know how much the networks need support, how much the infrastructures need love and money. And we also know that our growth will be reduced in the coming decades by one of the largest aging populations in the world.

So, in the little unpretentious list that I am offering you today, you will understand that I have trouble inserting the proposals for tax cuts as being good economic measures. Quebecers are heavily taxed, it’s true. But they also benefit from extensive public services and an important social safety net. Above all, is it desirable, in the context of a possible recession in 2023, to risk returning to structural deficits and to have to, in a few years, announce to Quebecers that taxes must finally be raised?

Moreover, many measures were presented as solutions to combat inflation. This is a frankly misleading description. Lowering taxes and giving checks are measures that can have the opposite effect: stimulate consumption, further fuel inflation. I am convinced that our leaders understand this, but they are probably giving in to the electoral sirens…

And then, about the Generations Fund, Quebec solidaire said Friday that the party wants to put an end to contributions to the Fund, contributions that will soon reach $ 5 billion per year. The Coalition Avenir Québec, for its part, wants to use 40% of the planned payments to lower taxes. These are legitimate proposals, but since the Generations Fund is a very important tool for Quebec’s financial stability, doesn’t it deserve a broader, longer and more fundamental debate?

So, here are 10 good economic measures that seem quite interesting for the future of Quebec. This list is not exhaustive, especially since other promises are to come. But, all the same, several measures deserve our attention.

1- A PassClimate from $365 – PQ

One of the most original proposals of the campaign is possibly that of the Parti Québécois to set up a PassClimate of $365 per year to provide unlimited access to all public transportation in Quebec. This passport would be free for people aged 65 and over. Note that Québec solidaire, for its part, proposes to lower public transport fares by 50% and to create Québec Rail and Québec Bus to ensure a supply of transport throughout Québec, between cities.


2- Money for seniors – CAQ and PLQ

About a third of seniors receive the guaranteed income supplement. As pointed out by the CAQ in a press release at the end of August, nearly half of people aged 70 and over have an income of less than $25,000 in Quebec. And 8% have less than $15,000 a year. The CAQ therefore proposes to increase the tax credit for assistance for seniors to raise it from $411 to $2,000. The maximum amount would be granted to people earning less than $24,195 per year and would be gradually reduced to $64,195. This measure targets a population that needs new financial support from the State. Let us add that the QLP offers a seniors allowance $2,000 for those earning less than $50,000 with a gradual reduction beyond that income.


3- Enhancement of the solidarity tax credit – PQ and PLQ

The solidarity tax credit is paid to low-income people. The Parti Québécois is proposing to double the credit while the QLP proposes to improve it over the next four years. According to the Chair in Taxation and Public Finance at the University of Sherbrooke, more than 2.8 million households benefited from the credit in 2018 for a total expenditure of $1.74 billion. According to the financial framework of the QLPthe credit enhancement would cost nearly $500 million more over time.


4- Universal dental insurance – QS

If there is a loophole in public health protection, it is dental care. The Trudeau government announced Thursday the start of the process to set up public dental insurance. Québec solidaire has seized on the same project and proposes to set up, if it is brought to power, in a first term, insurance that would cover dental costs for young people under 18, service providers assistance and people receiving the Guaranteed Income Supplement. Part of the cost of cleaning, preventive care, fillings and root canal treatments would also be covered by this insurance. Note that the Parti Québécois offers a similar program for children and low-income people.


5- No longer tax basic necessities – PLQ and QS

Lowering taxes or sending checks, these are measures that could be welcomed by the population, but which could amplify the problem of inflation and not the contrary. By abolishing the QST on basic necessities, the QLP would put in place an effective measure against inflation that would benefit everyone, but more the less well-off, whose share of the budget devoted to food products is much higher than the wealthier people. It should be noted that Québec solidaire is proposing a similar measure, but which would be temporary, until inflation returns below the 3% mark, a proposal which would be less costly for the State in the long term.


6- Increase the basic exemption – PCQ

If there is a tax cut that deserves to be applauded, it is that of the Conservative Party of Quebec, which targets the poorest in society. The Conservative Party would like, if elected, to increase the basic personal exemption from $15,728 to $20,000. Certainly, everyone could benefit from it. But what is important to understand is that the reductions in tax brackets, proposed by the CAQthe QLP and the PCQ, do not benefit the poorest. Increasing the basic exemption would allow the most disadvantaged to benefit from a form of tax reduction. The Liberal Party is proposing to raise the exemption for workers aged 65 and over from $15,728 to $30,000, a tax cut that could encourage seniors to stay or return to work, an essential contribution in a context of labor shortage.


7- Cap government tariffs – CAQ

This is probably the measure that comes closest to the concept and philosophy of an anti-inflation shield. As in France, imposing a stop-notch on an increase aims to protect the population from excessive price growth. Thus, the CAQ proposes to cap the increase in government tariffs at 3%. If inflation is lower than this level, then the increase would be lower for electricity, child care, registration, driver’s license and tuition fees. The CAQ estimates that Quebecers could save nearly $2.2 billion over the next four years. After deciding to tie the increase in electricity rates to inflation, the CAQ chose to cap the increase at 3% because of the risk of seeing rates increase by 6 to 8% in April 2023. A bill was tabled before the election, which however died on the order paper. The party intends to expand the cap on rate increases, if re-elected.


8- Affordable houses and condos – QS

Parties tend to make big promises on social and affordable housing every election. Unfortunately, the results are not always there and many households are struggling to find suitable housing for their families. Québec solidaire is proposing an original idea, the application of which would be complex, but which deserves to be studied. Inspired by Bernie Sanders, when he was mayor of Burlington, Vermont, Québec solidaire wants to make 10,000 homes and condominiums affordable through land trusts. QS proposes to create an anti-speculation fund of 1 billion dollars, which would be managed by the Société d’habitation du Québec and local organizations, which could buy back properties and resell them, but while keeping the land. This would reduce selling prices by 25%. It’s a complex idea and the market effects may be underestimated. But, it is an idea that deserves to be questioned.


9- Break up agricultural land – PLQ

Anyone who travels a bit in the countryside has already heard of the difficulties for young people to have access to land, which is often impossible to divide. the QLP, if he took power, would like to allow the parcelling out of land for different agricultural projects. This kind of initiative could support the development of a different, intensive and organic agriculture, the model put forward by market gardener Jean-Martin Fortier. Note that Québec solidaire also wishes to encourage the development of agriculture on small plots.


10- Rethinking the Generations Fund – PLQ

This campaign revived the debate on the future of the Generations Fund. If the CAQ proposes to use 40% of the payments to lower taxes, and Québec solidaire wants to stop paying sums into the Fund, the proposal of the QLP seems more reasonable and could give us time to calmly debate the relevance of the Fund. the QLP proposes to maintain payments to the Fund until Québec’s net debt, currently at 38% of the GDPis in line with the Canadian average, at 32%.

These are a few measures that can have a real and positive impact on the economy, on the personal finances of people who need support. There are other party proposals, which no doubt deserve greater attention. There will be other proposals.

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