(Quebec) Premier François Legault claims he is searching for methods to rally Quebecers to strengthen his balance of power with Ottawa for the second time since his reelection four months ago. Despite the fact that Quebec continues to benefit financially from federalism, he mentions creating a special committee to address the “fiscal imbalance.”
François Legault declared his intention to “push” his demand for Ottawa to be given more authority in immigration concerns and “halt the collapse of French” by organizing Quebecers around this issue on October 4, the day after winning. He left open the possibility of holding the Estates General or a commission in the Bélanger-Campeau model. He did not completely rule out a sectoral referendum during the election campaign.
On Tuesday, Mr. Legault claimed he was considering how to persuade Ottawa to change its mind over funding for healthcare. The Séguin commission on the budgetary imbalance from the early 2000s was brought up when he discussed holding a special commission in this instance as well. Even if his government “is not there” at the moment, he did not rule out the use of a sectoral referendum.
The “insufficient” offer from Ottawa of $46.2 billion over ten years, or one-sixth of their demand, was accepted by Francois Legault and the other provincial premiers. Over the following ten years, Quebec will get around nine billion. Mr. Legault responded that the financing of healthcare “is not totally decided” and that he wanted to keep demanding more money in response to the opposition’s accusation that he was resigned.
The fact that the federal government collects about half of the taxes paid by Quebecers but only contributes to approximately a quarter of health care spending, he claims, “doesn’t make sense.” It is a “structural problem,” in his opinion. He said that in order to resolve it one day, Quebecers will need to be mobilized during a press conference on Tuesday.
“There is no doubt that a fiscal imbalance exists. To exert political pressure on the federal government, we need to find a means to increase public awareness, he said.
According to polls, “the general public believes that health is important. But how can we accept that even while Ottawa receives over half of our taxes, it only provides funding for 25% of health care? There is a difficulty. We will have to consider how to make it a priority, he says.
Since 2020, François Legault has led an effort similar to other prime ministers to persuade Ottawa to raise health transfers by $28 billion annually. He claimed that Justin Trudeau “took advantage of the complexities” of the subject if he had lost his case. “Listen, ten, one hundred, two hundred billion… Explaining the waltz of the billions is difficult. He continues that the premiers have noted that “there is no such pressure” on Ottawa without drawing the conclusion that the Council of the Federation is ineffective.
He urged Quebecers to keep in mind the Trudeau government’s inadequate offer during the next federal election last week.
We must consider how to make it a top priority. Let’s not forget the most recent federal election, of course. I said during the campaign that Mr. Trudeau was not amenable to raising health transfers or giving us more control over immigration. He still went to get about thirty deputies in spite of this. Work needs to be done, he admitted.
It will be “a great struggle” to make the subject of health transfers one of the election’s top priorities. Similar remarks were made about immigration and French concerns, and he reiterated that his government will need to work to get Quebecers involved.
François Legault reiterates that federalism is “beneficial for the present” financially even as he bemoans the existence of fiscal imbalance. He begged, “We receive [from the federal government] 10 billion more than what we give,” aiming an accusing finger at PQ leader Paul St-Pierre Plamondon who, in his words, will have problems “closing this hole” in its budget for a soon-to-be-debated independent Quebec. He “finds it short” to suggest a referendum on sovereignty as a means of resolving his issues with Ottawa.
Marc Tanguay, the Liberal Party of Quebec’s acting leader, has expressed his displeasure with François Legault’s “resignation” in the health transfers case.
According to Manon Massé, the co-spokesperson for Quebec Solidaire, the Prime Minister has cashed in on “a failure that creates a hole of five billion dollars in the Quebec budget.”
Paul St-Pierre Plamondon, the head of the Parti Québécois, believes that François Legault lacks a fighting spirit in his opposition to Ottawa. The occurrence, he continues, “shows that the Council of the Federation is ineffectual. All he offers us is a few days where he is outraged and then tries to bury these problems as if they had not occurred.” A motion put out by the PQ that stated, among other things, that “the current Canadian framework and its budgetary imbalance puts Quebec in a difficult situation from a financial point of view” was overwhelmingly adopted by the National Assembly.
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