By Robert Frank
Laval’s four Liberal members of the Quebec legislature held a joint news conference, Dec. 18, to castigate Premier Pauline Marois for what they termed “incompetence and dissembling.”
Francine Charbonneau (Mille Îles), Jean Rousselle (Vimont), Gilles Ouimet (Fabre) and Guy Ouellette (Chomedey) said that the trial balloons the Parti Québécois has sent up during its first hundred days in power “have led to financial distress.”
They castigated the new government’s decision to close the Gentilly-2 nuclear power plant before studying the impact of the decision, and lampooned Minister of Education Diane de Courcy “for treating English as a foreign language.”
They also condemned the government for declaring war on the province’s universities, “rather than supporting institutions of higher learning.”
Their most pointed criticism was reserved for the péquistes mismanagement of Quebec’s economy, “which has financial markets worried about this governments’ improvisation.”
“Services to citizens—including health and education—will be cut in the short- and long-term,” they said. “The government has opted to impose budget cuts on universities, research and development and support to businesses. This will have a long-term impact on the province’s ability to generate enough revenue in coming years to support [government] services to citizens.”
“That will lead to a vicious circle,” they warned. “Cuts to services now means cuts to revenues later. Without new sources of revenue, that can only lead to still more service cuts.”
The quartet also took aim at a péquiste minister’s alleged interference in an environment tribunal, as well as for having anointed former Parti Québécois leader André Boisclair with the lifetime golden parachute—at the expense of Quebec’s already overburdened taxpayers.
In addition, they reminded their constituents that Marois had attempted to justify her plan to impose retroactive taxes by pretending that she had campaigned on that platform.
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