Quebec budget

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QC’s 2024-2025 budget presents challenges and opportunities for Pontiac

Carl Hager & Tashi Farmilo
Local Journalism Initiative

QUEBEC – The Quebec government’s 2024-2025 budget has sparked a debate in the Pontiac region, with concerns raised about its impact on local economic development, government operations, and community support. André Fortin, Pontiac Liberal MNA, expressed his apprehensions regarding the budget, which represents the largest deficit in Quebec’s history and a government attempt to tighten its budgetary belt.

Fortin criticized the budget for a lack of new measures to enhance productivity and support for the agricultural sector, which is crucial for rural Pontiac. He also expressed disappointment in the government’s plan to phase out subsidies for the purchase of electric vehicles and the anticipated reduction in infrastructure spending in the Outaouais.

“Organizations expecting grant money will be hard pressed to get anything from the government as it will be tightening its budgetary belt, making it very difficult for local communities to access funds for their projects. This is the result of the Quebec government posting its largest budgetary deficit ever. Grants for housing, roads, and special projects will be difficult to obtain,” Fortin told the Journal.

“The budget counts the largest deficit in Quebec’s history at $11 billion. This is the direct result of bad decisions and excessive spending by the CAQ [Coalition Avenir Québec],” Fortin stated. “The Outaouais will receive only 3.6% of the province’s infrastructure spending over the next few years, meaning we’ll be able to build or improve fewer schools and roads than other regions,” he added.

Despite these concerns, the budget does contain some positive aspects, such as enhanced pensions for seniors with disabilities.

Suzanne Tremblay, Hull MNA, expressed pride in the government’s budget, highlighting its focus on health and education as the top priorities for Quebecers. “We’re making the necessary choices: $2.9 billion in savings by 2028-2029 by optimizing state action, and a prudent financial framework, which includes $7.5 billion in provisions to deal with economic uncertainty,” Tremblay said.

The budget outlines a plan to generate $2.9 billion in savings over five years through the optimization of government action, with significant investments in health, education, and environmental sustainability.

It also proposes a review of government interventions to improve efficiency and generate additional revenue.

Fortin emphasized the need for a real plan to recruit, attract, and retain personnel in education and healthcare to ensure the effective use of the budget’s allocations for these sectors.