Quebec – With one voice, the major unions are calling on the Legault government to delay the return to balanced budgets and debt repayment.
They propose to increase tax revenue and in particular to call for a more ambitious stimulus plan, whereby Quebec could add an additional $ 20 billion to the $ 18 billion already spent.
This can be read in a joint summary obtained by The Canadian Press and presented Monday as part of previous budget consultations. After that, union leaders will meet with Finance Minister Eric Gerrard, with the goal of preparing the 2021-2022 budget.
The Confederation of Quebec Workers (FTQ), the Confederation of National Trade Unions (CSN), the Central Unions of Quebec (CSQ) and the Democratic Trade Union Center (CSD) are calling for a seven-year delay to return to zero deficits, but planned over a five-year period by law.
Since the government closed the door to an estimated increase in its revenues from its own sources, all that remains is budget cuts to achieve a zero deficit. Such a scenario is unacceptable. “
The unions fear a “return to austerity” that may affect public services, and believe that the debt is already under control, because “there is no spiral of debt looming”.
In addition, they suggest suspending payments to the Generations Fund, which is used to pay off debt.
We can read, “It is sad to see the government allocating $ 2.7 billion to pay off debts (the Generations Fund) in the midst of an unprecedented crisis.”
Health and education
In the 38-page document, they especially want the state to impose more on doctors by withdrawing their right to establish.
Likewise, federations and union centers are proposing to review progressive taxation of capital gains and propose taxation of large digital companies.
The major unions are calling for a massive and “urgent” reinvestment in health and education, to compensate for the chronic lack of investment in these missions compared to other provinces.
Is this an explanation of Quebec’s sad performance in controlling the epidemic? It is difficult to exclude this explanatory factor. “
In the current context of negotiations with the public sector, workers’ organizations are demanding that “the growth of budgets allow a real improvement in working conditions for thousands of men, especially women, who every day keep our public services at their disposal. The end of weapons.”
Finally, the unions suggest that the recovery be used to rebuild Quebec’s manufacturing sector, in order to reduce its dependence on imports, but also, because these jobs are both paid and innovative.
Thus, secondary and tertiary processing activities should be encouraged, in addition to Quebec’s purchasing policy, such as the US Procurement Act.
The unions are also calling for better support to the sectors most affected by the epidemic and broadening consultations on recovery.
They even allow themselves to attack a relative of Prime Minister Francois Legault, Economy Minister, Pierre Fitzgibbon, who will largely lead the relaunch of Quebec.
According to them, Mr. Fitzgibbon did not respond to the call for dialogue, “whose pursuit of synergies and innovation centers does not seem to venture outside the closed doors of a restricted circle of insiders.”