Marois attempts hard sell to business audience
Published Tuesday, August 28, 2012 6:15PM EDT
Last Updated Tuesday, August 28, 2012 7:05PM EDT
MONTREAL - Pauline Marois was tossing verbal darts from the podium at Francois Legault Tuesday, as she targeted her CAQ rival relentlessly in a speech to business leaders at Montreal’s Board of Trade.
The PQ leader, currently frontrunner in the upcoming election, aimed at Legault’s plan to increase capital gains taxes and cut tax credits to businesses.
She even speculated on what she described as Legault’s “secret agenda” to raise electricity rates.
Marois attempted to undermine Legault’s reputation as an economics expert to the business crowd, accusing him of reckless spending and a lack of courage.
She blamed Legault for teaming up with Lucien Bouchard to create a zero-deficit strategy when in the PQ and said that small businesses will be forced to pay $468 million in additional taxes under the CAQ.
However some onlookers were finding fault in Marois herself instead.
They include Pierre Duhamel, a journalist at L’Actualite magazine, who notes that Marois has no apparent plans to develop the north.
“You know the Liberal government expects that the north will be a boom sector for Quebec, a huge economic impact, but for Mrs Marois the north doesn't exist,” said Duhamel.
Meanwhile the PQ's plans to increase subsided daycare and freeze tuitions are not necessarily a good fit with the business community, he noted.
“When I’m not in a good mood I call them Quebec Solidaire Light or Diet Quebec Solidaire,” quipped Duhamel, referring to the PQ’s left-of-centre separatist rival.
Duhamel also thinks that the PQ plan to raise taxes on those earning more than $130,000 and hold another referendum will keep the business community from embracing her party.
“The taxation level with the PQ government will be much higher than in Ontario and if we say that we want to protect head offices in Montreal, we have to be very competitive from a taxation point of view and with the PQ that won’t be the case,” said Duhamel.
The Board of Trade doesn’t look entirely comfortable with the PQ policies either.
“What we can say is businesses always like stability and predictability and if the PQ is elected then we'll have all the time to clarify their intent and the implications for the business community,” said Montreal Board of Trade President Michel Leblanc.