Opposition parties won’t back retroactive tax hikes
Published Wednesday, September 26, 2012 1:05PM EDT
Last Updated Wednesday, September 26, 2012 7:02PM EDT
Just one week since being sworn in as the provincial government, the Parti Quebecois is focusing on damage control.
The party is trying to manage a backlash over its proposal to impose retroactive tax hikes on higher-income earners.
Going into a cabinet meeting in Quebec City on Wednesday, the Minister of Democratic Institutions said the public should be happy with the quick action and flurry of ministerial decrees already imposed.
"We are respecting our promises. We need the time to get installed, but we made promises and we are following through on them," said Bernard Drainville.
"I think that the people appreciate that a political party that takes action and respects its word, and that's what we've done."
Meanwhile the minority government is being reminded that it needs support from the opposition to pass budget bills and that at the moment that support is non-existent.
The Liberal party has already said the PQ appears to be improvising, with former finance minister Raymond Bachand calling the PQ "incompetent."
“I won't stand for the retroactive tax and it's very clear -- this is odious,” he said.
Interim leader Jean-Marc Fournier said earlier this week his party will not support a retroactive tax hike, and is demanding to see a new financial plan by next week.
“We are asking the government to do the right thing for the economy. When they propose retroactivity that they hid before, certainly that's a bad thing,” he said
Finance Minister Nicolas Marceau to say he will negotiate the proposal to reach a compromise.
“We are open. We are a minority government, and we understand that Quebecers want us to negotiate, to collaborate, to reach an agreement, and we will make the effort required to obtain that,” he said.
Francois Legault, leader of the Coaliton Avenir Quebec and the second opposition party, said he is not going to help the PQ increase taxes on anyone in Quebec.
And if that leads to a new election, so be it.
"It wouldn't make sense to see a new election but it's in the hands of Mme. Marois right now. She knows very well that she only got 32 per cent of support, so she cannot take decisions against the majority of Quebecers," said Legault.
Fournier said now is not the time to bring down the government.
“We are at the beginning of a parliament that never sat! So let's start at the beginning,” he said.
Legault said he is willing to go along with the elimination of the $200 health tax and the billion-dollar hole it has left in the province's finances, but said any lost revenue must be dealt with by reducing government expenditures.
Bernard Drainville, Minister of Democratic Institutions, walks into a cabinet meeting in Qc. City (Sept. 26, 2012)