PQ to table budget on Nov. 20
Nicolas Marceau is the PQ finance minister
Published Monday, November 5, 2012 11:32AM EST
Last Updated Monday, November 5, 2012 1:29PM EST
The new Parti Quebecois government is moving quickly to introduce a new budget.
It will be tabled on November 20th, whereas most governments table their budgets in March.
The last time a Quebec government tabled a fall budget was under the PQ in 2001, when then-Finance Minister Pauline Marois said new stimulus measures were required because of the 9/11 attacks.
Elected on Sept 4, the PQ has already come under fire for flip-flopping on a number of budgetary issues, including changing its position on a health tax.
Several PQ members say the budget must be introduced this month because of discrepancies left behind by the previous Liberal governnment, noting within the past two months that the Liberals had left behind an $800,000 'hole' in finances.
The PQ's decision to annul university tuition hikes planned by the previous Liberal government also added to the deficit.
In the statement issued by Finance MInister Nicolas Marceau, he wrote "Waiting until the spring of 2013 will only delay the identification and the creation of an action plan which are necessary to put Quebec on track for budgetary equilibrium next year."
Tabling an early budget could be dangerous for the minority government because a defeat would likely mean another election.
However, observers say that without a leader, its unlikely the Liberals would want to topple the government now.
Another possibility of the PQ government being defeated on a confidence motion is for the Liberals, with 50 seats, four fewer than the PQ, to approach the lieutenant-governor and ask for the chance to govern.
The provincial Liberal party is set to choose Jean Charest's successor on March 17. Jean-Marc Fournier is acting as interim leader.
Leadership candidate Raymond Bachand, who was the previous finance minister, said tabling the budget in the fall, before the opposition selects a new leader would be pure politics from the PQ.
"A budget is not improvised," said Bachand. "They are incapable of managing, incapable of controlling spending, and they froze revenues. They want to provoke a reaction because they are in a political panic."
Last week both the Coalition Avenir Quebec and the Liberal party said they would not approve of any tax hikes in any future PQ plan.
"I will wait to see what's in [the budget]," said Bachand. "If there are any tax hikes, we will vote against it."