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Marois opposed to sharing future Quebec oil wealth
MONTREAL - A new PQ publicity campaign promoting sovereignty – which the party claims is the first-ever launched without an election or referendum on the horizon – makes cryptic reference to a possible future Quebec as an oil exporter.
In a one-minute speech shot from a Montreal high-rise officer tower, Premier Pauline Marois makes the case that Quebec taxpayers would be wealthier if they only had one level of government to support.
She also argues that Quebec should not have to hand over any future oil wealth to Canada.
Quebec is not currently an oil exporter but there has been speculation that the province could one day produce between 200 and 300 billion barrels of oil from the Anticosti Islands in the Gulf of St. Lawrence.
But one economist discourages any frothy optimism.
“It really is very hypothetical and if it does happen, it's very far in the future as well,” said Ian Irvine of Concordia University’s Economics department.
Irvine pointed out that the PQ doesn't currently object to taking money sent from other oil-producing Canadian provinces.
“We receive about $8 billion a year in equalization payments and a lot of that wealth would not come to us were it not for the fact that that there were very profitable oil and resource development in other provinces,” said Irvine
Marois did not pitch sovereignty in a speech before a business audience Monday.
She also declined to make herself available to answer any questions about the issue at the meeting.
And a representative from the organization that hosted her also avoided taking a stand on the divisive issue of independence.
“We think the best independence we can have is the independence of controlling our economy,” said Yves-Thomas Dorval of the Conseil du Patronat.