Quebec’s Liberal government defended their economic plan against opposition charges that announced tax breaks are an election-year ploy aimed at buying votes on Wednesday.
On Tuesday, Finance Minister Carlos Leitao gave an update on the provincial economy. He announced plans for widespread tax cuts that will range from $278 to $1,200 per family, depending on marital status and size. Also included was the announcement that parents should expect receive cheques of $100 per child to buy school supplies.
While Leitao attributed the cuts, which come less than a year before October’s provincial election, to a $4.5 billion surplus, Parti Quebecois leader Jean-Francois Lisee accused the Liberals of trying to trick voters.
“Economists would tell you that had they paced more humanely the return to zero deficits, there would have been much less pain, a little more growth but no electoral gifts,” he said. “The whole thing was made to come to electoral gifts in the last year. That’s the height of cynicism.”
PQ Finance critic Nicolas Marceau was more blunt.
"I think that Quebecers can see what is going on, but that Mr. Couillard underestimate Quebecers," said Marceau. "He really thinks that Quebecers are idiots, yes."
Leitao countered that the Liberals were fulfilling promises made years ago.
“Once we generated surpluses, half of those surpluses would go to reduce the fiscal burden and that’s exactly what we said,” he said. “To try and do that earlier as some of our opposition friends want to do would have liked to do would have been irresponsible. “