After two years of austerity, our provincial government announced this week it’s flush with cash: $2.2 billion.

That’s fine and dandy and some of that money will go where it’s needed in education and health.

But where are those tax cuts the Liberals promised us? We still pay some of the highest taxes anywhere. And with respect to personal income taxes, Quebec is what the economists call ‘uncompetitive.’ This is one issue in which the CAQ is spot on.

“This government does not have any respect for the families of the middle class,” said CAQ leader Francois Legault.

It’s about putting more money in the pockets of Quebecers because of high taxes. We are poorer and have one of the lowest levels of real growth in the country.

The problem is, despite the austerity measures, Quebec is still over governed, with too many agencies, regies, and societies and bureaucrats.

But I fear that no one has the guts to tackle the real issues. It’s because of entitlements, big unions and the famous droits acquis: acquired rights. You pay, I pay. And in the end, we all pay.

Orange cones everywhere

The last thing we needed to hear this week was that not only will road and sewer work in Montreal continue for another 10 years, it will get worse – much worse.

Why don’t we just shut down the city and all move? How about the Turks and Caicos? But seriously, I don’t deny that work has to be done. But can the bright lights in city hall please try talk to each other? Try to figure out how to make it easier for everyone.

It doesn’t make any sense when there is major construction on Rene Lévesque Blvd., de Maisonneuve Blvd., Sherbrooke St. and Dr-Penfield Ave. and then Ste-Catherine St. closes down all summer for a street festival. And does the city really coordinate with Transports Quebec and with the Bridges Corporation? I have my doubts. A decade of despair. Send in the cones.

When is a discount not a discount? When it comes from the SAQ

Is the SAQ is finally waking up or just hoping we are sleeping? After gouging us for years on wine, the big monopoly wants to get its prices in line with the LCBO in Ontario.

Mind you not right away, the first step will be discounting most of its wine by 50 cents a bottle. Of course, that is after actually raising prices on many wines not so very long ago. Earlier this year, despite record profits, prices rose by an average of 65 cents a bottle, so do the math. After the 50-cent discount, we will actually end up paying 15 cents more a bottle than we did a year ago. Some discount.

Another beef I have with the SAQ is its almost total ignorance of Canadian wine.

Our vintners in Ontario and B.C. are making world-class wines, but try to get your hands on more than a few in most SAQs. It is next to impossible. I suspect it’s because the SAQ makes a bigger profit margin on cheap plonk from other countries. I also suspect the SAQ has an anti-Canadian bias. I mean, if you are looking for a Niagara Riesling or an Okanagan pinot noir, in most SAQs, you might find them under the sign that says “other countries.” There you go. Canada, it seems, is another country to the SAQ politburo I will still visit the LCBO whenever I can. I suspect the SAQ is running a little scared from the possibility of losing its monopoly, and this price epiphany will probably turn out to be nothing more than marketing. Like I say, just do the math.