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PQ envisions a Quebec with its own currency and an association with Canada

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A Quebec currency, an associated Canada: that's the independent Quebec that Parti Quebecois (PQ) leader Paul St-Pierre Plamondon envisions.

Economy Minister Pierre Fitzgibbon, for his part, retorted that he would take the American dollar.

The day after his new MNA Pascal Paradis, an "independentist convinced that it will happen," entered the Salon Bleu, the PQ leader was asked on Wednesday to elaborate on his conception of a sovereign state, borders, defence, currency, etc.

The PQ government's response was to say that it would have to be a sovereign state.

The CAQ government replied that a national currency was "not a sign of sovereignty," in the words of Fitzgibbon.

Next Monday, St-Pierre Plamondon is also due to present his "Year 1 budget," i.e. a projection of income and expenditure for the first year of an independent Quebec.

"Ultimately, the theoretical answer, the absolute answer, is that Quebec would benefit from having its own monetary policy based on our economic imperatives and not those of Alberta and Ontario," he argued, in favour of a Quebec currency.

In his view, the Bank of Canada's current policy does not serve Quebec's interests because the Canadian dollar is artificially inflated by Alberta's oil, and this hurts the province's exports. 

U.S. DOLLAR

Is there an advantage to minting your own currency?

"No," replied Fitzgibbon at a press scrum on Wednesday morning.

"A currency is not a sign of sovereignty; that's not what's important," he said. "I would take the American dollar."

In addition, the PQ leader is not in favour of outright independence, but rather of sovereignty-association with Canada.

He believes that regional interests will continue to predominate and that Quebec's neighbours will, therefore, be partners.

He said he believes in "good faith negotiations where the interests of both sides are well served because we will always remain loyal to the geopolitical interests of North America, particularly in terms of resources and defence."

LEGAULT

For his part, Premier François Legault believes that Quebec cannot do without Canada because of the considerable equalization payments received by the province.

He is urging the PQ leader to publish his Year 1 budget to see how he will make up the shortfall.

"I can't wait to see what he'll do with the $13 billion equalization hole," said Legault on his way to Question Period.

LIBERAL PARTY

The Quebec Liberal Party (QLP) said there is no evidence that an independent Quebec would be viable.

Although two of its previous leaders, Jean Charest and Philippe Couillard, believed that a sovereign Quebec would be economically viable, the Liberal opposition now has its doubts.

"I haven't seen any studies yet, and I invite the Parti Québécois to show us some," said Liberal MNA Monsef Derraji skeptically at a press scrum. "I have yet to see any studies in 2023 that show me the viability of a model."

Interim Liberal leader Marc Tanguay was more scathing. On the social media site X, formerly Twitter, he accused the PQ of turning their backs on the real problems facing Quebecers.

"While the PQ is dreaming of a PQ dollar, we Liberals are worried about the number of Canadian dollars in the pockets of Quebecers who are being hit hard by inflation," he wrote. 

This report by The Canadian Press was first published in French on Oct. 18, 2023.

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