The spring session of the National Assembly had barely ended when Quebec Liberal Leader Dominique Anglade shifted into electoral mode, launching her pre-election campaign and laying out her party’s platform for the October election on Saturday.
Some 400 PLQ loyalists gathered in Montreal for their general council meeting, where the PLQ revealed that the cost of living will be at the heart of its election campaign, promising tax cuts for the middle class in order to ease its financial burden in the face of rising inflation.
“The issue of the cost of living is on everyone’s lips,” Anglade told reporters during a Saturday scrum, criticizing Premier Francois Legault’s response to inflation.
“We’ve been saying for months that we need to have measures that are long-term measures, not a check here and there, but something that helps people and is predictable.”
A Liberal government would cut taxes by 1.5% for taxpayers earning less than $92,000 a year, saving people about $1,000 a year. It would cost the government about $2 billion a year.
In turn, those earning $300,000 or more per year would see their tax rate increase by 2%.
The PLQ affirms that the increase in the cost of living will be sustainable, which justifies the tax adjustments.
One-off assistance, such as that offered by the Legault government of the Coalition Avenir Québec, is insufficient to allow taxpayers to adapt to inflation, declared André Fortin, the parliamentary leader of the official opposition.
“What he’s proposing is a one-time payment of $500, but what Quebecers really need is reassurance that year after year they’ll pay less tax,” said Ms. Fortin.
He said that while the measure could cost the government dearly, “there is a cost to Quebecers if we don’t move forward with a measure like this.”
Carlos Leitao, former finance minister and current MP for the West Island constituency of Robert-Baldwin, said the Liberals’ tax cut would not result in cuts to public services.
Amendments to Bill 96
A few weeks after its adoption, Quebec’s controversial French language law was a hot topic at the general assembly of the Liberal council.
While the PLQ voted against Bill 96 — which was “too ambitious to be considered constructive,” according to her campaign platform — Anglade said she supported parts of the bill.
If elected, the party would maintain the three additional French courses mandatory for all CEGEP students.
“We would work with everyone involved to make sure everything is done the right way,” she said.
According to its electoral platform, the PLQ would favor a “more balanced approach which will also improve the quality of the French language”.
The party would, among other things:
- Give students back the right to attend the CEGEP of their choice.
- Restore to the judiciary the right to appoint judges according to their needs.
- Assess the administrative burden imposed on businesses by Bill 96.
- Eliminate the six-month deadline imposed on immigrants to communicate with the government exclusively in French.
- Remove the notwithstanding clause, which protects Bill 96 from legal challenges.
Liberal MP for Jacques-Cartier, Greg Kelley, admitted that some English-speaking voters are not happy.
“There are a lot of parents who said, ‘We’re not against having more French in Cégep… we want our children to be bilingual, we want them to improve their French'”, said he said.
“But the way it’s done…they’re all like, ‘Can we have a better discussion about how this will work? “”
Among the key measures of its platform, described in a 100-page document entitled The Liberal Booklet, the PLQ would invest $100 billion to reshape Quebec’s economy in order to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050.
To do this, it would rely on the creation of green hydrogen production capacity held by the State.
The Liberals would also modernize Quebec’s infrastructure, such as office buildings, homes, industrial and institutional buildings, to cut energy waste by two-thirds over the next 10 years. They would also increase water rate charges up to six times.
On the health side, the PLQ promises a family doctor for every Quebecer. He also wants to invest $6 billion in health network infrastructure and add 4,000 hospital beds.
Among other social measures, the PLQ promises to introduce an annual allowance for seniors of $2,000 to support people over 70 who wish to stay at home.
Several measures are planned to help families. In addition to lowering taxes for the middle class, the PLQ promises to freeze electricity rates, remove the QST on basic necessities, eliminate the welcome tax for first-time buyers and improve the Federal Home Ownership (RAP)
Here is the full Liberal platform released by the party on Saturday:
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