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I have an idea...lets keep the status quo.

 

By Nicolas Van Praet

 

Montreal • Forget Newfoundland, derided for decades as the fish-dependent fiscal laughingstock of Canada. Another province is swiftly climbing the ranks of the penniless: Quebec.

 

Quebecers will displace their fellow countrymen as the poorest Canadians if current income and purchasing power trends continue, according to a new study released Tuesday by Montreal’s HEC business school.

 

The stark outlook underscores the urgency for Canada’s second-largest province to fix its structural problems and lends weight to arguments that its untapped natural resources should be developed.

Related

 

 

“Compared to the rest of the country, Quebec has a real revenue problem,” says Martin Coiteux, an economist who wrote the study for the HEC’s Centre for Productivity and Prosperity. Unless the province begins an honest, nothing-off-limits self-examination, “it runs the risk of finding itself last among Canadian provinces with respect to income and standard of living.”

 

It’s the trend lines that should be worrying Quebecers,

 

Mr. Coiteux said. The income gap is widening between Quebec and Canada’s richest provinces while it is shrinking with the poorest. Over a 31-year period from 1978 to 2009, every region of Canada gained on income against Quebec, according to the study. Buoyed by revenues from offshore oil, Newfoundland has bridged the income gap with Quebec to within $3,127 per adult as of 2009. Ontario’s income was $9,853 higher per adult that year while Alberta’s was $17,947 higher.

 

That in itself is problematic for Quebec. But the HEC research also shows that one of the key things that made living in Quebec so attractive, namely the lower cost of living compared with other big provinces, is also rapidly changing.

 

While it remains cheaper to buy consumer goods like food, gasoline and haircuts in Quebec than most other provinces (9% cheaper in Quebec than Alberta in 2009 for Statistics Canada’s standard Consumer Price Index basket of goods, for example), the difference is narrowing.

 

And that makes the purchase power equation even worse for the French-speaking province.

 

What explains this income nightmare? Mr. Coiteux summed it up thus: “Proportionately, fewer Quebecers work [than other Canadians]. They work fewer hours on average. And they earn an hourly pay that’s lower than that of most other Canadians.”

 

The relative poverty of Quebec means that its residents pay less in federal income tax and receive more transfers than those living in richer provinces, which reduces the income gap with Ontario, Alberta and B.C. But that situation also represents “a form of dependency,” Mr. Coiteux noted.

 

Provincial wealth in Canada is increasingly split along the lines of those who have natural resource wealth and those who do not. In addition to a bounty of hydroelectric power and aluminum production, Quebec also has known shale natural gas and oil deposits on its territory.

 

The Liberal government of Jean Charest has signalled it is eager to tap its forestry and mining wealth, most notably with its plan to develop a vast portion of its northern territory twice the size of Texas.

 

It has put oil and gas commercialization on the back burner in the face of public opposition and a continuing ocean boundary spat with Newfoundland. But even the northern development plan isn’t generating unanimity.

 

Quebecers have proven to be tremendously shy in using their resources to generate wealth, says Youri Chassin, economist at the Montreal Economic Institute, a conservative think-tank.

 

“We are kind of afraid of the consequences. And it might be good to have public debate about this. But [in that debate], we have to take into account that we are getting poorer.”

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I disagree. If all goes well with global warming and northern ressource extraction, I truely believe QC will be a have province soon.

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I disagree. If all goes well with global warming and northern ressource extraction, I truely believe QC will be a have province soon.

 

I would normally say that you might have a point, however, our record over the past few decades is a cause for concern. Like the article states numerous times, we are getting poorer, and yet nobody seems to notice. Everybody sticks their heads in the sand in the hopes that things will magically improve...and when someone does dare say that we need to increase productivity, create wealth(instead of simply redistributying it) and/or cut back on spending he is called a far right wing extremist.

 

The numbers don't lie. Alberta, Ontario and B.C. are richer than we are, and too many of us don't seem to care. As long as the majority of the population doesn't wake up, nothing will change!

Edited by Habsfan

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I would normally say that you might have a point, however, our record over the past few decades is a cause for concern. Like the article states numerous times, are getting porrer, and yet nobody seems to notice. Everybody sticks their heads in the sand in the hopes that things will magically improve...and when someone does dare say that we need to increase productivity, create wealth(instead of simply redistributying it) and/or cut back on spending he is called a far right wing extremist.

 

That is true, however I have hope that the next premier of QC will be more business oriented. Charest seems to put a lot of emphasis on business and le plan nord but he is so freaking tarnished I wonder if he will/could run in the next election. Our only hope is Legault, but he is too pro business for the average person like you said.

 

The numbers don't lie. Alberta, Ontario and B.C. are richer than we are, and too many of us don't seem to care. As long as the majority of the population doesn't wake up, nothing will change!

 

I believe that BC and Alberta are rich mainly because of geographical luck (BC has the asian money flowing and a beautiful shoreline and warm winters) Alberta got lucky when all the dinosaurs melted into fosil fuels. Ontario grew, I believe in part, because the proximity to Detroit and they captured the entire automative industry (all high paying jobs).

 

Its QC's turn to reap the benefits from it's plentiful natural ressources. (Minerals, water, hydroelectricity)

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New Brunswick lowered all of its income tax brackets this year...

 

We are becoming, both poorer and more taxed.

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Je vous rappelle que l'Ontario a des dizaines de milliards en déficit par année et que la province devrait surpasser la dette du Québec par habitant d'ici quelques années. Au moins au Québec il y a des tonnes de services à couper pour ne pas être déficitaire, not so much en Ontario.

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It doesn't matter what Ontario does. Quebec is not innovating, we don't want to make money on natural resources, we just want to be fat and lazy.

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It doesn't matter what Ontario does. Quebec is not innovating, we don't want to make money on natural resources, we just want to be fat and lazy.

 

Your tone reminds me of a morning show host in Toronto I happened to listen to this morning. Montreal expatriate John Moore was talking to colleagues in studio about Quebec MP's refusal of the Queen's Jubilee medal. The guy said that this was a major affront and that they should just shut up and accept it after all the billions that are showered on Quebec through equalization payments. Same old, same old. The bullshit flies high in Toronto and there is always the prim and proper sense that Ontarians worked their butt off and made something of themselves without help from the feds or other provinces. The truth is if Trudeau hadnt stepped in to deliver some government buildings in Hull in the seventies; that city would be a shadow of its industrial self, and Ottawa would have gained more and continued to spite the Quebec side for its lack of balls.

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Your tone reminds me of a morning show host in Toronto I happened to listen to this morning. Montreal expatriate John Moore was talking to colleagues in studio about Quebec MP's refusal of the Queen's Jubilee medal. The guy said that this was a major affront and that they should just shut up and accept it after all the billions that are showered on Quebec through equalization payments. Same old, same old. The bullshit flies high in Toronto and there is always the prim and proper sense that Ontarians worked their butt off and made something of themselves without help from the feds or other provinces. The truth is if Trudeau hadnt stepped in to deliver some government buildings in Hull in the seventies; that city would be a shadow of its industrial self, and Ottawa would have gained more and continued to spite the Quebec side for its lack of balls.

 

 

No this is my tone. I'm sick and tired of being such a pro-Montreal nationalist. I always hope that Montreal is going to dig itself out of a rut and return itself on a path to it's former glory. Instead all I hear is more taxes, more language issues, more bitching about infrastructure, and corruption. Nobody is taking a pro-active stance on the economy. Nobody is saying "we need to cut taxes". Nobody is saying "we need to make ourselves more competitive and steal market share".

 

All I hear is defending the status quo, which is Montreal becoming a relative city on the decline. And when we look at stats (GDP/Population growth) - this further confirms that we are in constant state of denial.

 

Wake me up when somebody in this city has the balls that Jean Drapeau & Pierre.E.Trudeau once had.

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No this is my tone. I'm sick and tired of being such a pro-Montreal nationalist. I always hope that Montreal is going to dig itself out of a rut and return itself on a path to it's former glory. Instead all I hear is more taxes, more language issues, more bitching about infrastructure, and corruption. Nobody is taking a pro-active stance on the economy. Nobody is saying "we need to cut taxes". Nobody is saying "we need to make ourselves more competitive and steal market share".

 

All I hear is defending the status quo, which is Montreal becoming a relative city on the decline. And when we look at stats (GDP/Population growth) - this further confirms that we are in constant state of denial.

 

Wake me up when somebody in this city has the balls that Jean Drapeau & Pierre.E.Trudeau once had.

 

If the next premier doesn't have the balls to follow through with extracting all the natural resources that can bring us jobs and wealth, we are indeed doomed to insignificance. I still have hope that will be.

Fort McMurray Alberta was a piece of shit town of 30,000 in '81. It exploded almost 100% in 30 years. The same could be said with all the small towns that scatter the north.

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