QUEBEC CITY – The Coalition Avenir Quebec (CAQ) is promising to scrap health and school taxes and put $1,000 back in Quebecers’ pockets.
The party also promised to balance the books in its first year in power.
On Thursday, the CAQ said a hiring freeze in the civil service would free up $2.5 billion. Enough money, the party said, to allow for the abolition of health and school taxes and still balance the budget.
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“What we’re proposing today is to increase the number of people giving services and decrease the number of people in offices,” said CAQ leader François Legault.
Legault also promised to cut government IT expenses, corporate tax credits, and recuperate corruption money. At the end of the day, Quebecers would get $1,000 back in their pockets.
“This $1,000 in their pocket will be on a recurring basis,” said CAQ Lévis candidate and accountant Christian Dubé.
“That’s a lot of money; it’s one mortgage payment, for groceries.”
Union president Lucie Martineau deplored the fact the CAQ is again campaigning on the backs of civil servants.
“I have six per cent less members than in 2004,” Martineau said.
“The ‘ballooning’ civil service is a myth.”
While PQ Finance Minister Nicolas Marceau was calling the CAQ’s fiscal framework “desperate” and “ridiculous”, young families Global News met in Lévis were more than intrigued.
“I think it’s interesting yes. We have six children, so for us it would be great if it happened,” said Kaavin Boulé.
“Obviously, it’d be nice to have $1,000, but is it a promise they can keep?” asked Isabelle Brochu.
Legault said yes, tax breaks are possible. He said his biggest adversary in this campaign is people’s resignation, there is no alternative way to manage the province.
Alain Bilodeau, a young father of three, thinks Legault is on the right track.
“It’s a good start. We are way overtaxed here in Quebec.”
The CAQ is trying to keep its six seats in the Quebec City area but with François Legault down in the polls, the PQ and the Liberals are eyeing the region, hoping to convince voters that a vote for the CAQ is a vote that is wasted.