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Quebec budget: very-very-slightly-lesser-evil-ism

Jessica Squires

November 27, 2012

Pauline Marois’ PQ government, only a few months old, has already exposed its allegiance to neoliberalism in its budget, released in mid-November.
The budget is essentially a carbon copy of the Liberal economic plan. The only differences are to establish a graded scale for the new “health tax,” supposedly rendering it progressive; and to index hydro price increases to inflation, thus slowing down the rate at which the rates will increase.
Everything else – including balancing the budget and eliminating the deficit by 2014 – is still on the table. Following news that Marois’ government will encourage Plan Nord to continue, foster oil exploration in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, and explore the reversal of an oil pipeline to import oil from the tar sands, it’s hard to see how anyone can still be under the illusion that the vote for Marois to get rid of the Liberals was in any way “strategic.”
That said, some PQ defenders are arguing that the budget is actually a result of the fact they only got a minority – blaming it on the left, and Québec solidaire. This is nonsense. The opposition Liberals, who hold the balance of power, publicly stated they would not oppose a Marois budget. They are in disarray and searching for a new leader.
The PQ has brought in a budget that suits their values: neoliberal. Faced with the evil of three lessers (PQ, Liberals, CAQ), the real way to be strategic is to the build the movements and their best electoral expression – Québec solidaire.

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