Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Making Quebec richer

Jeffrey Simpson has an interesting article in the Globe and Mail on Quebec's relative economic laggardness and their addiction to living beyond their means (thus requiring equalisation to fulfill it). The link goes to Google, click on their link to evade the Globe's paywall. Here's a taste:

Quebec, for example, has made social choices to keep university fees the lowest in North America, give families $7-a-day child-care spaces, provide a provincial drug plan, subsidize many industries, keep hydro rates well below North American market costs, and have a large public service.

No other equalization-receiving province can afford these kinds of choices, but they are part of the "Quebec model" and, therefore, are apparently difficult to change. The "Quebec model" contributes to the gap between spending and taxes that the Quebec political class believes is due to the "fiscal imbalance" rather than the province's own choices.

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