The North Star


Election promises to pay out money

Shield or band-aid against inflation?

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During the provincial election campaign in Quebec that started late august, Coalition Avenir Quebec (CAQ) and the Parti Québécois have been promising cheques to Quebecers in exchange for their votes. The former has called their promise a "measure against inflation" while the latter has called theirs a "purchasing power allowance".

Meanwhile, other parties, including Québec Solidaire and the Parti Conservateur du Québec, have promised to suspend or lower certain taxes. The motive behind these proposals appears to be to curb the impact of inflation. But how, actually?

The CAQ is promising a payment of $400-600 to Quebecers with incomes under $100,000. This measure would be in addition to the $500 distributed at tax time earlier this year.

The CAQ waited until the end of its mandate before proposing this amount to Quebecers even though they have been experiencing the full impact of inflation for months. It is not surprising that such a measure would be unveiled during an election campaign.

The outgoing CAQ government is proposing a payment rather than an exemption or a tax cut because "Quebecers should have the right to choose what to do with these amounts," according to François Legault. However, with the rapid rise in the cost of living, the payment will undoubtedly flow right back into the daily expenses of Quebec households. Indeed, the cost of the grocery basket is around $250 per week for a family of 4 and the price of gas at the pump is around 166.7 cent/litre.

While it is not clear how the CAQ would finance this measure, it is clear that the government can count on increased revenues from the Quebec sales tax (QST) due to inflation. In other words, the measure could be financed directly from Quebecers' wallets.

These proposals give the electoral campaign an air of the great darkness (a period in Quebec's history marked by the domination of the Church and the widespread corruption of the State). In the manner of Duplessis (Quebec's 20th century premier) who bought refrigerators and paved streets in exchange for votes, the parties propose to buy the votes of voters in exchange of a " shield " against inflation.

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