The Parti Québécois government is vying to reboot the province’s economy with a new $2-billion plan that it says will create more than 40,000 jobs by 2017.
Premier Pauline Marois and Finance Minister Nicolas Marceau revealed the job creation program at a press conference Monday that had the look and feel of an election campaign event.
The plan aims to encourage new investments and jobs in Quebec through incentives like electricity at discounted rates and tax credits.
The money injected into the province will fund employment and development in a number of targeted areas:
- $566-million for the renovation of infrastructure, including community centres, arenas and schools
- $516-million for the development of an electric transit industry in Quebec that will build electric cars, electric railways, and related infrastructure.
The new plan also includes more than $700-million in tax credits as well as discounted hydro rates for companies which invest to create new jobs.
Combined with other recently announced measures, Marois said her government expects to see a total of 115,000 new jobs created by 2017.
Marois denied that the measures suggested that her government was planning for an election. She said the plan has been under consideration for the last four months.
Yves-Thomas Dorval, president of Quebec’s largest employers group, the Conseil du patronat, told CBC News that the government’s new plan will do little to reverse the current downturn in the province’s economy.
“There’s no big change here. They are good measures, but not really what we need to bring Quebec to the level we would like,” he said.
Opposition parties question plan's logic
Members of the opposition in the national assembly also questioned the logic of the new plan.
““There’s a lot more than the price of electricity that a company has to consider before it invests,” said François Legault, leader of the Coalition Avenir Québec. "All this does is add to bureaucracy."
Québec Solidaire’s Amir Khadir said the government should be investing in the social and economic development of the province rather than private and foreign investors.
“We need investment in the prosperity of all, not a few investors,” he said.
Khadir also said it was hard not to see the plan’s unveiling as evidence that an election was near.
“That means this plan is just propaganda before an election.”