Montreal

Surplus shows Liberals' lack of compassion, Jean-François Lisée says

Parti Québécois Leader Jean-François Lisée says the Quebec government's announced surplus should be called a "compassion deficit," arguing Premier Philippe Couillard shouldn't have cut services so deeply in the first place.

'There was a moment where this government knew it was cutting too much, but it kept going,' PQ leader says

Parti Québécois Leader Jean-François Lisée accused the Liberal government of wrongly slashing services. (Jacques Boissinot/Canadian Press)

Parti Québécois Leader Jean-François Lisée says the Quebec government's announced surplus should be called a "compassion deficit," arguing Premier Philippe Couillard shouldn't have cut services so deeply in the first place.

Lisée said Wednesday that the surplus, which totalled $2.2 billion, indicates cuts that went beyond what was needed to reach a zero-deficit budget. 

"There was a moment where this government knew it was cutting too much, but it kept going," Lisée told reporters.

Lisée said Couillard lacks "humanism" and would not stop cutting services, despite seeing signs that the cuts were having impacts on Quebecers.

Health, education and daycare have all been subject to cuts, he said.

Finance Minister Carlos Leitao announced the surplus during his fall economic update on Tuesday. The $2.2-billion surplus is higher than the $1.8-billion surplus projected in July.

Leitao said the government would immediately inject an additional $135 million into health care and education.

That money would be earmarked for home care and long-term care facilities as well as student success, special needs students and training for new immigrants.

Leiato said the surplus would mean additional investments in health and social services, education, regional economic development and infrastructure in the 2017-2018 fiscal year.

The surplus also means the government can abolish the health tax one year earlier than expected. It will be dropped January 1, 2017. Quebecers will save between $80 and $600 a year, depending on their annual income. 

with files from Ryan Hicks and Presse Canadienne

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