Quebec Liberals promise prudence, 4 more years of balanced budgets

Quebec Liberals promise prudence, 4 more years of balanced budgets

The Couillard Liberals say they will stay the course and exercise "prudence" if re-elected Oct. 1.

In its financial framework released this morning, the party promised four more years of balanced budgets, despite some $2.4 billion in election promises.

Leader Philippe Couillard said the party is banking on higher levels of revenue based on projected GDP growth. The province's auditor general agreed with the Liberal projections in a pre-election financial report released in August.

The party is pledging to boost its education and heath budgets by a minimum of four per cent and 4.2 per cent, respectively, over the course of its mandate.

"Thanks to the actions we have taken, the house is in order, public finances are healthy and balanced and we can look to the future with confidence," Couillard said.

Liberals emphasize economic track record

The Liberal leader has tried to emphasize his party's economic track record during the election campaign.

His government has delivered four consecutive balanced budgets, but has faced criticism for cuts to health care and education early in its first mandate.

He said a Liberal government would also put $2 billion toward the debt annually.

Couillard said the biggest risks to growth are the economic uncertainty due to the tense trade negotiations with the United States and the province's labour shortage.

The Coalition Avenir Québec released its "responsible" financial plan on the weekend. The CAQ committed to 4.1 per cent growth in the health sector annually and 3.5 per cent in education.

CAQ Leader François Legault also said his party would pay off $10 billion of the provincial debt before the end of March 2019, and put $1.7 billion back into the wallets of Quebecers annually, primarily through allocations to families and a reduction in school taxes.

The Parti Québécois is expected to release its plan Thursday.

With files from The Canadian Press

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