Quebec Liberal Party unveils electoral platform, promising tax cut for middle class

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Quebec Liberal Leader Dominique Anglade kicked off her pre-election campaign Saturday, outlining her party's platform for the October election. (The Canadian Press - image credit)
Quebec Liberal Leader Dominique Anglade kicked off her pre-election campaign Saturday, outlining her party's platform for the October election. (The Canadian Press - image credit)

The spring session at the National Assembly had barely come to an end before Quebec Liberal Leader Dominique Anglade went into election mode, kicking off her pre-election campaign and outlining her party's platform for the October election on Saturday.

Some 400 PLQ party faithful attended a gathering in Montreal for their general council meeting, where the PLQ revealed the cost of living will be at the heart of its election campaign, promising lower taxes for the middle class to lessen their financial burden in the face of rising inflation.

"The question of cost of living is on everyone's lips," Anglade told reporters in a news scrum Saturday, criticizing Premier François Legault's response to inflation.

"We've been saying for months that we need to have measures that are long-term measures, not a cheque here and there, but something that is helping people and that is predictable."

A Liberal government would reduce taxes by 1.5 per cent for taxpayers earning less than $92,000 annually — allowing people to save around $1,000 per year. In turn, those who earn $300,000 or more per year would see their tax rate increase by 2 per cent.

Jacques Boissinot/The Canadian Press
Jacques Boissinot/The Canadian Press

The PLQ said the increase in the cost of living will be long-lasting, which justifies the tax adjustments.

One-time assistance, such as that offered by Legault's Coalition Avenir Québec government, is insufficient in enabling taxpayers to adjust to inflation, said André Fortin, the Official Opposition house leader.

"What he's proposing is a one-time, $500 payment, but really what Quebecers need is the assurance that year after year, they will pay less taxes," Fortin said.

He said while the measure may cost a lot for the government, "there's a cost to Quebecers if we don't go ahead with a measure like this."

Carlos Leitao, former finance minister and current MNA for the West Island riding of Robert-Baldwin, said the Liberals' tax relief would not result in cuts to public services.

Changes to Bill 96

A few weeks after its adoption, Quebec's controversial French language law was a hot topic at the Liberal's general council meeting.

While the PLQ voted against Bill 96 — which was "too far-reaching to be considered constructive," according to its election platform — Anglade said she supports some parts of the bill.

If elected, the party would keep in place the three additional French courses mandated for all CEGEP students.

"We would work with all the people involved in order to make sure that everything is done the right way," she said.

According to its election platform, the PLQ would favour a "more balanced approach that will also improve the quality of the French language."

The party would, among other things:

  • Give students back the right to attend the CEGEP of their choice.

  • Give the magistrature back the right to appoint judges according to their needs.

  • Evaluate the administrative burden imposed on businesses by Bill 96.

  • Remove the six-month timeframe imposed on immigrants for communicating with the government exclusively in French.

  • Remove the notwithstanding clause, which protects Bill 96 from legal challenges.

Liberal MNA for Jacques-Cartier, Greg Kelley, admitted some Anglophone constituents are not happy.

"There are a lot of parents who said 'We're not against having more French in CEGEP ... we want our kids to be bilingual, we want them to improve their French,'" he said.

"But the way it's done ... they all say, 'Can we have a better discussion on how it will work?'"

Key measures 

Among the key measures of its platform, outlined in a 100-page document called the Liberal Playbook, the PLQ would invest $100 billion to reshape Quebec's economy in order to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050.

To do this, it would count on creating government-owned green hydrogen production capacity.

The Liberals would also modernize Quebec's infrastructure, such as office buildings, houses, industrial and institutional buildings, to reduce energy waste by two thirds over the next 10 years. They would also increase royalties on water charges by up to six times.

On the health care front, the PLQ promises a family doctor for every Quebecer. It also wants to invest $6 billion in the infrastructure of the health network and add 4,000 hospital beds.

Among other social measures, the PLQ promises to introduce a $2,000 annual seniors' allowance to support people over 70 who wish to remain at home.

Several measures are planned to help families. In addition to lowering taxes for the middle class, the PLQ promises to freeze electricity rates, remove the QST on basic necessities, eliminate the welcome tax for first-time homebuyers and improve the federal Home Buyers' Plan (HBP)

Here's the full Liberal platform released by the party on Saturday:

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