Maxime needs to be back in cabinet. He really understands Quebec and I think he can get Quebecers to listen. I had wanted to attend this event ( which was a sugaring off party), but even I can't be everywhere.
Maxime understands the beauty of the BNA act. We need the provinces to assume more of the responsibilities they are supposed to have and the federal government to become much smaller. I agree with Maxime that Quebec cannot continue on its rapid descent into insolvency.
I delivered a speech today in Mont St-Grégoire (south east of Montreal), before members of several conservative riding associations of the Montérégie region who had invited me, on my vision of Quebec and federalism. Here is an English version of the original French.
For a proud, responsible and autonomous Quebec
Speech delivered before members of Conservative Party of Canada riding associations of the Montérégie
Mont St-Grégoire, April 16, 2010
(Words of thanks)
I would like to discuss with you today the future of our society, the future of Quebec, which worries me very much.
Political debates in Quebec have been dominated for several decades by the “national question.” It’s a legitimate debate, but a debate that’s not going anywhere and will probably not go anywhere for a long time to come. Lucien Bouchard said it recently, and polls also show it: most Quebecers do not believe that Quebec will separate from Canada in the foreseeable future.
Despite this, since the 1970s, we’ve talked a lot about political independence, about the constitution, we’ve held referendums. And meanwhile, we’ve built a system of economic dependence that’s become more and more elaborate.
Quebec has one of the biggest and most interventionist governments in North America, and one of the heaviest fiscal burdens. Quebec has the most far-reaching social programs. Quebec is the province that gives the most subsidies to businesses, artists, parents, and to a host of other groups. And let’s not forget the other problems, such as the fact that Quebec is among the most rapidly aging societies in the world. This will increase the cost of social programs, and there will be fewer young people to pay for them.