Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Quebec Got a New Prime Minister

Mr. Philippe Couillard has become the 31st prime minister of Quebec following the general election of April 7. His party, the Liberal Party of Quebec, has won 70 of the 125 seats in the parliament. The Quebecois Party (PQ) only won 30 seats, which made the minority government of Mrs. Pauline Marois the shortest in Quebec’s history.

The defeat of the PQ and that of its leader, Mrs. Marois, in her constituency of Charlevoix-Côte-de-Beaupré are explained by the fact that the themes tagged to her party during the election campaign, namely the charter of values and the referendum on the sovereignty of Quebec, were far away from the daily concerns of the population of the province exhibiting the lowest growth rate in Canada.
To come to power eighteen months ago, the PQ was closer to the worries of the population of Quebec when it campaigned to put an end to the student protest against the rise in tuition, to abolish the health tax, and to impose a total moratorium on the prospection and extraction of shale gas.  

Figure: Average Growth Rate and Average Share of Provinces and Territories in Canada’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP)
Figure: Average Growth Rate and Average Share of Provinces and Territories in Canada’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP), NL: Newfoundland & Labrador, PE: Prince Edward Island, NS: Nova Scotia, NB: New Brunswick, QC: Quebec, ON: Ontario, MB: Manitoba, SK: Saskatchewan, AB: Alberta, BC: British Columbia, YT: Yukon (1981-2012), NT: Northwest Territories, NU: Nunavut (1999-2012), Data Source: Statistics Canada
The new liberal government has now to get down to stimulating Quebec’s economy. As you could see on the above figure, Quebec is the second economy of Canada after Ontario. Quebec generates,  on average, 20.83 % of Canada’s wealth but its average growth rate, which is 1.97 %, is the lowest.
This weak growth rate is attributable—to use a rather simple expression— to the exhaustion of our economy. You can observe on the above figure that the economies of the territories of Nunavut and Yukon exhibit the highest growth rates, 4.16 % and 3.82 % respectively, due to their freshness.
Like the province of Ontario, the rejuvenation and revitalization program Quebec needs is to foster the creation and expansion of small of medium size companies and support innovation within these businesses.