Business Forum | Quebec should manage its budget like a good entrepreneur

Since the release of the Girard budget, it has been said that the Quebec government will have to cap the rate of growth of its spending at 3% to stem the budget deficit. The entrepreneur in me has teeth gnashing. I feel like I’m sitting in front of my accountant explaining to me how to manage the future of my business.

We hear a lot about the present, but what will our Quebec future look like? We reiterate the priorities in health and education. All right. But the big picture? And if Quebec were managed by entrepreneurs rather than accountants, what would it look like?

We would stop talking about expenditure items, reductions, slowdowns. We would talk about accountability, agility, creativity. As a government, we would define a clear, inspiring and measurable vision. We would take advantage of this to flatten our costly hierarchical structures, to give power back to teachers, nurses and all those who work directly in the service of citizens.

Let’s be realistic. If Quebec businesses were managed by their accountant, many would not have made it through the pandemic crisis. For what ? Where the accountant looks at expenses, the entrepreneur thinks about how to do more with less. The law of the jungle in business requires finding creative solutions and implementing them quickly.

So, let’s let teachers optimize and reinvent school environments. Let’s give them a defined budget, precise objectives and let them choose the means to get there.

Let’s stop thinking in our tall ivory towers and get out into the field.

Cost reductions happen on the ground with people who really see all the waste of time and money, because they care about serving students, patients and citizens. Moreover, let’s not forget that these employees are also, at one time or another, customers of the system in which they work.

When I work with construction companies, I take out my boots and my helmet and go to the construction sites. I have walked many factories over the last 11 years as a management consultant. The most creative solutions that have had the greatest impact on reducing expenses were found by the people on construction sites and in our factories.

Okay, it’s important to make plans, but let’s keep in mind that reality rarely goes as planned. In the same way that childbirth never happens as we imagine in a birth plan. So, let’s take action to reduce our expenses now in a creative and collaborative way, not like accountants, but like entrepreneurs.


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