The Liberals, champions of the promises of provincial jurisdiction

Are Federal Election Campaigns Only “Federal”? The question has arisen since mid-August. The promises affecting areas of provincial jurisdiction have multiplied. So much so that the prime minister Francois Legault invited Quebecers to be wary of parties which “want to centralize and appropriate powers ”coming from the provinces.

“It’s uninhibited,” remarks political scientist Éric Montigny in an interview. This year’s election takes the encroachment even further [sur les compétences] provinces than in 2019, especially on the Liberal Party of Canada. »

According to his analyzes, nearly 60% of the major electoral promises of Justin trudeau concern areas of provincial jurisdiction, compared to just over 40% in the previous campaign. There has been no increase for the Conservatives and NDP from 2019.

The Université Laval professor has compiled the most important commitments of the three main parties according to the fields of jurisdiction in which they fall: provincial, federal or shared (such as theimmigration and the environment). He analyzed the promises contained in the daily press releases of the Liberal Party, the Conservative Party and the New Democratic Party, then relied on the Constitution Act, 1867 to determine in which areas of jurisdiction they reside.

The difference between the PLC and the PCC is striking. Fifteen of the 26 promises the Liberals emphasized between August 15 and September 17 relate to areas of provincial jurisdiction. For the Conservatives, it is 2 out of a total of 24. The NDP also has almost half, with 9 promises out of a total of 19.

“It was the Liberal Party of Canada that made the Canada Health Act [dans les années 1980], recalls Professor Montigny. So there is a history. What is new is that in the course of campaigns, in the choice of themes, we will look a lot for everyday elements of provincial politics. “

Like the one hire 7,500 family doctors and nurses. The Liberals promise to inject $ 3 billion to make it happen. However, the management of the health system is the responsibility of each of the provinces.

In fact, all the promises of the Liberal platform relating to health and the pandemic extend to this area of ​​provincial jurisdiction, according to Mr. Montigny. Whether it is the fund to help the provinces with their proof of immunization, the money to eliminate waiting lists or the support for senior care with national standards. In fact, whenever conditions are attached to the sums promised, they have an impact on the governance of the provinces.

The NPD, which is also in favor of such standards, goes even further with its commitment to take the private sector out of long-term care centers such as CHSLDs. He also promises a public drug insurance plan – Quebec already has its own – and wants to tackle the waiting time to access a doctor. However, the party promises that the Quebec government could obtain an envelope without conditions.

The Conservatives are also making a promise in the area of ​​health care. They pledge to allocate “a considerable portion” of the $ 60 billion they would allocate for health over 10 years to treat the mental health of one million Canadians.

However, the provinces are asking for an increase of $ 28 billion in unconditional health transfers, which would reduce the federal government’s contribution from 22% to 35%. In Quebec, that would represent an additional $ 6 billion this year.

Are all these health promises the result of a “pandemic effect”? Mr. Montigny has another hypothesis: that of the use of big data by parties, which makes it possible to precisely target what interests people most. “It is clear that there are certain themes that resonate a lot with voters who come under the jurisdiction of the provinces,” he explains. We are trying to reach voters, our research data shows us that they are interested, so we may not care about skills. “

The waltz of billions: the cost of promises

During this short election campaign, all parties made commitments the cost of which goes well beyond the 2019 federal budget. “Everyone spends more than the reference budget framework of the Parliamentary Budget Officer, notes the tax expert in an interview. from the University of Sherbrooke Luc Godbout. Ultimately, it weighs down theindebtedness and it has not been the subject of debate. “

These are the Bloc Quebecois (with $ 57.1 billion) and the CCP ($ 51.7 billion) which would have the most expensive promises from 2021-2022 to 2023-2024. The Conservatives would spend more at the start of their mandate and would have more control over spending thereafter in order to balance the budget in 10 years. “It means that they want to restart the machine by running a bigger deficit than even the Liberals,” explains Mr. Godbout.

The pledges of the LPC over three years would reach 36.8 billion dollars, and those of the NDP, 28.7 billion. The left-wing party intends to seek significant income by taxing the ultra-rich and large companies. Note that the calculation of the cost of liberal promises does not take into account an additional provision of 15 billion over three years planned to deal with the pandemic.

The Bloc Québécois’ three-year annual deficit is estimated at $ 274.4 billion. Liberals and Conservatives would have the same deficit, 269.2 billion, and the NDP, 245.2 billion.

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