Charest’s days numbered?

05.26.07

This might be one of the shortest minority governments on record, if Charest’s budget gets defeated on June 1st, as expected given the PQ and the ADQs opposition to it. We could have new elections as early as July.

The irony is that, for the most part, I actually think the budget presented by the Liberals was good. I don’t often say that about budgets. But Charest’s team had the right priorities here: Lowering taxes to reduce our overly outrageous tax burden, increasing funding for healthcare and education, ending the crippling handcuffs on universities by lifting the tuition freeze gradually while supplementing with additional loans and bursaries, and additional investment in city infrastructure, while cutting spending in a whole host of other areas.

Sure, the budget’s not without its problems. But the ADQ and the PQ have both put themselves in the position now of toppling a government to force an election because they oppose tax cuts. Where else in the world could political parties believe that this would earn them votes in a subsequent election?

Unfortunately, in Quebec’s political climate, this has a fair shot of working. Which is, in a nutshell, exactly what’s wrong with our society. People want more spending and they will pay more taxes for it, and when they complain about the taxes, the politicians can just point to Ottawa and blame the “evil Federal government” for creating the “fiscal imbalance” (you know, the one that Jean Charest took credit for solving right before the last election).

If the ADQ and the PQ both make good on their threats to bring down this government by voting against the budget, then Charest’s political career will be over. Marois’s election coronation as PQ leader will be fast-tracked, and Dumont will humbly refuse to try to form an opposition government, even though he might be asked to do so, because it would be bad form. And one of the two will probably get elected.

Shame. Just when I was starting to think that this Liberal/ADQ minority government was actually working surprisingly well.

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