Harper Presents His Record In The Quebec City Area And His Plan To Continue To Protect The Economy
Since 2006, our Conservative government has maintained a strong collaborative relationship and has shown great respect in its dealings with Quebec by practicing open federalism. We are the only party whose actions respect the jurisdictions and the spirit of the Constitution, in addition to the founding principles of the Confederation.
The following are some of the achievements that are a source of pride for us:
- In 2006, the Conservative government recognized for the first time, in the House of Commons, that Quebecers form a nation within a united Canada;
- We also made history on May 5, 2006 when we confirmed Quebec’s presence as a member of the permanent delegation of Canada to UNESCO;
- We transferred National Assembly land to Quebec;
- We signed an historic agreement on the joint management of petroleum resources in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, allowing Quebec to develop its reserves and obtain 100% of royalties;
- We have harmonized the sales taxes and Quebec receives $2.2 billion in compensation.
We are witnessing an era of cooperation with Quebec and have constitutional peace. This means that we are able to ensure a more stable, more prosperous and safer future for Quebecers.
In addition, by recognizing Quebec’s traditional demands, our government will continue to provide reasonable compensation to the Government of Quebec if it decides to opt out of a new pan-Canadian shared-costs program created by the federal government in areas of exclusive provincial jurisdiction, if Quebec has a program or an initiative with compatible objectives which includes very similar provisions in terms of transparency and accountability.
As for the appointment of Supreme Court Judges, which falls under exclusive federal jurisdiction, we are fulfilling this responsibility in an unprecedented spirit of collaboration with Quebec, in particular with the appointment of two francophone judges: Justice Gascon and Justice Côté. In addition, we have appointed Francophones to a number of senior-level positions.
The Conservative government will continue to recognize the key role played by Quebec in the creation of Canada—a country born in French in Quebec City—and we will continue to emphasize this role as we prepare to celebrate the 150th anniversary of Canadian Confederation. In addition, we will ensure that Canada’s official languages are respected and will preserve Quebec’s historic heritage.
Federal Transfer Payments
Federal transfer payments have increased by 63% since 2006 and healthcare payments have never been higher in our history. Quebec has benefited from a record level of support by way of major federal transfers in 2015-2016, for a total of more than $20.4 billion, which is an increase of nearly $8.4 billion (or 70%) compared to the previous Liberal government. This also includes close to $9.5 billion as part of the Equalization Program, an increase of nearly $4.7 billion (or 98%) compared to the previous Liberal government. Quebec also received more than $7.9 billion by way of the Canada Health Transfer, an increase of more than $2.8 billion (or 56%) compared to the previous Liberal government. Finally, almost $3 billion was paid via the Canada Social Transfer, an increase of $845 million (or 39%) since we came to power. These transfers will continue to increase in a predictable, sustained and unprecedented manner.
The Conservative government is a partner in Quebec’s prosperity, with a plan to cut taxes in addition to an unprecedented infrastructure plan totalling nearly $80 billion. For Quebec infrastructure projects, this represents close to $19 billion for the next ten years and we will continue to respect Quebec’s priorities in implementing the plan.
The Maritime Strategy and the Plan Nord are also priorities for both our governments. We have made significant investments and will continue to provide our cooperation. In fact, on August 25, 2015, we announced the Quebec Maritime Prosperity initiative to create jobs and support the Quebec government’s own maritime strategy, in particular by financing cruise terminals in the Port of Montreal and the Port of Quebec City. We also financed expansions at the Port of Quebec City, the Port of Montreal and the Port of Trois-Rivières, among other things. We have announced a plan to renovate small federal ports and piers as well as a renewed program to transfer piers to local communities. We have also financed a major multi-user wharf in the Port of Sept-Îles. These projects will make it possible to boost trade and the economy.
Where trade agreements are concerned, our government has signed free trade agreements with 39 countries, giving Canada access to more than half of the global market while defending the country’s supply management system. We remain committed to protect supply management in connection with the Canada-EU Trade Agreement and will provide compensation to dairy producers impacted by the Agreement. It is also in this spirit that we have concluded the negotiations to enter into a Trans-Pacific Partnership, which will provide extraordinary benefits. Canadian farmers will receive $4.3 billion in compensation in connection with these agreements. We are firmly committed to remain a partner in Quebec’s prosperity, including in the area of ship building.
We are the only federal government to have reduced Canada’s greenhouse gas emissions and are already working with Quebec to achieve the target of cutting GHG emissions by 30% by 2030 as proposed in preparation for the 2015 Paris Climate Conference. Moreover, our government has invested, on average, $1 billion annually in green energy since 2006, in addition to contributing $350 million to Quebec’s Plan vert in 2007.
We believe that now, more than ever, a growing number of Quebecers share the Conservative Party’s priorities: first and foremost the economy and security. Where security is concerned, we are acting to deal with the threat which jihadist terrorists pose to Canada. We are working with our allies in the international coalition against ISIS. Canadians know that their freedom and safety go hand in hand and expect us to protect both. That is exactly what is achieved with the Anti-terrorism Act that we introduced in 2015. I must tell you that I am extremely concerned by the inability to understand the seriousness of this issue on the part of the Liberals and the NDP. I am especially concerned by the fact that they would withdraw Canada from the coalition. Our party will continue to protect Quebecers and all Canadians.
Both the NDP and the Liberals are proposing intrusions into Quebec’s jurisdictions. They are proposing direct intervention; for example, the NDP has proposed to appoint a federal Minister of Urban Affairs if it is elected, even though the National Assembly passed a motion last May denouncing any such initiative. We will continue to work to have an even stronger Quebec within a united Canada.
The Conservative government remains ready to tackle the economic challenges that lie ahead. We are doing better than expected with our budget plan, which is showing a $5.2 billion surplus for April to July 2015, while at the same time providing historical tax relief directly to Canadian families. Our long-term plan, which includes low taxes, a balanced budget and growth, will ensure that Canada protects people’s jobs and their retirement savings. This plan will allow us to continue to work together to build a strong economy. We dealt firmly with the global financial crisis in 2008. Today, more than 80% of our economy is showing continued growth. Canada has the lowest debt/GDP ratio of all G7 nations and we achieved this while keeping taxes low.
Now is not the time for huge new spending projects, resulting in tax hikes, which would ruin our economy and would leave us vulnerable in the face of any future economic crisis. That is exactly what is being proposed by the Liberals and the NDP.
We have always been there to support Quebec City and the surrounding area with many projects. The following are but a few of the projects for which we are partners and for which a consensus has been reached:
Port of Quebec City
The project to expand the Port of Quebec City was announced on July 10, 2015. Minister Lebel announced $60.2 million to be used to expand the facilities at the Port of Quebec City and to support economic development and jobs. A strict environmental review will be conducted by the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency. This project will help to stimulate the economy and to create jobs.
Quebec Maritime Prosperity Initiative
A re-elected Conservative government will fund a new major initiative—the Quebec Maritime Prosperity initiative—which is to include financing for the Ross Gaudreault terminal ($26 million), the cruise terminal at the Port of Montreal’s Alexandra Pier ($26 million) and the development of the Anse du Foulon harbour walkway, along Champlain Boulevard ($12 million). These projects will stimulate the economy. This initiative will also help to preserve Quebec’s maritime heritage, a jewel in our history, and to improve access to the St. Lawrence River and the waterfront area by way of future investments. This will also include support for conservation efforts as well as marine research.
We have confirmed that a re-elected Conservative government will finance the Institut national d’optique (INO) over five years—to the tune of close to $75 million—for its expansion and core funding. Our Conservative government has been a partner of the INO from the very beginning and we will continue to support innovation and job creation. Since 2006, the INO will have received $90 million in funding from the Conservative government.
Pont de Québec
Our Conservative government is proposing a concrete solution. We are prepared to invest $75 million to repaint the Pont de Québec, which is a treasure, because we believe that this is a concern for people living in the Quebec City area. With the contributions to be made by the Quebec government, Quebec City and the city of Lévis, a total of $100 million has been promised by the various levels of government. It is now up to CN to come to the table in order to complete the financial package and we will continue to hold them accountable. The reason why we have found ourselves in this situation in the first place is a bad deal cobbled together under the Liberals when they transferred public assets to CN. The Liberals are in no position to preach.
Quebec City Jean-Lesage International Airport
Discussions are already well underway with the U.S. government to add customs pre-clearance capacity at the Jean-Lesage International Airport. We will continue to work with the U.S. government as part of the anticipated expansion of its pre-clearance program. The Conservative government has made unprecedented investments in the airport. A total of $50 million has been invested since 2011 to expand and modernize the facility, thereby contributing to strengthen the regional economy and to ensure better service between Quebec City and destinations around the world. Our record in terms of investment in this airport speaks for itself—as does our record for the entire Quebec City area.
We have announced our support for the infrastructure required to build the Institut nordique ($30 million), a stimulating project for the Quebec City area. Moreover, last July, our Conservative government confirmed that a record amount of $98 million in funding would be provided for northern research.
A multitude of projects that will continue to preserve Quebec City’s heritage as well as stimulate the regional economy in the coming years
- 2017 Tall Ships Regatta ($7 million)
- Renovation of the Fortifications of Québec National Historic Site ($30 million)
- Renovation of the Dauphine Redoubt ($4.5 million)
- Renovation of the Maillou House National Historic Site ($1.2 million)
- Expansion of the Musée national des beaux-arts ($33.7 million)
- Renovation of the Monastère des Augustines ($15 million)
- Rebuilding of the Voltigeurs de Québec Armoury ($104 million)
- Year-round opening of Gilmour Hill ($8.2 million)
- Medicago expansion ($8 million)
- Expansion and renovation of the physical education and sports complex ($35.73 million)
- Construction of the indoor soccer complex in Parc Chavreau (close to $6 million)
- Quebec City summer festival ($4.3 million since 2008)
- Quebec City winter carnival ($7.5 million since 2006)
- Expansion of the Centre de foire de Québec ($10 million)
- Quebec City conference centre ($500,000)
- Numerous maintenance contracts with the Canadian Coast Guard for the Davie shipyard and confirmation of Project Resolve, which involves converting a ship into a supply ship for the Royal Canadian Navy
- Renovation of Fort No. 1 in Lévis ($5.5 million)
- Saint-Apollinaire multipurpose centre ($3.5 million)
- Honco soccer complex in Lévis ($500,000)
- Renovation of the armoury in Lévis ($1.3 million)
- Redevelopment of the Lévis ferry area ($6.3 million)
- Relocation of Patro de Lévis ($1.2 million)
- Creation of the Lévis Convention and Exhibition Centre ($4 million)
- Extension of the natural gas network to include Lévis and Bellechasse ($17.5 million)