PQ economic plan: a fever for freezing doctor‘s salaries

Doctors, doctors, here is some news: the Parti Quebecois has a bad case of wanting to freeze your pay.

On Thursday, as other leaders laid low to prepare for the first debate, PQ leader Jean-Francois Lisee laid out his party’s economic plan, including an aim to keep doctors’ salaries from growing.

Lisee said doctors and specialists had hit “the jackpot” under the Liberals. In February, the Liberal government reached with the province’s medical specialists. That deal gives the specialists a salary increase of just over 11 per cent over an eight-year stretch, as well as a payout of $1.5 billion owed from a previous agreement.

A study released in March concluded that Quebec’s doctors are than their counterparts in other provinces.

Lisee said that while his party’s plan would increase spending by 4.7 per cent over four years, that money would be spent on other things than pay increases.

“We love doctors, they do an incredible job, but they had a raise of about 40 per cent of their remuneration in the last years,” he said. “This did not give more services to Quebec patients. Now, if we leave the Liberals, or it seems now the CAQ, 7 billion hard-earned dollars of Quebec taxpayers will be given to 22,000 doctors. They don’t need it. The elderly need it, the patients need it.”

Lisee said he wants to build a more equitable society, with higher taxes on the wealthy and multinational corporations.

The plan also calls for an increase of 3.6 per cent over four years for education spending and $10 billion over 10 years for infrastructure projects. Lisee added that the numbers are conservative, saying that factors such as American President Donald Trump make economic projections unpredictable.

The PQ leader also addressed a recent Ipsos poll showing that 7 out of 10 young Quebecers consider themselves federalists.

Lisee said he doesn’t believe young Quebecers have any stronger feelings for Canada than they used to, and he believes, as premier, he can make a case to those doubtful about sovereignty that an independent Quebec would have greater say over its destiny.