Québec’s place in a changing world
Philippe Couillard promotes “an innovative method of governing” at CORIM luncheon
By Jean-Luc Burlone
Prime Minister Philippe Couillard gave a speech that brilliantly highlights the strengths of the Liberal Party and neglects just as brilliantly its weaknesses.
Minister Dominique Anglade introduced her boss as a man with a sharp understanding of national and international issues. In fact, he was just recognized for his contribution to our bilateral relations with the United States, receiving an award from the Foreign Policy Association of New York.
In front of 500 people attending the CORIM luncheon, our Prime Minister revealed a series of numbers reflecting the excellent economic status of Québec. He put forward important achievements from the past four years and his performance was greeted by standing ovation from an audience where the elite was well represented.
Mr. Couillard began his speech by listing a dozen important changes that took place in the world during his watch and induced the notion that his team was able to anticipate these changes, since anticipation is a feature of the Quebec Liberal Party DNA.
The Prime Minister proudly promotes an innovative method of governing as the signature of his government. The method is exemplified by a co-creation of public policies resulting from the concertation practised by the Liberal Party. Clearly an able method to continue the good work of his team in a context where political and economic uncertainty reigns.
… in response to the actions of the US administration, the government has implemented a substitution policy, where American inputs will be replaced by Québec products…
Mr. Couillard openly displayed the financial success of his government. Indeed, reduced debt, an unemployment rate close to 5%, a balanced budget, an increase in Québec’s credit rating by Standard & Poor and strong economic growth, are all indisputable achievements. As stated, his government has gained the credibility and has the flexibility to attract new investment ($ 2 billion in 2017).
The Liberal Party record includes the implementation of strategies in key sectors of the economy: aerospace, aluminium, the Plan Nord, the forestry industry, the energy and the cultural industry. Not forgetting the artificial intelligence field that has been sustained and a maritime strategy that has been launched.
As well, strategies appropriate to the international context were activated: 33 representative offices in 19 countries are now in operation and, in response to the actions of the US administration, the government has implemented a substitution policy, where American inputs will be replaced by Québec products – a buy local policy applied at the provincial scale.
Notwithstanding this autarkic trend, the Prime Minister values trade agreements such as the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA), the Global and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPP) and he looks favourably to a possible agreement with Mercosur. He also restated that emigration, the environment and human rights remain high on his government’s agenda.
‘… the Prime Minister values trade agreements such as the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA), the Global and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPP) and he looks favourably to a possible agreement with Mercosur.’
The obvious message is that the Liberal team is competent, experienced and innovative. To maintain Québec’s economic growth and to maintain its international influence, we must continue to build on the qualities embodied by the Liberal team. However, one should also remember that several important members of this team are now leaving it.
In addition, many do not forget easily that the financial recovery was paid by children who went to school with an empty stomach and by elderly people who did not receive their weekly baths. Many also do not forget that big or small, financial shenanigans seem to be ingrained in the Liberal Party of Quebec.
The elections this fall will be interesting. Prime Minister Couillard is a formidable adversary, even for a leader like Mr. Legault who has the favour of the polls.
To be continued this fall.
The piece above expresses my own opinion after attending the CORIM conference on June 21, 2018. – JLB
Images: Sylvie-Ann Paré
Fellow of the Canadian Securities Institute (FCSI), Jean-Luc Burlone has an excellent knowledge of financial product management and holds a Master’s degree in economics from the Université de Montréal with a dual specialization in development economics and International economy – finance and email@example.com