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PostPosted: Mon Jan 16, 2017 9:49 am    Post subject: PQ would adopt a "buy Quebec act " if elected Reply with quote

PQ leader would adopt a "Buy Quebecois Act" if elected in 2018

Jocelyne Richer, The Canadian Press
Published Sunday, January 15, 2017 8:04PM EST
Last Updated Sunday, January 15, 2017 11:47PM EST

QUEBEC -- The leader of the Parti Quebecois says he would quickly adopt a "Buy Quebecois Act" if he were to become premier.

Jean-Francois Lisee says the act would be inspired by the idea of a Buy American law in the United States and would stimulate Quebec's economy by encouraging the purchase of local products.

He made the proposal during a speech at the party's national council meeting in Quebec City.

Later Sunday afternoon Lisee told reporters he doesn't believe prioritizing local purchases would conflict with free trade agreements.

His vision, laid out in a 75-page platform proposal rolled out Saturday, states that a PQ government would favour Quebec-made products, particularly when it comes to public bids.

The proposals in the document will be debated and amended if needed in the coming months before being adopted as the party's official program in September.

In a 40-minute closing speech dedicated exclusively to economic nationalism, Lisee said the province would favour "a Quebecois buying policy, of Quebecois content, wherever possible."

He also promised to be a strong leader willing to "show some muscle" in his dealings with both Ottawa and the United States if he manages to unseat the governing Liberals in the next election.

"(The United States) in the last years -- and this is accelerating -- is more affirmative in defending its interests, and if we stay with our arms crossed, it's us who will suffer," Lisee said when asked if a rising U.S. protectionist sentiment threatens Quebec exports.

President-elect Donald Trump has talked about bringing in Buy American provisions in a proposed $1 trillion infrastructure plan -- which could freeze out foreign companies.

As part of his proposed platform, Lisee said a Parti Quebecois government would also re-evaluate the role of the state economic levers placed at its disposal.

That, he said, could include changing the mandate of the province's pension fund manager to include regional development and working to keep Quebec companies' head offices in the province.

Lisee also said his government would demand its "fair share" of federal investments across the country, which he calculates would bring an additional $4 billion per year from Ottawa, allowing it to create 35,000 jobs.

Lisee has promised not to hold a referendum on sovereignty in his first mandate as premier.


Joined: 02 Mar 2009
Posts: 8944
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Location: Ontario

PostPosted: Mon Jan 16, 2017 9:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Faced with Trump, a PQ government would flex Quebec's nationalist economic muscle

Philip Authier, Montreal Gazette
More from Philip Authier, Montreal Gazette

Published on: January 15, 2017 | Last Updated: January 15, 2017 7:54 PM EST

PQ Leader Jean-François Lisée gestures during his opening speech at the first day of the Parti Québécois national council meeting in Quebec City on Saturday, January 14, 2017.

QUEBEC — Jean-François Lisée says if elected a Parti Québécois government would launch a fresh wave of economic nationalism using all the levers Quebec has to protect the province’s economy from the arrival of Donald Trump.

Saying the current Liberal government’s passive economic “naivité” has left the province a sitting duck for the new wave of American protectionism on the horizon, Lisée said it’s time to get with the new reality and that means playing every ace Quebec has in its hand.

“There aren’t only angels hovering around us on the continent,” Lisée said in a hard-hitting speech to 500 péquistes wrapping up a weekend party national council meeting in Quebec City.

“We are going to have to flex our muscles, defend our jobs, our market shares, tooth and nail, in the coming years.”

Lisée said the stakes are high and everything is on the line: from corporate head offices to softwood lumber and the billion-dollar dairy industry, which together represent thousands of jobs.

He said history shows Quebec can hardly count on the federal government to rescue the economy.

Ripping Ottawa and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in the same breath, Lisée said the central government unfairly shows largesse to the other provinces while shortchanging Quebec, even deliberately keeping it in “a vicious circle of poverty,” and then denigrating it when it gets equalization payments to boot.

“Do you think for one minute that if Bombardier’s headquarters was in Toronto or Edmonton, it (Quebec) would still be waiting for an aide cheque from Ottawa?” he said. “It would already be in the bank.”

He said if Quebec really got its fair share of federal investment, the province’s economy would be $4 billion richer a year and that represents 35,000 direct jobs.

Of the largest federal public investment in Canadian history in new warships — where Quebec’s total share is $20 billion — only $600 million will trickle down to the shipyards in Lévis cross the river from Quebec City.

“It’s the biggest economic injustice to Quebec in the history of Canada,” he said. “After this Ottawa will accuse us of not creating as many jobs as them, they will send us equalization payments while accusing us of being the welfare cases of Canada.

Later, at a news conference, Lisée ran down a list of Liberal economic bungling, lumping the loss of the Rona hardware giant to American interests as an example of the dark clouds looming on the horizon.

“The worse thing to do is sit with your arms crossed and believe you are doing enough,” Lisée said. “And the Liberals are not doing enough. We don’t ever want to re-live Rona. Never.”

He said the Liberals blew a chance to use funds in the province’s debt-reduction kitty, the Generations Fund, to prevent head offices from shipping out of Quebec.

Created in 2006, Quebec pours $2 billion a year into the fund which, as of March 31, 2016, was sitting on $8.5 billion. It is administered by the Caisse de dépôt et placement.

Lisée announced he has asked former PQ finance minister Nicolas Marceau to launch a study on how some of the money could be used for what he described as structural investments in the economy without endangering debt reduction.

Quebec has always hesitated to dip into the pool for fear of irritating the bond rating agencies, which see the fund as a buttress in the war against Quebec’s massive long-term debt.

The speech, however, was widely seen as the PQ trying to steal a page from the Coalition Avenir Québec’s political field guide to bagging right-wing voters. CAQ leader François Legault fancies himself the economic nationalist guy in Quebec and also favours using the Generations Fund for economic stimulation.

But Lisée was on a roll, breaking with PQ leaders’ past and devoting his entire speech to the economy.

As if to goad the Liberals, he opened his remarks by quoting a long passage of a speech by a man who knew all about economic nationalism, former Liberal premier Jean Lesage.

He went further, noting a PQ government would steal a page from the Americans by creating the Quebec version of the Buy America Act that favours the local economy. It would be called the Buy Québécois Act.

Lisée was full of surprises this weekend — his first real encounter with the party rank and file since becoming leader in September.

Even as the Liberals issued a statement accusing the PQ of spending the entire weekend talking about separation, Lisée had moved on to the economy.

The troops got a look at quite a different kind of leader — not even balking when he scolded them in an opening speech Saturday.

He argued the reason people turned their back on the PQ in the last few years is because the party was not clear and spent too much time in-fighting.

“This is not your grandfather’s PQ,” he said responding to the widespread perception the party is stuck in a time warp. “I want us to be zen.”

The contrast with former PQ leader Pierre Karl Péladeau was striking. While Péladeau loathed having to deal with the media, Lisée revels in it. He’s a Twitter junkie and — with the help of a new full time writer and some crackerack young advisers — delivered two major speeches complete with the help of slick videos.

Early Sunday morning, Lisée was busy holding an informal “off the record” coffee clutch with the province’s political columnists, analysts and bloggers.

On Saturday, reporters were allowed into a workshop run by former leadership candidate Paul St-Pierre Plamondon where delegates spoke openly on what the party needs to re-connect itself with voters.

Lisée emerges unscathed, even playing judo with the language issue. He swatted off hardliner Mario Beaulieu’s criticism of his language policy by saying Beaulieu is a perfect illustration of the old ways politicians operated.

There is, however, a feeling much of the policy haymaking in Lisée’s PQ is top-down, drawn from from his many years pontificating on every issue making headlines.

There’s also the impression the party rank-and-file doesn’t quite know what to make of their new leader, a former backroom operator with a quirky at times self-deprecating sense of humour, who is as as ease in French as he is in English and fond of quoting Hollywood movies.

But Lisée faces the same dilemma other leaders have.

To win the 2018 election, he has to convince Quebecers they have nothing to fear on the sovereignty referendum front. But to keep the peace with his party, he has to give the impression that the sovereignty dream is still alive.

Enter the new proposed party program, a 75-page document entitled “Le Chemin des victoires.” Handed out on Saturday, the document spells out not only what the party will campaign on it also includes a chunk on the PQ’s vision for a country to keep everybody’s zeal intact.

Hence, all the talk this weekend about the new Republic of Quebec — complete with a president, membership in the United Nations, a Supreme Court, a peacekeeping army and no more queen.

The party has eight months to kick that around before a policy convention in September.

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PQ would adopt a "buy Quebec act " if elected

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