September 2, 2014 4:10 pm
Updated: September 2, 2014 6:43 pm

Program reform: Quebecers invited to weigh in

QUEBEC CITY – Where should the province cut? Which programs are superfluous?

President of the Treasury Board Martin Coiteux urged Quebecers on Tuesday to “express themselves” by sharing some of their ideas on a new government web page.

“Many people have voiced comments and concerns on the radio, on websites,” said Coiteux.

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“Now, they have an opportunity to do it without filter, directly with the government and the commission, and we expect this exercise will be a constructive one.”

The holder of the purse strings said he needs to find $3.2 billion to achieve zero deficit in 2015-2016.

He said if nothing is done, government spending will increase by 3 per cent on average a year — something he maintained the province can’t afford.

Coiteux believes even unions realize this.

“My preliminary discussions with them indicate to me that they will participate fully to this exercise,” he said.

“They are extremely interested, they are preparing their own documents and they want to voice, not only their concerns, but their ideas.”

Coiteux will also sit down with representatives of various groups, including government departments, in the coming weeks.

Labour Minister Sam Hamad told reporters work has begun inside his ministry.

“We are working right now, we have many meetings, many discussions in order to see where we can reduce, how we can be more efficient,” he said.

In the meantime, the government-appointed committee in charge of reviewing spending continues its work.

Quebecers may find out more about possible cuts later this fall, when the committee tables its first report.

© Shaw Media, 2014

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