ST-LAMBERT: Some of Quebec’s leading thinkers came together over the weekend to share their ideas for a more prosperous future.
The think tank was organized by the provincial liberals, in hopes of finding solutions to many of Quebec’s economic problems.
There’s no denying that Quebecers are getting older.
This, as well as the consequences an ageing population will have on Quebec’s economy, were two of the issues that took the spotlight at the ”Ideas for Quebec” forum.
“People are getting old,” admitted Jean-François Garneau, Forum Director.
“We’ll have more people to support who are ill and so the cost of supporting all of that will be higher.”
Organized by Quebec’s Liberal party, the three-day conference brought together some 70 non-partisan experts from various fields.
All of whom provided insight into the current state of Quebec’s affairs.
All also suggested solutions for a more prosperous future.
“With the ageing population, in order to maintain our standard of living, we need to increase our productivity rate,” said Garneau.
One of the proposed ways of upping productivity was inciting more immigrants to set up business in the province and Liberals want to figure out just what that incentive might be.
“What are the points that this person will see about Quebec?” asked Philippe Couillard, Quebec Liberal Leader.
“That will make that person decide that Quebec is the best place to live of course and also the best place to do business? that’s what I’m looking for.”
The answer for some at the Forum could be found overseas, in places like Scandinavia.
Quebec isn’t alone in facing an ageing population, and panelists suggested a foreign model might be worth investigating.
“It is possible to do it because the social democracy of Sweden, of Norway, and so on managed to do it,” said Garneau.
“We need to focus more on what they’re doing and try to do the same.”
The ageing population wasn’t the only issue up for discussion.
Experts shared ideas on the challenges of young entrepreneurs, innovations in the health sector, facilitating access to capital, and much more.
One panelist, Jean-Marie Bezard came all the way from France to take part in the debate.
He spoke about how interesting it is to see how other countries approach the problem.
From there, he said, Quebecers can see how to apply the solutions at home.
This is the first time in decades that such a forum was held.
The Liberals said they were surprised by the success of the event, the ideas that were shared and are already working on plans for a second edition next year.