The province’s premier has come under fire for pledging to send out another cheque to Quebecers to help offset the impact of inflation — but only if his party is re-elected next fall.
François Legault made the comment during question period at the national assembly Tuesday. He said Coalition Avenir Québec members discussed the rising cost of living during its convention over the weekend.
“There will be an election campaign,” Legault said in the provincial legislature. “The Liberal Party is proposing to lift sales taxes on certain products. We prefer the approach of giving a cheque and letting Quebecers choose.”
In the spring budget, his government announced a one-time $500 payment for adults who earn less than $100,000 per year. But the premier says the estimated impact of inflation is “more than that” now.
“So we will have the opportunity, during the election campaign, each of the parties, to explain what we are going to do by the end of 2022,” Legault said.
The pledge has ruffled feathers among the Opposition parties, which slammed Legault and accused him of trying to curry favour with voters.
Parti Québécois MNA Pascal Bérubé told reporters Wednesday that he had never seen such a proposal during his time in politics. He said Legault is trying to “buy out an election.”
“Vote CAQ, receive later. It’s appalling,” he said. “Are we trying to buy Quebecers?
“We cannot say to Quebecers who are suffering: ‘We know that you are suffering, but you have to elect us to have access to money.’ That is not right.”
Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois, co-spokesperson of Québec solidaire, compared Legault’s management to patching potholes.
“So he patches the pothole, he sends a cheque, then six months later he finds out that it didn’t work,” Nadeau-Dubois said.
“Then he re-patches the pothole with another cheque. A patchwork attitude won’t get us out of the cost-of-living crisis. It will not work.”
Marc Tanguay of the Quebec Liberals also chided the promise of an inflation payment. That isn’t the kind of economy the citizens deserve, he added.
“François Legault thinks that he can buy votes — $500 once, $500 twice,” he said.
— with files from Global News’ Olivia O’Malley and The Canadian Press