Premier Jean Charest is turning to Prime Minister Stephen Harper to deal Quebec a favourable budget next month at the height of a probable provincial election campaign to help seal a Liberal victory.
With a federal budget expected on March 20 and a Quebec election anticipated on March 26, insiders say Mr. Charest is devising a strategy with the input of Mr. Harper's Conservative minority government to demonstrate that federalism remains the most profitable option for Quebeckers.
Ottawa has already announced that changes to the equalization-payment formula will inject close to $1-billion more into Quebec's coffers during the next fiscal year. Mr. Harper has also promised to solve the so-called fiscal imbalance between Ottawa and the provinces in the next federal budget that would give Quebec billions more in additional revenues over the course of a second provincial Liberal mandate.
A spokesperson for the Premier's office said yesterday that Mr. Charest talked at least once to Mr. Harper last week, but refused to say whether the budget was discussed.
Shades of Robert Bourassa's federalisme rentable all over again. Wonder what other goodies will be in the budget bag for Quebec?
Source: Globe and Mail