The next crazy years

It looks like Eric Girard did it on purpose.

With his astonishing update of optimism, he came to counterbalance the depressing statement of his Prime Minister who, a few minutes earlier, had warned that the next Covidian weeks were going to be difficult.

After a short plateau that filled us with hope in October, the curve of the second wave started up again. Horacio Arruda may have regained control of his “message” thanks to a communication expert (the efficient Eric Gamache), all this remains discouraging.

Christmas 2020 promises to be austere, even for children who may have extended holidays.

And what about New Year’s Day celebrations! One thing is certain, the new “tradition” of cursing the year which is ending – as if it were the worst in history – will no doubt be maintained and strengthened this year! (When you think that many of us launched “Good ridding, 2019” on January 1, 2020!)

Éric Girard allowed himself to direct our gazes over the mountain of constantly ascending curves that we are currently climbing.

Certainly, the pandemic costs a fortune and will put us in debt. Quebec, for three years, will be grappling with gigantic deficits: $ 15, 8, 7 billion.

But Mr. Girard liked to depict the regions where we will end up next: those of the “rebound”, where there are green valleys. The Quebec economy is expected to grow by 5% in one year. The nation’s finances would even be rebalanced from 2025-2026 (it’s the law. But a law changes, right?).

Vaccine, cure, resumption of normal life: 2021, 2022 and the following ones could be new “crazy years”. Like those that followed the Spanish Flu after the First World War.

It is certainly good to “think positive” for a Minister of Finance. When he talks about the state of the economy, his statements have a performative aspect: they partly create reality; are “self-fulfilling prophecies”.

Hence the frequent reluctance of the Ministers of Finance and the Economy to admit that we are in a recession. As soon as it does, it creates uncertainty that depresses economic activity.

Of course, currently no one is denying the recession! The minister’s optimistic forecasts are intended to be just as performative. This is his “it’s going to be fine” to him.

There is obviously a gamble involving certain risks, including that of disappointment.

The “needs” may be “undeniable” in health, as Mr. Girard insisted, it would be surprising if the federal government, whose debt doubled during the pandemic, increases its total funding of health systems to more than 30%. . Its contribution is currently around 23%. If it did so, for Quebec, that would represent $ 6.2 billion more per year.

We do not yet know which “path” the Legault government will take to return to equilibrium. He will specify that in the budget. What will he do if negotiations with Ottawa fail? He has already promised not to increase taxes or taxes (what Vincent Marissal from QS suggested to him yesterday morning).

Perhaps the government is secretly counting on a “roaring twenties” type rebound?

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