Click on the Newspaper on the right to see the full newspaper Updated on May 15, 2013
Congratulations on your recent triumph and subsequent ascension to the throne of Quebec. It is truly refreshing to see some new ideas and vitality brought to bear on the Quebecois nation. Not often, but from time to time, I read the front section of our English daily. As such, I have gained some understanding of the Parti Quebecois platform and recognize that the party is a strong proponent of separation from Canada. As a fifth generation Quebecer, I too look forward to being liberated from the longstanding oppression wrought upon our nation by those meddlesome Canadians. However, while I understand the separatist dogma in concept, I must admit that my knowledge regarding the specifics of the plan are somewhat deficient. Owing to either insufficient intellectual curiosity or, in contemporary parlance, inadequate Google search skills, I am really at a loss to find answers to the specifics as to how Quebecois society will operate following the unilateral declaration of independence (“UDI”).
Accordingly, I have set forth below some questions regarding issues that may have a measure of importance to the surviving population of Quebec. So I humbly ask that you shed some light of some or all of the following trifling details.
1. Given that Quebec’s population represents 23% of the population of Canada, I naively assume that Quebec will assume 23% of the federal debt upon its exit from Canada. When such assumed debt is added to Quebec’s existing and debt load (which I understand to be substantial), can you please tell me what the combined debt per capita will be and how this figure compares to those of Greece, Sudan and Sierra Leone?
2. Like any child leaving the nurturing environment of the family nest, the obvious question is how will they survive on their own without the regular financial transfusions provided by their parents. Along these lines, how will liberated Quebec fill the financial void when the transfer payments formerly provided by Alberta, British Columbia and Ontario are truncated within 7 minutes of the magical UDI?
3. Following the UDI, I imagine that those elements intended to feel marginalized by the separation will, unsurprisingly, feel marginalized. A reasonable portion will presumably take the logical step and return to Canada proper. We all recognize that these emigrants will be the wealthier, better educated and upwardly mobile members of Quebec society. And, to be clear, to such value creators I say good riddance and take your economic clout with you. But in quiet moments I do wonder how liberated Quebec will replace the substantial tax base moving west? Will you simply create a new 90% tax bracket for the very, very few remaining high income earners and do you think such a tax rate will be viewed as excessive?
4. Without providing an exact number, it is a fact that there are a large number of federal government employees employed within Quebec. Once Quebec sheds the noose of confederation, I have to assume that the positions occupied by such federal government employees will become superfluous. So I ask, what is Quebec’s plan to provide financial assistance to the boatload of additional unemployed? Has this additional cost to society been accounted for and provided for in your economic projections?
5. The PQ’s existing tax policy is to create a punishing tax regime for the entrepreneurs, doctors, dentists, lawyers, engineers, architects and other undesirables who take advantage of society and in so doing earn disproportionate annual incomes. Have you considered how Quebecois society will cope if many such professionals bolt for greener pastures? Do we care if our existing doctor shortage becomes far more pronounced or are we better off evicting the bourgeoisie?
6. I was born in Canada and have only ever lived in Canada. Having said that, is my Canadian citizenship misappropriated following UDI?
7. Following UDI, I have to imagine that Quebec will have to adopt its own currency. I cannot imagine that it would be able to unilaterally decide to use the currency of a foreign country (such as Canada) as its own. In any event, how can Quebec use Canadian currency as its base when it has no ability to influence the fiscal policies underlying such currency? I do not doubt that you have a well thought out plan dealing with basic fiscal policy. For my own education, can you kindly share some elements of this plan in layman’s terms?
8. What exactly happens to my Canadian passport following UDI? Can I no longer travel outside the Quebec boundaries given that I am now a resident of a country with no passport regime?
9. What do the many companies operating in Quebec do with the processing of weekly payroll? To whom are taxes paid? Do we simply pay the Quebec portion and reap a massive windfall by no longer remitting any deductions at source whatsoever to Canada? That would be a surprising but welcome result as we can really use the additional disposable income in light of the arduous Quebec taxes that will likely been enhanced following UDI.
10. A sophisticated investor such as yourself surely understands that the financial markets have little tolerance or appetite for uncertainty. As such, Quebec bonds and debts will immediately see a significant risk premium included in the borrowing rates following UDI. The rising cost of borrowing will make interest on accumulated debts an even greater burden to be borne within the annual Quebec budget. What steps are planned to deal with this sizable increase in budgetary requirements? Surely this question has come up in previous caucus meetings.
11. Are the bank and brokerage accounts held by Quebecers in Canada simply lost as some form of collateral damage following UDI ? How do the TD Banks and Royal Banks of the world repatriate these now non-resident accounts?
12. With enhanced anti-immigrant policies, continued diminishing birth rates and the encouraged emigration of upwardly mobile anglophones and francophones, what is the revised actuarial estimate of the bankruptcy date for the Quebec pension plan? Will you simply increase the allowable retirement age to 93 and hope that everyone dies before receiving any annuity from the government plan?
13. In taking over the unemployment insurance regime, how is it possible that Quebecers’ enhanced usage of such regime will not bankrupt the Quebec-only plan within months of its inception? Will you simply quadruple the contributions to be made by the givers within the system as a means of balancing the contributions with the claims and investment losses?
14. Obviously many of the current programs that survive on the basis of large-scale redistribution of wealth will have to be curtailed. How will Quebec wind-down the existing $7 per day daycare, the exaggerated parental leave initiatives and other corporate welfare programs?
15. With the termination of all federal contributions to infrastructure, how will liberated Quebec fund the emergency restoration of its crumbling roads, bridges and networks? Will you simply add another 50 cents per litre of gas tax? Surely such a tax increase can be sold to the public when cloaked within purported environmental concerns.
16. UDI will provide Quebec with additional tools to further oppress the English-speaking minority and the English language itself. Will liberated Quebec offer subsidized sign language classes so that unilingual Quebecers can communicate with its North American neighbors?
17. Will the many arts and cultural programs funded by the federal largess simply be eliminated from liberated Quebecois society?
18. What is the cost of establishing border protection systems and regimes for liberated Quebec? Moreover, what about the cost of a Quebec military presence? I understand that defense can represent a meaningful chunk of the annual budget of a sovereign state. How many Quebecois pesos have been budgeted for these initiative?
Needless to say, I have other questions but the foregoing represents a reasonable initial list of concerns that we should at least gloss over in anticipation of the third referendum within the best of 7 series. I am sorry to burden you with these minor issues when instead you would clearly prefer to focus on the parade that will follow UDI. I understand your approach as my young children also prefer to focus on the playground as opposed to the classroom responsibilities. But at some level there are likely a few Quebecers other than myself that have wondered how the liberation of Quebec might affect the daily workings of our fragile society.
I would appreciate some answers to these questions and I imagine that after 35 years of separatist threats and promises, you have likely given each question at least a few minutes of concentrated thought.
I thank you for your attention to this matter and am confident that we can work together to better understand the future of our Quebecois nation.
Click on the Newspaper on the right to see the full newspaper Updated on May 15, 2013
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