Recently the news in Quebec has turned to the economy, the budget and job losses. Talk is often about the economy as something separate from society.
A truly great society sustains its environment, provides patronage for the arts and cares for its disadvantaged. Life flourishes in a beautiful and clean place. Every soul is fed by beauty and the arts. No decent person wants to see survival of the fittest destroy our compatriots who cannot compete temporarily or at all.
When we see a luxury automobile we are impressed with the best in accessories and European styling. Yet a car without a well maintained engine won’t go far. A society without a powerful, well tuned and maintained economy will not go far either.
An economic study by the Montreal HEC shows that Quebec has steadily become poorer relative to its neighbors. The National Post reported that in spite of bountiful natural resources Quebec is on pace to become Canada’s poorest province. I know there are always dangers of making comparisons like these however it appears there is a trend here.
I have seen for myself that Quebec has a beautiful society. It has a strong commitment to the environment, a fulsome patronage of the arts, and the most generous social programs in Canada. There is much to envy about Quebec’s society because it is a beautiful place to live.
Yet according to the study and the most recent Quebec budget, each year Quebec becomes more dependent on other provinces. They have powerful economic engines, driving not only their own societies, but it seems Quebec’s too.
Sustainable development was first promoted as a way to balance maintenance of our economy engine with the goals of society. Now it is used to say ‘no’ to investment in the very engine that supports the society we all want.
Questerre’s natural gas discovery could represent a permanent transfer of world leading technology combined with billions of investment in to the Quebec economy. Western Canadians are the world’s best at onshore natural gas development with all the technology of the Americans with better regulatory outcomes on safety and the environment.
With other responsible resource development, it’s an opportunity for Quebecers to: rekindle their position as the original entrepreneurs of Canada; recapture a time when the economy of Quebec drove not just Quebec society but all of Canada; and create an autonomous and sustainable society driven by a made in Quebec economy.
The current option of continuing transfer payments is unsustainable and not in Quebec’s long term interests. It will, according to the National Post, lead to a war between the “have-nots.”
Why not think about adopting modern technology proven in Western Canada as a way to maintain the economic engine of Quebec’s enviable society.