Relative to the size of its economy, Quebec is the most indebted province in Canada by a wide margin, according to a report released Tuesday by the Fraser Institute.

The Vancouver-based think tank calls Quebec's debt levels "worryingly high" and "uncontrolled." Its 50-page report on the issue, released amid the province's current election campaign, laments that the amount of indebtedness has so far attracted "limited attention" in the province. 

Quebec's net direct debt reached $175.5 billion in 2012-13, the authors of the report say, attributing the five-fold rise since 1990 to the various PQ and Liberal governments since then. That amounts to $21,708 per person — the highest in Canada.

Interest payments on the debt were $9.8 billion in the 2012-13 fiscal year, which was equivalent to more than 11 per cent of government revenues.

"That's money unavailable for health care, education or other social services," notes Filip Palda, a senior fellow of the Fraser Institute.

Quebec's net direct debt amounts to 49 per cent of its GDP, the highest among the provinces, and is much higher than Ontario's 37.4 per cent.

Even New York, with a bonded debt level of 12.3 per cent of GDP, pales when compared with Quebec, the report says.

Earlier on HuffPost: Which Provinces Are In The Most Financial Trouble?

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  • Which Provinces Are In The Most Financial Trouble?

  • Provincial Debt Per Person

  • Alberta: $3,122 cumulative surplus

    Alberta's cumulative surplus shrank this year to due the province's budget deficit. Last year, Alberta taxpayers were up $4,337 per person.

  • Saskatchewan: $3,542 debt per person

  • British Columbia: $8,249 debt per person

  • Manitoba: $12,722 debt per person

  • New Brunswick: $14,553 debt per person

    New Brunswick has seen its debt shoot up. Last year, it was only $13,336 debt per person.

  • Nova Scotia: $14,708 debt per person

  • Newfoundland: $16,743 debt per person

  • Federal debt: $17,451 per person

  • Ontario: $18,717 debt per person

  • Quebec: $21,922 debt per person

  • P.E.I.: Data not available

  • Also on HuffPost:

    PROVINCIAL BUDGET DEFICITS, 2012-2013

  • Saskatchewan: $58 million surplus

    Government budget balance for fiscal 2012-2013, according to data compiled by RBC.

  • P.E.I.: $69 million deficit

    Government budget balance for fiscal 2012-2013, according to data compiled by RBC.

  • Nova Scotia: $302 million deficit

    Government budget balance for fiscal 2012-2013, according to data compiled by RBC.

  • New Brunswick: $411 million deficit

    Government budget balance for fiscal 2012-2013, according to data compiled by RBC.

  • Manitoba: $583 million deficit

    Government budget balance for fiscal 2012-2013, according to data compiled by RBC.

  • Newfoundland - $431 million deficit

    Government budget balance for fiscal 2012-2013, according to data compiled by RBC.

  • British Columbia: $1.1 billion deficit

    Government budget balance for fiscal 2012-2013, according to data compiled by RBC.

  • Quebec: $1.5 billion deficit

    Government budget balance for fiscal 2012-2013, according to data compiled by RBC.

  • Alberta: $2.8 billion deficit

    Government budget balance for fiscal 2012-2013, according to data compiled by RBC.

  • Ontario: $9.8 billion deficit

    Government budget balance for fiscal 2012-2013, according to data compiled by RBC.

  • Federal: $25.9 billion deficit

    Government budget balance for fiscal 2012-2013, according to data compiled by RBC.

"Comparisons with other North American jurisdictions including New York, a state known for its debt issues, might prompt Quebecers to insist that their government take action to curb its debt problem,"said Sean Speer, the associate director of fiscal studies at the Fraser Institute.  

The report warns that if current taxation and spending patterns are maintained, Quebec's net debt may reach more than 57 per cent of GDP by 2022-23. 

It also warns that a spike in interest rates would result in an even larger portion of the province's resources being devoted to debt servicing.

Quebec's most recent provincial budget, presented less than a month ago, projects a deficit of $1.75 billion in 2014-15.