The spectacle offered to us by the President of the Treasury Board is a demonstration of the contempt he holds for public service employees. Mr. Coiteux seems more willing to discredit those whom he considers as his adversaries than to negotiate. Since the beginning of the negotiations, the 400,000 government employees, united in a common front, have been patronized by this man who has nothing of a representative of the people and everything of an individual who believes he has received his title as divine right, like a monarch. All that is now missing is an authoritarian special law that would consecrate this government's increasingly anti-democratic orientation.
Year after year, a large proportion of state employees are getting poorer. In comparison with the private sector, public sector employees are seeing a difference of 8.3 per cent in wages, even when taking into account the benefits. In addition, their jobs are often precarious. Yet it is the state that should set an example by providing favourable conditions to its workers in order to encourage the private sector to improve the working conditions of its employees.
Public services are essential to ensure fairness in society. The services provided by state employees improve the daily lives of hundreds of thousands of Quebec citizens and promote social justice. But this, Mr. Coiteux will not tell you. He is too attached to his economic only vision of society. He is clearly living on another planet. This man seems to be part of a political and economic elite to whom public services are useless since they are able to pay for them individually. Hello generosity!
The Liberal's vision of the 21st century state does not appear to provide anything to address the problems of socio-economic inequalities or anything else for that matter.
While the cost of living rose by 40 per cent, the wages of state employees grew by 29 per cent. It is difficult not to be impoverished in such a situation. Moreover, impoverishing 500,000 workers is also impoverishing us collectively. State employees contribute to the economy, they pay taxes for goods and services, they pay income taxes like every citizen and unlike some companies.
In light of this information, can we claim that this government is really acting for the good of all citizens? It seems at this moment that we are far from the government by the people and for the people.
Balancing their budget on the backs of the poor and the middle class
Tax evasion results in the loss of nearly $3,5 billion a year for the Quebec Treasury. Lately, the government has mainly attacked the "small" tax evasion and undeclared "under the table" work. But can we say the same of the great tax planning that allows affluent, multinationals and banks to minimize their tax contributions or even to not pay any taxes at all.
According to Alain Deneault, companies finance the national budget upwards of 12 per cent or 13 per cent, while individuals, who include state employees, fund 50 per cent of Quebec's budget. What makes it even more absurd is that in trying to maintain the wages, pension funds and benefits for employees in the public service at a minimum, Mr. Coiteux is currently impoverishing the individuals who finance 50 per cent of the states budget. We should perhaps remind Mr. Coiteux that he serves all citizens regardless of the size of their wallets. All this to say that behind the well-orchestrated public relations hides once again an attack against the citizen and what he has acquired.