Another balanced budget and concrete action
to build a more caring, more prosperous society
2003-2004 Budget presents a clear vision for Québec
in the years to come. A confident, bold, innovative Québec
where everyone can make a contribution in his or her own way.
A Québec that is able to work in concert with everything
in our society that moves, thinks, creates and builds. A Québec
where the State has its place, but not the only place. A State
that serves families and the regions. A State that plays its
role to the fullest while respecting the priorities of Quebecers.
March 11, 2003 - Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of
Finance, the Economy and Research Pauline Marois today delivered
the 2003-2004 Budget Speech before the National Assembly.
2003-2004 Budget is being tabled in a stimulating, encouraging
context. Today, we can build on some important achievements,
thanks to our successes as a society with regard to sound
public finances, job creation and social development. Together,
we have succeeded in rising to considerable challenges, and
together, we shall continue to build a dynamic, solidary Québec,"
stressed the Deputy Prime Minister.
the past few months, in conjunction with pre-Budget consultations,
the Minister of Finance, the Economy and Research met with
people from the 17 regions of Québec.
consultations underscored three fundamental needs that are
addressed in the 2003-2004 Budget Speech:
a balanced budget;
economic activity and job creation with a view to generating
that this prosperity leads to a more caring society.
while maintaining balanced public finances, the 2003-2004
Budget Speech provides for clear measures to improve the quality
of life of all Quebecers, in particular:
million over three years to make it easier to balance work
and family life, including a new tax credit for parental
leave for self-employed workers and a new tax credit for
initiatives totalling $27 million to make it easier for
young people to remain in, or return to, the regions;
additional $270 million to improve access to housing;
tax deduction for the cost of employees' monthly transit
tax increases and maintenance of a zero deficit for the sixth
are no tax increases in this year's Budget and the Minister
announced a zero deficit for the sixth consecutive year.
maintaining sound, well-managed public finances, we give ourselves
tools with which to take action without compromising the prospects
of future generations. I want to emphasize that, thanks to
our excellent budget management, we have succeeded in significantly
reducing the government debt load. Between 1998 and 2003,
the debt-GDP ratio fell from 43.8% to 35.1%," the Deputy
Prime Minister stated.
budget that reflects the priorities of Quebecers
the maintenance of a balanced budget is being accomplished
in a difficult context of persistent fiscal imbalance between
Ottawa and the provinces, Ms. Marois emphasized that the new
initiatives announced in the 2003-2004 Budget will be entirely
funded through a major budgetary reallocation.
this Budget, we introduce new initiatives to balance work
and family life and continue building a more prosperous Québec.
We make more resources available for education and health.
We continue the fight against poverty. At the same time, we
propose concrete measures to enhance environment quality and
support our dynamic culture. And those are just the first
steps we intend to take in the coming years," affirmed
the Deputy Prime Minister.
2003-2004 Budget Speech preserves the main financial framework
and will enable Québec to adapt rapidly if warranted
by international events. It also prepares for the future by
investing in the know-how of Quebecers and in their quality
Budget carries a message of confidence in, and promise for,
the strength of our economy, which created 170 000 jobs between
December 2001 and December 2002, and the ability of the regions
to participate fully in the prosperity of Québec as
a whole. It paves the way for a fairer and more caring and
equitable society and commits to stimulating initiatives that
will enhance the quality of life of all Quebecers," Ms.