Credits: TORONTO SUN/QMI AGENCY
Think of the deadbeat brother-in-law who hits you up for money and then drives away in his BMW while you still drive a K-car.
Now think of Quebec.
As our parliamentary bureau’s John Robson reminded us on Monday, Quebec has pocketed a quarter of a trillion dollars in equalization payments since 1957, half the money the transfer program has dished out.
Yes, it has paid into the program too, but Robson did the math, and uncovered the equivalent of the deadbeat brother-in-law who borrows money but never quite pays it back.
Quebec, as he discovered, has contributed $107 billion of the $510 billion in transfer payments since Elvis Presley led the charts with All Shook Up, but has received $243 billion in return.
In other words, Quebec taxpayers got back $2.36 for every buck they put into the transfer payment scheme.
Yet, despite this unrequited largesse, Parti Quebecois Leader Pauline Marois is leading the polls in next month’s provincial election and, as she put it in Sunday’s debate, would “have sovereignty tomorrow” if she could.
This is hardly thanks for the $250 billion that Canadian taxpayers have given to Quebec for a half century.
Quebec is in a bind.
Thanks to a low birth rate (despite the lunacy of $7-per-day daycare and lowest college tuition on the continent), plus low immigration numbers, the average Quebecer is older than in any province except P.E.I.
Immigrants seeking a better life here aren’t stupid, especially those with money to invest.
While there was room last year for upwards of 10,000 business-class immigrants to Quebec under Liberal Premier Jean Charest, only 2,500 took a chance.
But if Pauline Marois wins, not only will there be a tidal wave of businesses heading to safer economic ground, the PQ’s loathing of immigrants — no religious symbols except the Christian cross to be worn by public servants, etc. — will hardly be confused as a welcome mat.
Fascist is difficult to misconstrue.
Without young, skilled immigrants to fill the jobs vacuum, and to pay the taxes that support social programs, Quebec is already on a downward slide, and saddled with a deficit that would more than double without transfer payments.
Under Pauline Marois, it’d be a goner.