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Public Sector Reform

The Pros and Cons of Public Service User Fees

Without fanfare, the Quebec government recently took a sharp turn towards implementing user fees for public services. Beginning with its first budget in June 2003, the government stopped reimbursing parents for fees required by elementary and secondary schools. Then it announced an increase in contributions to the drug insurance plan and lifted the freeze on electricity rate increases. In November it announced an increase in fees at childcare centres and allowed public transit corporations to hike fares. This is just the beginning.

Le démantèlement de l’État-providence au Québec: mythe ou réalité?

The history of public finance in Quebec since the 1960s can be summed up as follows: rapid spending growth and accumulated deficits until the mid-1990s, followed by a few years of budget cuts and elimination of the deficit, and then a resumption of spending growth right up to now. Contrary to what some people suggest, the Quebec government has not undergone a drastic slimming down in the last few years. Spending growth has continued since 1997.

The Economic Arguments Against Municipal Mergers

Despite strong local opposition, the government of Quebec has forged ahead with its ambitious project of municipal reorganization. This means that beginning January 1st, 2002, the 28 municipalities on the island of Montreal will be amalgamated into a single city divided into 27 boroughs; elsewhere in the province, dozens of other municipalities have also been forced to merge. However, the debate over the merits of this reorganization is set to continue.

The Scope of Government and the Wealth of Quebecers

This Economic Note examines the growth of Canadian government over the last few decades and provide some empirical estimates of the cost of this government expansion on the lives of Canadians generally and Quebecers in particular. Like many medicines, a small dose of government may lead to a healthy and vigorous society, but it can be a dangerous poison if taken in too large a dose.

Le « miracle celte »

Since 1987, Ireland has unquestionably become the star of the international economic world. That was the year an administration devoted to lower taxes and responsible management of public finances came to power. It was also the year a sort of social consensus developed in favour of moderation in labour costs. John Bruton, Leader of the Opposition in Dublin, played a pivotal role in this epic turnaround.

Étatisme et déclin du Québec – Bilan de la Révolution tranquille

Étatisme et déclin du Québec (Statism and the Decline of Quebec) is an incisive analysis of the Quiet Revolution, the pivot around which the accepted interpretation of Quebec history has gravitated. Before that came a period called la grande noirceur (the great darkness), which gave way to a liberating modernity and triumphal progress. Observation of the facts leads us to paint a very different picture, however. If the Quiet Revolution indicated a turning-point in our economic and social evolution, it was a turn for the worse that marked the beginning of an ever wider gap between Quebec’s growth rate and the rates for Ontario, Canada and the United States.

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