Public, municipal and cultural circles react to Girard’s budget

MONTREAL. Organizations from various backgrounds have reacted to Finance Minister Eric Girard’s latest budget. Some meet its content with some disappointment, others welcome the planned investment. Here are some reactions.

The Quebec Autonomous Community Action Network (RQ-ACA) expected more recognition for its sector. “Thanks to the public sector, we have been able to maintain the social safety net during the pandemic,” says the RQ-ACA press release, which estimates the pre-pandemic needs of organizations at $460 million, indexed and recurring.

“We recognize that the amounts announced are significant and repetitive. They come after a wave of historical mobilization in society. However, for 2022-2023 they represent only a tiny fraction (25%) of the needs on the ground, and in five years they will represent only half of them,” he added.

Quebec Food Banks (BAQ) say they are frustrated by the lack of concrete action to tackle food insecurity, “while inflation poses a big threat to the most vulnerable in our society.”

“We will continue our collaboration with the government to take action to meet the 50% to 60% increase in demand for food aid,” CEO Martin Munger commented in a press release.

Regroupement des maison des jeunes du Québec also greets with disappointment the finance minister’s budget. The additional package for a mission of 3,000 health and human services organizations falls short of even the $68 million needed this year to support the core operations of its 217 youth centers, according to the RMJQ.

“We will wait to see all the details as we review budget allocations, but it is clear that the screaming needs of our community organizations have not been heard despite their historic mobilization in recent weeks,” said RMJQ CEO Nicholas Lego. , according to a press release.

The Quebec Tobacco Control Coalition says it is “once again disappointed and bewildered by the lack of an increase in the tobacco tax”, costing the government tens of millions of dollars in addition to reducing the number of smokers.

“It is almost stunning to see our leaders once again abandon the most effective measure to reduce smoking, an industrial epidemic that kills 13,000 Quebecers every year, twice as many as COVID-19. Despite the pandemic, smoking monopolizes a third of the resources associated with a hospital stay,” Coalition co-director and spokesperson Flory Duca said in a press release.

The Union of Agricultural Producers (ACP) notes several positive measures, but regrets that they are not adequate, especially in terms of agroecology.

“(…) In general, state support for the agricultural sector does not allow for optimal development, especially in the current environment of uncertainty and very high volatility. Over the past ten years, budget transfers have generally declined. The Government of Quebec can and should do more with respect to agroecology and risk management in particular, because the needs are great,” UPA President Martin Caron said in a press release.

Municipal environment

The municipal world, for its part, welcomes several investments to support the development of the regions.

The Union of Municipalities of Quebec (UMQ) is pleased with $293 million in aid over two years for public transport organizations, as well as support for air transport and intercity transport.

“Aid to air transport is welcome, especially as our regions have been hit by severe flight cuts.»stressed in a press release, UMQ President and Mayor Gaspé Daniel Cote.

The additional millions of dollars for AccèsLogis and Quebec’s affordable housing program are also good news for UMQ.

“Considering the announced amounts, we have high hopes that we will be able to once and for all settle the backlog in social housing that has accumulated over 10 years. Despite these measures, we must continue to work together to address the structural housing shortage across Quebec,” said Mr Cote.

The Federation of Municipalities of Quebec (FQM) welcomes investment in improving cell coverage throughout the territory.

“As a representative of the regions, FQM has made the cellular network a priority, and therefore we intend to closely monitor this issue until access is guaranteed for everyone. The next step will be to get a strong commitment from all political parties to complete the network during the next election campaign,” said Jacques Demers, President and Mayor of Sainte-Catherine-de-Hatley.

culture

The culture sector will receive almost $160 million next year, but details about the distribution of this amount are not yet known.

SODEC is set to receive $58.6 million over three years, to the delight of the Association of Music Publishing Professionals (APEM). In a press release, she said she hoped the amount would “increase the investment made by SODEC in music publishing and, more broadly, in the music sector.”

According to the Quebec Association of the Recording, Entertainment and Video Industries (ADISQ), Girard’s budget “sends a clear message” about the support given to the cultural community.

“Since the beginning of the pandemic, the Quebec government has been supporting the music industry. This budget reaffirms its commitment to local culture while recognizing its catalytic role for our society and our economy,” ADISQ CEO Yves Pare said in a press release.

If the Quebec Association for Media Production (AQPM) approves the proposed assistance, it would like “more sustainable funds” for independent producers.

“The adjustment of the audiovisual tax credit recommended by our association would be a structuring measure for the industry, providing it with the necessary foundation to produce ambitious content,” said AQPM President and CEO in a press release. , Helen Messier.

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