The Quebec Liberal Party made a $16.3 billion error in its financial framework. He pleads the complexity of the exercise and the lack of internal resources to explain his blunder.
“These things happen. I don't have 35 officials to help me do that. We are two people (…) (Au) PLQ, like the other parties, the resources to carry out a campaign are limited ”, explained the liberal Carlos Leitao, however himself former Minister of Finance, Wednesday afternoon, in impromptu press in Quebec.
According to him, “what we have done is the equivalent of a budget. We did it in three weeks with very limited resources (…) Calculating Quebec's public debt is probably the most complex thing there is.”
The Liberals left after the revelations of La Presseregarding an error originally estimated at $12 billion appearing in the calculation of the debt recorded in their financial framework. The party admitted to having incorrectly integrated the previous debts.
16.3 billion $ instead of 12 billion $
At the end of the day on Wednesday, the Liberals published the updated financial framework. We discover that the error ultimately related to $16.3 billion. Thus, Quebec's gross debt will be $256.9 billion in 2027, instead of the $240.6 billion initially recorded.
In addition to the error on the debt, the Liberals had not recognized $2.8 billion in pandemic-related expenses. “We also took that into consideration (expenses related to the pandemic) after discussions with economists from the University of Sherbrooke,” added Carlos Leitao.
How could this error have happened? “We have put our efforts into calculating our commitments (…) Calculating the debt is still a complex calculation. Probably it was a little too fast”, conceded Mr. Leitao.
The latter added that the party could not base itself on the figures contained in the Quebec budget, tabled in last March, and that it absolutely had to wait for the publication of the pre-election report on the state of public finances (August 15) to start working on its financial framework.
“The time is still quite fast to do this kind of work. For all the political parties, we don't have an army of civil servants,” reiterated the man who chairs the Liberal campaign.
After initially excluding them, the Liberals also decided to include expenditures of $2.8 billion related to COVID 19 in their updated financial framework, which is to be posted online this Wednesday. “We also took that into consideration after discussions with economists from the University of Sherbrooke,” added Carlos Leitao.
“It doesn't change the dynamic that much”
Mr. Leitao insisted that the “correction” “changes very little” to the financial framework, since the commitments and political choices of the Liberals are not affected. “It doesn't change the dynamic that much,” he said. It does not unbalance the framework, especially since the debt-GDP ratio is still falling (slower than expected).
Liberal Marc Tanguay added that “notwithstanding the correction, we are today tabling the same financial framework. The return to balanced budgets is not changed. We are not touching the Generations Fund. We have the same political priorities to respond to inflation (…) Making this correction has no impact.
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Katrine Johns has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining The Gal Post, Katrine Johns worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my email@example.com 1-800-268-7128