Ex Finance Minister Carlos Leitao regrets CBC News

Ex-Finance Minister Carlos Leitao regrets

We should have been a bit more moderate on education, Mr. Leitao concedes as part of our special series In the Skin of the Minister of Finance of the podcast question of interest on the Ohdio application. If it had to be done again in education, I think we would have gone slower.

According to him, several structural obstacles in the education sector make it difficult for the department to use the amounts allocated to it in a timely manner. With a growth of only 0.2% of the planned education budget in fiscal year 2015-2016, Carlos Leitao’s second, the situation has become unsustainable.

Criticism came from many quarters. Most difficult of all, these cuts mostly translated into a slowdown or even a hiring freeze. Here’s how we achieved our budget goals: by not replacing those who left. […] I admit that this has caused many difficulties in education, explains Mr. Leitao.

In the shoes of Carlos Leitao

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In the skin of Carlos Leitao. 30 minute audio content, podcast. listen to audio.

Duration of 30 minutes29:42

“A large number of teachers chose to leave the education system in 2015 as the government planned to tighten rules on early retirement. There were a lot more people leaving than we expected,” he admits.

Don’t be surprised, Carlos Leitao’s wife told her husband, who is a teacher and has been challenged during years of austerity in their community. Carlos Leitao said he was “shaken” by his then-wife’s comments. His daughter, who works in the health sector, has also heard from her father.

Not a problem with colleagues, but with union delegates… Carlos Leitao recalls, hinting that some wanted to send him messages about his family.

Today, Carlos Leitao says it was necessary to act like him to restore order to public finances. It has to be quick, he said.

“It wasn’t about ideological obstinacy. If we tried to do it much slower it would have been too difficult. »

— A quote from Carlos Leitao, Quebec Minister of Finance from 2014 to 2018

There was a lot of pressure from rating agencies. […] I had to move to New York, I had to spend a long time talking to the agencies, especially Moody’s, who were keen to discount Quebec, he recalls.

Carlos Leitao also reiterates that the modulation of daycare tariffs was not a really good idea and regrets that he was unable to implement a comprehensive tax reform in Quebec.

He continues to reject the term austerity for the policies he pursued with Martin Coiteux (President of the Treasury Board from April 2014 to January 2016) and Philippe Couillard. He prefers to speak of “budget consolidation” and would like to associate his action with the term “realism”.

In the skin of the finance minister

Photomontage by Raymond Bachand, Monique Jérôme-Forget, Carlos Leitao and Nicolas Marceau.Enlarge picture (New window)

Four former Quebec finance ministers confided in Gérald Fillion: Raymond Bachand, Monique Jérôme-Forget, Carlos Leitao and Nicolas Marceau.

Photo: The Canadian Press / Clément Allard, Jacques Boissinot and Francis Vachon

Hear our interviews from the In the skin of the Finance special series as part of Radio-Canada’s Questions of Interest business podcast.

The series allows us to go behind the scenes of the events that have shaped Quebec for the past 15 years. A few revelations, confidences and, above all, the conviction that I did well.

Monique Jérôme-Forget was our first guest on January 12th.

Followed Raymond Bachand on January 19th.

Nicolas Marceau was our third guest on January 26th.

We conclude this special series with Carlos Leitao on February 2nd.