Opinion
September 6, 2012

A PQ win and the public service

What’s in store for the public service of Quebec? We heard the expected: “We want a country and we will have it.” But we did not hear the PQ’s intentions on how it would manage. Quebec faces a significant debt: at 51% of the gross provincial product, the highest in Canada. There will be massive implications from the upcoming Charbonneau Report on corruption. And there are the myriad complexities of modern government we all face.

Unfortunately, discussion on these important matters is being deferred as the media and the public deal with the more immediate implications of the security breach that derailed the Premier-elect`s acceptance speech. Marois herself seems unlikely to be distracted by the event, having returned to the stage to conclude her remarks and oversee a calm clearing of the room.

Policy-wise, promises have already been made not to increase tuition, and suggestions made to increase some personal and corporate taxes and royalties on mining. But less has been said on management and how to increase innovation and productivity in government, and the role of a professional, non-partisan public service.

Premier-elect Marois has experience as the former Minister of Finance and several other portfolios. There must have been some thought given to how to implement the agenda.

Just prior to her election, she stated: “There will be a lot of changes, but done in an orderly fashion.” University of Montreal professor Pierre Martin has observed, “she is quite good at making bureaucrats do what they are supposed to do.” But what is that?

We look forward to hearing more on this.

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