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March 7, 2002

SPEAKING NOTES FOR YVES SÉGUIN,
PRESIDENT OF THE COMMISSION ON FISCAL IMBALANCE

PRESENTATION OF THE COMMISSION'S REPORT
QUÉBEC CITY

Ladies and Gentlemen,

On behalf of my fellow commissioners and for myself, I want to begin by thanking all of you for being here.

This morning, I submitted to the Deputy Premier and Minister of State for the Economy and Finance the report you see before you.

This report is the culmination of ten months' work, since the government set up the Commission last May 9. The Premier announced its creation in the Inaugural Speech on March 22, 2001.

The Commission's mandate

We received what was essentially a three-part mandate from the government. We were to identify the causes of the fiscal imbalance between the federal government and Québec, study its actual consequences and identify practical solutions to correct it.

Now that we have completed our work, we sincerely think that we have fulfilled our mandate. The report of the Commission on Fiscal Imbalance is unambiguous in answering the questions formulated by the government. At the same time, it pinpoints as clearly as possible the many issues at stake of a problem that, though extremely complex, directly affects everyone.

The framework of analysis

Our report is entitled "A New Division of Financial Resources in Canada". [À VÉRIFIER] The title is a faithful reflection of the spirit in which we carried out our work.

The Commission studied the current state of fiscal relations between the two levels of government within the Canadian federation. This analysis led the Commission to the conclusion that there is a need for a new division of the financial resources available to federal government and the provinces, if we want to put an end to the existing fiscal imbalance.

Fiscal imbalance to the detriment of the provinces

The Commission's first conclusion precisely concerns the fiscal imbalance that currently exists to the detriment of the provinces.

Last June, in the document it released on the problems and issues surrounding fiscal imbalance, the Commission underscored the characteristics of the current situation.

This situation can be summed up fairly easily: the federal government occupies too must tax room compared to its responsibilities.

In the personal income tax, which is also the tax with the fastest-growing revenue yield in recent years, the federal government occupied about 60% of the tax field.

The federal government is also running a sizeable surplus that it can apply in part to unilaterally intervene in the provinces' fields of jurisdiction.

At the same time, the provinces do not have sufficient resources to fund their expenditures in their fields of jurisdiction. They face a delicate budgetary situation and are threatened with renewed deficits because of the pressure they are under, particularly in the health sector.

The budget balances of the federal government and the provinces provide an initial indication of the scope of the existing fiscal imbalance.

The Conference Board's study

However, the Commission wanted to go further, by associating the Conference Board of Canada with its work, to project the budgetary situations of the two governments over the next twenty years.

The results are striking. According to the Conference Board, if the current structure of revenue and spending is maintained, the federal government will reap a ballooning budget surplus, while the Québec government will accumulate deficits.

More specifically, the Conference Board forecasts that over the next twenty years, the federal government will post ever-greater budget surpluses. In 2019-2020, the federal government's surplus will reach $90 billion while Québec will post a deficit of $5 billion.

In other words, for the period as a whole, the federal government would reap an accumulated surplus of $570 billion, while Québec's debt would rise by close to $60 billion.

These results are all the more striking since they were obtained using very conservative assumptions regarding growth in spending and revenue of each order of government.

Causes of fiscal imbalance

This imbalance has many causes. The Commission's analysis of government revenue and spending identified the primary cause of the current and projected fiscal imbalance: the provinces, and Québec in particular, are under very considerable pressure as regards spending while at the same time the division of revenue between the two orders of government favours the federal government.

Growth in health care spending is by far the biggest source of pressure now exerted on the provinces, and all indications are that this pressure corresponds to a long-term trend, in particular because of the ageing of the population.

In its report, the Commission offers a detailed analysis of two other causes of the existing fiscal imbalance, namely the inadequacy of the two major transfers between the federal government and the provinces, i.e. the CHST and equalization, and the federal government's use of what is called "the federal spending power".

The consequences of fiscal imbalance

The report also identifies the many consequences of this fiscal imbalance. These consequences concern people, and I feel that point cannot be emphasized strongly enough.

The primary impact of fiscal imbalance is that it reduces funding from certain services that correspond to real needs.

The provinces have the job of meeting social needs in general, and in particular of delivering health and education services. Because of insufficient resources, they are unable to respond fully to these needs, on which the public rightly places a priority.

During its public hearings last fall, the Commission heard many accounts that confirmed and illustrated the impact of the fiscal imbalance on the coverage of health and education needs.

The Commission also noted that fiscal imbalance has not only a financial impact, but also an impact on the quality and coherence of social programs and public services. The question of the quality and coherence of programs that are the responsibility of the provinces was a central concern of the Commission.

Fiscal imbalance, accordingly, is a major dysfunction of the federal system and, to correct it, equally major transformations must be made to existing fiscal relations between governments.

These recommendations are essentially built around five points, namely

- the need for additional financial resources for the provinces,
- the elimination of the CHST and the relinquishing of new tax room,
- major changes to the equalization program,
- responses to the "federal spending power",
- and mechanisms to guard against any future cause of fiscal imbalance.

Additional financial resources

First of all, to restore fiscal balance within the federation, the provinces must have additional financial resources. In Québec's case, the Commission estimated these financial resources at a minimum of $2 billion per year in the near term, and at least $3 billion annually in the medium term.

For the provinces as a whole, the Commission estimates that $8 billion in additional financial resources is needed annually in the near term.

Elimination of the CHST and freeing of new tax room

Second, the terms and conditions under which financial resources are currently divided within the federation must be radically changed.

The Commission thus recommends the elimination of the current CHST and that new tax room be freed for the provinces, something commonly called a "transfer of tax points".

The Commission does not agree that an improvement to the CHST is a satisfactory solution. Experience shows that the provinces would have no guarantee that federal funding would be maintained. Cuts similar to ones in the past would still be possible. Furthermore, the conditions attached to the CHST would still be in effect.

Echoing the comments of many speakers at the public hearings, the Commission points out that it makes no sense for the federal government to collect taxes only to pay them back to the provinces, so that they in turn can fund services they are responsible for.

It would be much more efficient and rational for the provinces to directly collect all the taxes needed to fund their services.

That would also make the provinces fully accountable for their management to their citizens, in their fields of jurisdiction.

The GST or personal income tax

To define the new division of tax room it recommends, the Commission examined a number of possible scenarios. Finally, the Commission's preference is that the provinces occupy the entire GST tax field, in particular because of the limited risks that the federal government reoccupy the tax room, the reduced impact of this option on equalization and the fact that this tax is less sensitive to tax competition.

As you have seen from reading the report, the Commission does not wish to reject the scenario calling for a new division of the personal income tax field.

In both cases, the provinces would have access to an assured and predictable source of funding instead of the CHST.

The new division of tax room would involve roughly $27 billion for Canada as a whole.

That means that in addition to the $18.6 billion the federal government already pays, there would be a further amount of $8 billion, corresponding to the additional financial resources to be relinquished in favour of the provinces.

The impact on federal finances

The Commission specifically analyzed the impact of this new division of financial resources on the federal government's budgetary situation. The Commission is of the view that the new division of taxation must not lead to budget deficits for the federal government.

Accordingly, the Commission stresses that this new division must be effected gradually. More than anything, it is important that the future surpluses of the federal government be allocated on a priority basis to fiscal re-balancing, and accordingly to the new division of tax room in favour of the provinces.

Secure health funding

One practical consequence of this new division of tax room would be to restore the level of funding previously provided by the CHST, before the federal cuts.

In Québec's case, the tax room obtained would represent between 18% and 20% of health, education and income security funding, i.e. the same proportion as the CHST in 1994-1995. Federal cuts had reduced this share to 12% in 2000-2001.

Major changes to the equalization program

Third, the Commission makes major recommendations concerning the equalization program.

The equalization program is intended to reduce disparities in fiscal capacity among the provinces. Because of how it is calculated, the program allows major differences in fiscal capacity among the provinces to persist.

The tax bases used to determine equalization entitlements are poorly defined or incomplete. Equalization payments sometimes vary considerably over time, for solely technical changes, which is unacceptable. Last week's incidents speak volumes in this regard.

The shortcomings of the equalization program thus exacerbate the fiscal imbalance of the less affluent provinces, and give rise to problems of government management that are very difficult to resolve.

The Commission therefore recommends major changes to how equalization is calculated. It also recommends that any new method or data be submitted to the provinces and analyzed in a satisfactory manner before being applied.

No changes should be made to the methodology or the data during the five-year period following a renewal of the equalization program.

The "federal spending power"

Fourth, the Commission also targeted the "federal spending power", by recommending that the Québec government maintain its traditional positions on this matter.

In the report, the Commission points out that the new division of financial resources that it recommends would limit future federal government initiatives, since its leeway available for such purposes would be reduced.

Ways to prevent fiscal imbalance in the future

Fifth and last, the Commission identified mechanisms to be implemented to respond rapidly to any new causes of fiscal imbalance.

These responses require transparency. Throughout its work, the Commission noted the lack of transparency in which discussions on fiscal imbalance take place.

It is somewhat astonishing to note the degree to which the information available is insufficient regarding intergovernmental financial exchanges, although the stakes are substantial.

Accordingly, the Commission maintains that there is a requirement for transparency that concerns the federal government first of all, since it is responsible for the programs in question and it holds the relevant information.

The federal government must significantly improve the available public information concerning intergovernmental fiscal arrangements.

Because of the stakes at issue, the Commission asks that the federal-provincial process of analysis of the fiscal balance and transfers be revitalized and made much more transparent.

Any change to the fiscal arrangements must be studied by committees of officials of the federal and provincial Finance Departments.

In addition, each year, Ministers of Finance of the federal government and the provinces must issue a report on the fiscal balance of the federation and intergovernmental fiscal arrangements.

Systematic, transparent monitoring

To ensure systematic and transparent monitoring of fiscal imbalance, The Commission recommends that the Québec government take certain initiatives.

The Commission makes the following recommendations:

- The Standing Committee on Public Finance of the National Assembly should analyse each year the state of the fiscal imbalance between Québec and the federal government.

- The Minister of Finance should submit a report to the Standing Committee in order to take stock of the question. When preparing the report, the Minister could seek the advice of a committee of experts.

- The Minister's report would examine, in particular, the state of fiscal balance in the federation and existing key factors, as well as new federal initiatives in Québec's fields of jurisdiction.

Issues that directly concern the public

There you have a brief overview of the Commission's report.

My fellow commissioners and I are convinced that the recommendations we have formulated correspond to the current problem and can correct the situation in a way that is feasible and reasonable.

In our analysis of fiscal imbalance and its implications, we made a point of never losing sight of the fact that this issue directly concerns the public. By responding to fiscal imbalance, we want to improve how taxes are used to deliver priority services.

We have formulated our recommendations with a view to securing adequate funding for these services and enabling more efficient methods of operating that are also more respectful of the provinces, in other words, that direct the money to where the priorities are and use it as efficiently as possible.

I am now ready to answer your questions.

March 7, 2002

YVES SÉGUIN RELEASES THE REPORT OF THE COMMISSION ON FISCAL IMBALANCE

Québec, March 7, 2002 - The President of the Commission on Fiscal Imbalance, Yves Séguin, today released the Commission's report, after submitting it to the Deputy Premier and Minister of State for the Economy and Finance, Pauline Marois. The report of just over 200 pages deals with the nature and scope of fiscal imbalance, its causes, consequences and the proposed solutions. The report contains some twenty recommendations that seek major transformations in intergovernmental fiscal relations within Canada.

Entitled "A New Division of Canada's Financial Resources", the report is the culmination of ten months of work. The government set up the Commission on May 9, 2001. Premier Bernard Landry announced the creation of the Commission in the Inaugural Speech on March 22, 2001.

In releasing the report, Mr. Séguin said: "we sincerely think that we have fulfilled our mandate." The Commission on Fiscal Imbalance consisted of seven commissioners, namely the president, Yves Séguin, Anne-Marie d'Amours, Renaud Lachance, Andrée Lajoie, Nicolas Marceau, Alain Noël and Stéphane Saintonge.

The Commission wanted a projection of the financial frameworks of the federal and Québec governments. To do so, it sought the cooperation of the Conference Board of Canada, whose study is being released at the same time as the report.

The report itself is accompanied by supporting documents that focus on the history of fiscal imbalance in Canada, an analysis of the factors relating to the "federal spending power" and the papers submitted to the International Symposium on Fiscal Imbalance that was to be held in Québec City on September 13 and 14, 2001. Unfortunately, the symposium had to be cancelled because of the September 11 attacks.

In the course of its work, the Commission held a public consultation, which consisted of a call for briefs followed by hearings held in Montréal and Québec City between November 21 and December 4, 2001. It also commissioned a survey, covering Québec and Canada as a whole, that brought public perceptions of the issues raised by the debate on fiscal imbalance into sharper focus. The survey's major conclusions are given in the report.

In presenting the report, Mr. Séguin stated: "the report of the Commission on Fiscal Imbalance is unambiguous in answering the questions formulated by the government. At the same time, it pinpoints as clearly as possible the many issues at stake of a problem that, though extremely complex, directly affects everyone."

The report of the Commission on Fiscal Imbalance and the study carried out by the Conference Board are available at the following website:

www.desequilibrefiscal.gouv.qc.ca

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Source: Dominique Lebel
(418) 951 0741

March 7, 2002

Recommendations of the Commission on Fiscal Imbalance

PRACTICAL SOLUTIONS TO CORRECT FISCAL IMBALANCE

Québec, March 7, 2002 - The President of the Commission on Fiscal Imbalance, Yves Séguin, today released the Commission's report, which includes major recommendations concerning intergovernmental fiscal relations in Canada. In its report, the Commission recommends in particular that the provinces must have additional financial resources, that the main federal transfer program be eliminated and replaced with new tax room, and that significant changes be made to the equalization program.

The Commission's first recommendation is that the provinces must have additional financial resources. In Québec's case, the Commission has estimated these resources at a minimum of $2 billion in the near term and at least $3 billion in the medium term. For the provinces as a whole, the Commission estimates that $8 billion in additional financial resources is needed in the near term.

The Commission recommends that the Canada Health and Social Transfer (CHST), the federal government's largest transfer program to the provinces, be eliminated and replaced by new tax room in favour of the provinces. The Commission considers that an improvement to the CHST is not a satisfactory solution, experience showing that the provinces would have no guarantee that federal funding would be maintained.

For the new division of tax room, the Commission's preference is that the provinces occupy the entire GST tax field instead of personal income tax. The Commission stressed in particular the limited risk that the federal government might reoccupy the tax room, the reduced impact of this option on equalization and the fact that the GST is less sensitive to tax competition.

However, the Commission does not wish to reject the scenario calling for a new division of personal income tax. The Commission points out that in both cases, the provinces would have access to a secure and predictable source of funding instead of a program the federal government can change unilaterally.

The new division of tax room would involve about $27 billion for Canada as a whole, including the current amount of the CHST, i.e. $18.6 billion, and additional financial resources of $8 billion to be relinquished in favour of the provinces. In Québec's case, the tax room obtained would represent between 18% and 20% of health, education and income security funding, i.e. the same proportion as the CHST in 1994-1995. The federal government's cuts had reduced this share to 12% in 2000-2001.

The Commission recommends significant changes to the equalization program concerning how it is calculated, the definition of the tax bases used to determine entitlements and the new rules in the event of changes to methodology or data.

Many of the Commission's recommendations concern the "federal spending power", as well as steps to take to prevent fiscal imbalance in the future. In its report, the Commission placed much emphasis on the transparency that should surround discussions on fiscal imbalance, targeting the federal government directly in this regard. According to the Commission, the Québec government could contribute to a systematic, transparent monitoring by analyzing the state of fiscal imbalance each year in a parliamentary committee.

After he presented the Commission's recommendations, Mr. Séguin concluded: "We are convinced that the recommendations we have formulated correspond to the current problem and can correct the situation in a way that is feasible and reasonable."

The study carried out by the Conference Board and the report of the Commission on Fiscal Imbalance are available at the following website:

www.desequilibrefiscal.gouv.qc.ca

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Source: Dominique Lebel
(418) 951 0741

March 7, 2002

Conclusion of the Commission on Fiscal Imbalance

THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT'S SURPLUS WILL SWELL OVER THE NEXT TWENTY YEARS

Québec, March 7, 2002 - In releasing the report of the Commission on Fiscal Imbalance, the President of the Commission, Yves Séguin, also released the study carried out by the Conference Board of Canada at the Commission's request, concerning the current and projected budget balances of the federal and Québec governments over the next twenty years. According to the Conference Board's projections, the federal government's surplus will grow ever greater over the next twenty years, while Québec will accumulate deficits.

The current and projected budget balances of the federal and Québec governments provide an initial direct indication of fiscal imbalance and its scope. As Mr. Séguin pointed out in presenting the study, "the results are striking". According to the Conference Board's projections, the federal government's budget surplus will continue to grow over the next twenty years, reaching $90 billion in 2019-2020 alone. By contrast, Québec will post recurring deficits, reaching $5 billion in 2019-2020.

These results are all the more striking as they were obtained using very conservative assumptions. According to the Conference Board, the fiscal imbalance that has been thus confirmed and illustrated is attributable first to a structural difference between the federal government and the Québec government, regarding the relation between revenue and spending. The Commission's more detailed and systematic analysis shows that the provinces are subject to considerable pressure as regards spending, particularly in the health sector, while the division of revenue does not correspond to this dynamic since it favours the federal government.

Commenting on the Conference Board's study, Mr. Séguin explained the current fiscal imbalance as follows: "the federal government is running a sizeable surplus that it can apply in part to unilaterally intervene in the provinces' fields of jurisdiction. At the same time, the provinces do not have sufficient resources to fund their expenditures in their fields of jurisdiction."

The Conference Board of Canada is a non-profit organization based in Ottawa that produces economic analyses and forecasts on key Canadian public policy issues. The Conference Board is especially noted for the quality of its economic forecasts and is regularly consulted by the federal government when the latter develops its medium and long-term economic projections.

The study carried out by the Conference Board and the report of the Commission on Fiscal Imbalance are available at the following website:

www.desequilibrefiscal.gouv.qc.ca

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Source: Dominique Lebel
(418) 951 0741

March 7, 2002

Recommendations of the Commission on Fiscal Imbalance

WAYS TO PREVENT FISCAL IMBALANCE IN THE FUTURE

Québec, March 7, 2002 - The report of the Commission on Fiscal Imbalance, released today by its President, Yves Séguin, includes recommendations to respond quickly to any new cause of fiscal imbalance. For the Commission, these responses require transparency first and foremost, especially of the federal government. Mr. Séguin remarked: "it is somewhat astonishing to note the degree to which the information available is insufficient regarding intergovernmental financial exchanges, although the stakes are substantial."

In its report, the Commission recommends that the federal government significantly enhance the information available to the public concerning fiscal balance in the federation and intergovernmental fiscal arrangements. The federal-provincial process of analysis of fiscal balance and transfer programs should be revitalized. Any change to the fiscal arrangements would have to be studied by committees of officials of the Departments of Finance of the federal and provincial governments. The Commission asks that each year, Ministers of Finance of the federal and provincial governments jointly report on the subjects discussed, something that is not done at present.

Concerning the equalization program in particular, the Commission recommends that any new method or data be submitted to the provinces and studied in a satisfactory manner, before it is applied. Mr. Séguin added: "the brutal change in equalization payments for solely technical changes is unacceptable. Last week's incidents speak volumes in this regard." To prevent similar incidents in the future, the Commission recommends that no change in methodology or data be implemented during the five-year period following a renewal of equalization.

To monitor fiscal imbalance systematically and dynamically, the Commission also formulates recommendations for the Québec government. The National Assembly could provide such monitoring. The Standing Committee on Public Finance of the National Assembly should analyse each year the state of fiscal imbalance between Québec and the federal government.

The Minister of Finance should submit a report to the Standing Committee in order to take stock of the question. When preparing the report, the Minister could seek the advice of a Committee of experts. The Minister's report would examine, in particular, the state of fiscal balance in the federation and the key factors, including evidence of "federal spending power".

Mr. Séguin sees the requirement for transparency as self-evident, "because we must never lose sight of the fact that this issue directly concerns the public."

The study carried out by the Conference Board and the report of the Commission on Fiscal Imbalance are available at the following website:

www.desequilibrefiscal.gouv.qc.ca

- 30 -

Source: Dominique Lebel
(418) 951 0741

July 30, 2001

THE Commission on fiscal imbalance PLANS TO HOLD REGIONAL PUBLIC HEARINGS

Montréal, July 30, 2001 – The Commission on Fiscal Imbalance plans to hold public hearings in October 2001 in Montréal, Québec City, Trois-Rivières, Sherbrooke, Hull and Chicoutimi.

The Commission, chaired by Yves Séguin, has a mandate “to thoroughly analyze the fiscal imbalance between the federal government and Québec, determine its causes and formulate concrete solutions to correct it.” In the course of its deliberations, the Commission must “invite and collect opinions and suggestions from experts and stakeholders in Québec and elsewhere regarding the practical consequences of this imbalance and concrete solutions to put forward to correct it.”

To this end, the Commission invites individuals and organizations wishing to express their opinions on the matter to submit briefs, by September 21, 2001 at the latest, and to inform the Commission of their intention to do so not later than August 10, 2001. Following an analysis of the briefs received, the Commission will confirm the dates and locations of public hearings.

“The Commission attaches a great deal of importance to participation by all segments of society in debate on fiscal imbalance, a problem which, while it is complex, nonetheless concerns all taxpayers,” noted Yves Séguin, President of the Commission.

The Commission is to submit its report to the Québec government in late November 2001.


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Information: Hélène Gilbert
Head of Communications
Commission on Fiscal Imbalance
Telephone: (514) 873-8188
Cell phone: (514) 246-1601

June 29, 2001  


THE COMMISSION ON FISCAL IMBALANCE RELEASES ITS INITIAL OBSERVATIONS

Montréal, Friday, June 29, 2001 - The Commission on Fiscal Imbalance today released its initial observations stemming from its study of tax revenue and its distribution between the federal and Québec governments. The Commission will further analyze these preliminary observations during the coming stages of its work, including the public hearings in October 2001.

These observations deal with the problems and issues of fiscal imbalance, federal transfer programs, and the effective occupation of taxation fields. They are covered in three papers now available at the Commission’s offices and on its website at www.desequilibrefiscal.gouv.qc.ca

“The Commission has released these documents to stimulate reflection on a fiscal problem that affects Québec, but concerning which most provinces have made representations,” the Commission’s Chairman, Yves Séguin, noted. According to Mr. Séguin, the fiscal imbalance between the federal government and the provinces concerns everyone because it keeps the tax burden too high and results in a lack of resources to adequately fund such important services as education, health and social services.

The discussion paper for public consultation, entitled Fiscal Imbalance: Problems and Issues includes the following observations:

  • First, the Constitution grants the provinces jurisdiction in the areas of health, education and social services. The programs in these areas—health programs in particular—are the most costly government programs. Moreover, health spending increases very rapidly. On the other hand, the federal parliament has jurisdiction in areas where the programs are currently less costly and spending increases at a slower rate.
     
  • Despite the different scale and nature of their spending, the federal government and the provinces split the total accessible revenue pretty much evenly between them. In addition, the federal government has a preponderant share of personal income tax revenue—the revenue with the highest growth potential.
     
  • The federal government makes transfers to the provinces, in particular to contribute to the funding of social programs. However, since the mid-1980s, there has been an almost steady decline in the relative percentage of provincial funding needs covered by federal transfer payments. Québec and the other provinces have unanimously denounced the unilateral and discretionary nature of the decline. Although very recently reversed, the trend toward the reduction in the relative weight of federal transfers will likely resume as early as 2002-2003.
     
  • The federal government uses its spending power to bolster its presence in, and control over, the areas of provincial jurisdiction, despite the opposition of Québec and other provinces.
     
  • As a result, in part, of these circumstances, the current and foreseeable budgetary context is characterized by large surpluses in Ottawa, whereas Québec and most of the other provinces have less leeway.

The paper Federal Transfer Programs to the Provinces discusses existing transfer programs, including the Canada Health and Social Transfer and Equalization. The document Effective Occupation of Taxation Fields describes and analyzes the revenues of governments in Québec.

The Commission on Fiscal Imbalance has seven commissioners, chaired by Mr. Yves Séguin. The Québec government created the Commission on May 9, 2001. Its mandate is “to thoroughly analyze the fiscal imbalance between the federal government and Québec, determine its causes and formulate concrete solutions to correct it”. It is to submit its report at the end of November 2001.

The Commission will hold public hearings in October 2001. The dates and locations where the hearings will be held will be announced within a few weeks. On September 13 and 14, the Commission will host a symposium where international experts will be invited to discuss the issue of taxation in their country.

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Information : Hélène Gilbert
Communications Officer
Commission on Fiscal Imbalance
Telephone: (514) 873-8188

 

May 9, 2001

LE GOUVERNEMENT ANNONCE LA COMPOSITION DE LA COMMISSION SUR LE DÉSÉQUILIBRE FISCAL

Québec, le mercredi 9 mai 2001 - Le premier ministre, M. Bernard Landry, et la vice-première ministre et ministre d’État à l’Économie et aux Finances, Mme Pauline Marois, ont présenté aujourd’hui les membres de la Commission sur le déséquilibre fiscal qui sera présidée par M. Yves Séguin.

M. Landry a tenu à rappeler les raisons qui ont motivé la création de cette commission : « Le Québec fait face à des pressions importantes et croissantes en matière de santé, d’éducation et de sécurité du revenu. Pourtant, la moitié des impôts des Québécoises et des Québécois prend le chemin d’Ottawa, sans aucune garantie qu’ils serviront à financer les priorités du Québec », a déclaré le premier ministre.

La Commission a pour mandat de repérer et d’analyser les causes fondamentales du déséquilibre fiscal entre le gouvernement fédéral et celui du Québec. Elle devra en outre susciter et recueillir les opinions et les suggestions d’experts et de divers acteurs québécois et étrangers quant aux conséquences de ce déséquilibre important et croissant et aux solutions concrètes à mettre de l’avant afin de le corriger.

Pour sa part, la vice-première ministre est confiante que les travaux de la Commission apporteront une contribution importante à ce débat. « Le gouvernement fédéral, qui dispose des moyens les plus importants, est ironiquement celui qui ne gère, en pratique, aucun hôpital, aucun CLSC, aucune école, aucune université au Canada. C’est toutefois ce même gouvernement qui multiplie les intrusions dans les champs de compétence du Québec, sans égard aux priorités des Québécoises et des Québécois », a rappelé Mme Marois.

Les travaux de la Commission

De son côté, M. Yves Séguin, a déclaré que " la Commission fera un tour d’horizon complet sur la question du déséquilibre fiscal dans un souci constant de rigueur et d’impartialité." Il a aussi précisé qu’il entendait déposer un rapport qui proposera des solutions concrètes.

M. Séguin a indiqué que la population du Québec sera invitée prochainement à présenter des mémoires à la Commission. Il a ajouté que des documents d’information sur la problématique seront rendus publics dès le mois de juin afin de fournir divers faits et données de base qui serviront à alimenter la réflexion.

Autre moment fort des travaux de la Commission, des audiences publiques et un forum d’experts se tiendront en septembre et octobre 2001. En vertu du mandat qui lui est confié, la Commission remettra son rapport au gouvernement à la fin de novembre 2001.
De plus, M. Séguin a mentionné que, après consultation avec Mme Marois, M. Mario Albert, directeur général de la Direction générale de l’analyse et de la prévision des revenus budgétaires au ministère des Finances, agira à titre de secrétaire de la Commission.

Les membres de la Commission

Mme Marois s’est par ailleurs réjouie de la qualité exceptionnelle des personnes choisies pour former la Commission. " Je crois que l’on ne pouvait rassembler de gens plus compétents et rigoureux pour mener à bien un mandat aussi important ", a déclaré la vice-première ministre.

Voici la liste des membres de la Commission :

Mme Anne-Marie d’Amours est titulaire d’une maîtrise en administration des affaires de l’École des hautes études commerciales et est membre du Barreau du Québec. Actuellement présidente de Capimont Technologies, une société de gestion de portefeuille de capital de risque, madame d’Amours a également travaillé de nombreuses années au Fonds de solidarité des travailleurs de la FTQ.

Mme Andrée Lajoie est professeure titulaire au Centre de recherche en droit public de la Faculté de droit de l'Université de Montréal où elle enseigne la théorie du droit. Ses recherches ont notamment porté sur le droit constitutionnel et le pouvoir fédéral de dépenser.

M. Renaud Lachance, qui est professeur agrégé à l'École des hautes études commerciales, est un expert des politiques économiques de taxation. Il a contribué, entre autres, à la rédaction d'un document sur la fiscalité des entreprises dans le cadre de la Commission sur la fiscalité et le financement des services publics en 1996.

M. Nicolas Marceau, qui sera promu au grade de professeur titulaire au Département des sciences économiques de l'Université du Québec à Montréal le 1er juin prochain, est un spécialiste de l'économie publique dont les intérêts de recherche portent notamment sur le fédéralisme fiscal et la décentralisation.

M. Alain Noël sera également promu au grade de professeur titulaire au Département de science politique de l'Université de Montréal en juin prochain. Il est notamment spécialiste du fédéralisme et des politiques sociales et il a signé ou co-signé plusieurs études sur l'union sociale canadienne.

M. Stéphane Saintonge est avocat-fiscaliste et associé du cabinet Legault-Joly-Thiffault où il agit depuis plusieurs années à titre d'expert en fiscalité internationale et corporative.

ANNEXE

Liste des membres et notes biographiques

M. Yves Séguin

Né en 1951, M. Yves Séguin est titulaire d’une licence en droit et d’une maîtrise en droit des affaires, concentration en fiscalité, de l’Université d’Ottawa. Il est aussi membre du Barreau du Québec.

M. Séguin est actuellement président du Groupe Marine. Depuis 1999, il a occupé différents postes à la Banque de Montréal, dont celui de vice-président au développement des affaires pour la firme Jones Heward Gestion de placements. Il a également été vice-président exécutif et adjoint du président, Québec et vice-président et chef des opérations chez BMO Banque privée Harris. Il siège aussi à plusieurs conseils d’administration.

De 1993 à 1998, il a occupé le poste de délégué aux Affaires canadiennes, à la Compagnie générale des eaux (Groupe Vivendi). Auparavant, soit de 1991 à 1993, il a pratiqué le droit dans plusieurs cabinets d’avocats. Élu député en 1985 dans la circonscription de Montmorency, il a été nommé ministre du Revenu en 1987 et ministre du Travail en 1988, responsabilités qu’il assumera jusqu’en 1991.

Mme Anne-Marie d’Amours

Mme d’Amours est titulaire d’une maîtrise en administration des affaires (M.B.A.) de l’École des hautes études commerciales et d’une licence en droit de l’Université de Montréal. Elle est aussi membre du Barreau du Québec.

Mme d’Amours est présidente de la firme Capimont Technologies depuis 1999. Pendant 9 ans, elle a été à l’emploi du Fonds de solidarité du Québec successivement à titre de conseillère juridique, de directrice aux affaires juridiques et de vice-présidente aux affaires juridiques et secrétaire adjointe. Elle a aussi été à l’emploi du cabinet Marchand, Jasmin et Melançon comme spécialiste en droit des affaires. Elle est également membre du conseil d’administration de Roctest.

M. Renaud Lachance

M. Lachance est titulaire d’une maîtrise en économie du London School of Economics de Londres en Angleterre et d’une maîtrise en fiscalité de l’Université de Sherbrooke. Il a aussi poursuivi des études en administration des affaires à l’École des hautes études commerciales (HEC) de Montréal.

M. Lachance est actuellement professeur agrégé aux HEC en enseignement spécialisé dans les programmes de politiques économiques de taxation au 2e cycle, et de fiscalité au 1er cycle. Il a participé à plusieurs activités de recherche dans le domaine des politiques de taxation, ce qui l’a amené à prononcer diverses conférences lors de colloques ou autres événements publics. Depuis juin 2000, il est directeur du programme de baccalauréat en administration des affaires à cette école.

Ses relations avec les milieux économique et fiscal l’ont conduit à participer à plusieurs comités intéressés à ces questions. Il a été membre, entre autres, du Comité des politiques publiques de l’Association des économistes du Québec, conseiller économique des gens d’affaires au Sommet socio-économique, et expert invité à la Commission sur la fiscalité et le financement des services publics. Enfin, il a été gouverneur de l’Association canadienne d’études fiscales et conseiller économique du président de l’Ordre des comptables agréés du Québec.

Mme Andrée Lajoie

Mme Lajoie est titulaire d’une maîtrise en science politique de l’Université d’Oxford et d’une licence en droit de l’Université de Montréal. Elle est aussi membre du Barreau du Québec.

Mme Lajoie est professeure titulaire au Centre de recherche en droit public à la Faculté de droit de l’Université de Montréal dont elle a été directeure de1976 à 1980. Elle y poursuit une carrière de recherche centrée d’abord sur le droit constitutionnel et - plus particulièrement dans le domaine où intervient la Commission sur le déséquilibre fiscal - sur le pouvoir de dépenser du gouvernement fédéral, notamment en matière de santé et d’enseignement supérieur.

Plus récemment, ses recherches ont également porté sur la théorie du droit, qu'elle enseigne au séminaire doctoral de sa faculté. Elle a été professeure invitée dans plusieurs universités, européennes et canadiennes, et a publié de nombreux articles et ouvrages chez des éditeurs canadiens et européens, dont les plus récents comprennent: Théories et émergence du droit: pluralisme, surdétermination et effectivité, (Thémis/Bruylant, 1998); Jugements de valeurs, (PUF, 1997), et Le statut juridique des peuples autochtones au Québec et le pluralisme, (Blais, 1996). Elle dirige la collection Le droit aussi publiée en co-édition chez Lliber/Blais.

M. Nicolas Marceau

M. Marceau est titulaire d’un doctorat en économie de l’Université Queen’s de Kingston en Ontario et d’une maîtrise en sciences économiques de l’Université de Montréal.
M. Marceau est actuellement professeur agrégé (titularisation le 1er juin 2001) au Département des sciences économiques de l’Université du Québec à Montréal. Il enseigne à cet établissement depuis 1996. Il a aussi été professeur adjoint au Département d’économique de l’Université Laval, de 1992 à 1996.

M. Marceau est auteur et co-auteur de nombreuses publications. Il a prononcé des conférences et il a participé à des séminaires dans plusieurs établissements d’enseignement supérieur, entre autres : l’Université Concordia, l’École des hautes études commerciales, l’Université Queen’s, l’Université Simon Fraser, l’Université de Montréal, l’Université de Sherbrooke et l’Université d’Ottawa. Aussi, ses projets de recherche l’ont conduit ailleurs au Canada, en Belgique et en France.

M. Alain Noël

M. Noël est titulaire d’un doctorat en études internationales de l’Université de Denver et d’un baccalauréat et d’une maîtrise en science politique de l’Université de Montréal.

M. Noël est professeur titulaire au département de science politique de l’Université de Montréal et directeur du Centre de recherche sur les transformations économiques et sociales (CRITÈRES), également à l’Université de Montréal. Il est aussi chercheur associé à l’Institut de recherche en politiques publiques, et membre du Conseil consultatif de l’Institut des relations intergouvernementales de l’Université Queen’s à Kingston en Ontario.

M. Noël est l’auteur de plusieurs études sur les politiques sociales et le fédéralisme, au Québec et au Canada, ainsi qu’en perspective comparée. Ces travaux ont été publiés dans différents ouvrages et revues, incluant l’American Political Science Review, International Organization, la Revue française des affaires sociales, et la Revue canadienne de science politique.

Au cours des dernières années, M. Noël a été directeur des études supérieures au département de science politique de l’Université de Montréal, directeur adjoint de la revue Canadian Public Policy, et professeur invité en études canadiennes et en travail social à l’Université de Californie à Berkeley. Il a aussi agit à titre d’expert pour le Secrétariat aux affaires intergouvernementales canadiennes du gouvernement du Québec, et pour le ministère de l’Emploi et de la Solidarité.

M. Stéphane Saintonge

M. Saintonge est titulaire d’une maîtrise en fiscalité de l’Université de Sherbrooke, d’un baccalauréat en droit de l’Université de Montréal et il est diplômé de l’École du Barreau du Québec ainsi que de l’Institut québécois de planification financière.

M. Saintonge est entré en 1993 au cabinet Legault-Joly-Tiffault à titre d’avocat associé. Antérieurement, il a œuvré successivement chez Viau et Berger, Beaupré et Trudeau, Spiegel et Sohmer ainsi que Mendelsohn Rosentzveig Shacter. Aussi, depuis 1987, il est chargé de cours à l’Association de planification fiscale et financière et au programme de formation du Barreau du Québec.

M. Saintonge est membre de l’Association de planification fiscale et financière (APFF) et de l’Association canadienne d’études fiscales. Il a aussi été membre du conseil d’administration de l’Institut québécois de planification fiscale et financière de 1992 à 1996, administrateur de la Société générale de financement du Québec de 1996 à 2000 et administrateur du Centre de recherche industriel du Québec de 1997 à 2000. Il a prononcé plusieurs conférences, entre autres, pour l’APFF et l’Institut canadien.

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Source : Nicole Bastien
Attachée de presse
Cabinet de la vice-première ministre et
ministre d’État à l’Économie et aux Finances
Tél. : (418) 643-5270 ou (514) 873-5363
www.finances.gouv.qc.ca
Hubert Bolduc
Attaché de presse
Cabinet du premier ministre
Tél. : (418) 643-5321

 

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