Public services: Quebecers no longer get value for their money… and they know it

Public services: Quebecers no longer get value for their money… and they know it
Public services: Quebecers no longer get value for their money… and they know it

Nobody likes paying taxes. In so-called advanced societies, it is nevertheless the fairest way to provide public services to all, regardless of each person’s income.

However, in Quebec, this social contract between taxpaying citizens and governments is broken. Not among the citizens who continue to contribute to the public treasury. The real failure is on the side of the elected officials who hold the reins.

Faced with public services that are too often broken, it is not surprising to see a clear majority of Quebecers convinced of being “overtaxed” because they rightly consider that they are not getting enough for their money.

Published in our pages, a recent Léger survey confirms this unequivocally. We learn that “75% of respondents believe that they do not get enough for their money when they consider the taxes they pay and the state of public services, compared to only 17% who find what they are looking for.”

You might think that this is nothing new. Think again. Says pollster Jean-Marc Léger: “I’ve been doing this job for almost 40 years, and these are the worst results I’ve seen on government efficiency.”

Widespread dissatisfaction

The poll shows that dissatisfaction is such that it transcends generations, political parties and language. Everyone, or almost everyone, is fed up.

As one might suspect, the stubborn inaccessibility and numerous dysfunctions of the Quebec health system are leading the way. Result: 67% of Quebecers believe that the Legault government “mismanages” the public treasury.

For a government of “managers” whose trademark is based on the economy, state management and “dashboards” supposed to measure its performance, the verdict hurts.

When we add his inaction in the face of a housing crisis that is gripping thousands of Quebecers, the voters’ judgment is consistent.

Observe and contest

The CAQ’s drop in voting intentions since last year can be explained first and foremost by a deep dissatisfaction with public services which, not always, but too often, break down everywhere.

When you also have to pay for health care directly from your own pocket in the private sector because in the public sector, the waiting lists are endless, the pot of citizen patience overflows.

Because the bills add up quickly. In the private sector, seeing a general practitioner once can cost from $150 to $300. Even more so for a specialist.

A private laboratory analysis – as done by the Groupe Santé Biron, from which the new “top gun” of the Agence Santé Québec comes – can cost hundreds of dollars.

A private colonoscopy? It’s over $1000. Surgery? Depending on which one, it can climb to a few tens of thousands of dollars. Etc.

In an aging society like ours, where many elderly people do not have such financial means, it is frankly frightening.

In short, that’s a broken social contract. Quebecers have no choice but to see it. It remains to be seen whether they will also be able to challenge it. Or, on the contrary, they will end up resigning themselves to it.

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