MONTREAL — The quebec minister of Finance, Eric Girard, continues to play prudence in providing for a surplus of $ 1.7 billion at the end of the 2018-2019 fiscal year, and, even if a surplus of $ 4.43 billion $ is in the coffers of the State after eight months.
In November, the economic performance has again been at the rendezvous, which was made so that the revenue increase has been more marked than the rate of growth of spending.
The surplus of $ 4.43 billion $ – that takes into account a payment of $ 1.7 billion in the generations Fund – has been unveiled in the monthly report of financial transactions as at November 30, released Friday after the markets close. It is much higher than that of 2.46 billion dollars recorded in the same period last year.
“It is obvious that the tax revenue autonomous have been very good in all sectors,” explained Mr. Girard, in a telephone interview with The canadian Press.
The government, however, Legault is expected to open the floodgates of spending nearly $ 2.7 billion by the end of the financial year, the report said.
This is explained by a planned release of $ 2.5 billion in order to achieve targets of expenditure as well as another amount of $ 229 million attributable to the various initiatives contained in the economic update.
At the same time, Quebec is anticipating a lower increase of own-source revenues, while economic growth is expected to slow down.
Mr. Girard recognized that there was more chance, after more than eight months in the year, the budget surplus exceeds forecast. The minister, however, has opened the door to “targeted measures” aimed at “improving public services” if the funds are not spent.
“If it is determined that the expenses don’t materialize, we will evaluate the possibility of turning to targeted initiatives non-recurring,” said Mr. Girard.
Given that he is yet to prepare its first budget, which is expected to be filed in march, the grand treasurer of the province has not wanted to open up his game with regard to the measures that it could provide to taxpayers.
Eight months after the beginning of the fiscal year, own-source revenues – which exclude the revenues generated by the State companies – amounted to 41.7 billion $, an increase of eight percent, or $3.2 billion.
On the other hand, the expenditures of programs have been 48.2 billion $, an increase of 5.1 per cent, which is below the growth target of 5.6 per cent of the economic update for the financial year 2018-2019.
More precisely, the tax imposed on the income of individuals has allowed Quebec to pocket $ 1.4 billion more, while for companies, it is $ 590 million additional that have been harvested. Consumption taxes have also generated $ 529 million $ more.
At 2.5 percent, economic growth has been at the rendez-vous in 2018, but a beginning of a slowdown has been observed in the second half of the year.
“There was an increase of three per cent during the first half and two percent in the second half,” said Mr. Girard, who anticipates a growth of 1.9 per cent of gross domestic product in 2019.
For their part, federal transfers were $ 14 billion, up 4.3 percent. Thus, the overall increase in revenues for the first eight months of the year was 7.3 per cent to reach 55.7 billion $.
In addition, Crown corporations such as Loto-Québec, the Société des alcools du Québec and Hydro-Québec have invested $ 287 million more into the coffers of the State from April to November, or 13.4 percent higher compared to the corresponding period of the previous fiscal year.
CONTROVERSIES SURROUNDING A SUBSIDIARY OF CDPQ: GIRARD EXPECTS TO see CHANGES
MONTREAL — IN light of the stories that have splashed the Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec (CDPQ) in the last days, the minister of Finance, Eric Girard, expects to see the institution acting in the field of ethics.
An investigation which will be conducted by an outside lawyer is in progress in the manager of retirement plans in the wake of the revelations of the Journal de Montréal concerning the business relations of the officer, and a vice-president of its subsidiary Otéra Capital, specializing in the mortgage loan.
“I think that when we live for weeks like this one, it is undeniable that improvements should be made,” said Mr. Girard, on Friday, during a telephone interview with The canadian Press.
The grand treasurer of the province, however, took care to add that it was better to make changes “after reflection”, saying in passing satisfied with the handling of the case by the Fund until now.
After the suspension of a vice-president on Tuesday, the CDPQ announced on Friday that the chief executive officer of Otéra Capital Alfonso Graceffa, was going to withdraw “all its functions in the real estate subsidiaries” of the institution in the framework of the investigation.
His withdrawal was immediate and for the duration of the survey, whose findings will be made public.
According to the montreal newspaper, a subsidiary of Otéra Capital, MCAP, would have granted at least 11 loans for a total of $ 9.2 million, to companies of its chairman since 2010 in order to enable them to purchase the buildings.
“I don’t want to assume the investigation, but I find this particular as an officer (Mr. Graceffa) a subsidiary may receive loans from it, said Mr. Girard. This is where I say, “is that we have good codes of ethics and that the officer has complied with the code of ethics in place?””
In addition, Thomas Marcantonio, a business partner of Mr. Graceffa, to have received a loan of $ 44 million from Otéra Capital in the framework of a project of a residence for seniors in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu.
At the controls of Otéra Capital since 2013, Mr. Graceffa is also chairman of the board of directors since the last month.
“Is this that one should have the best codes of ethics? The answer is probably yes because the Fund is an organization of international scope,” stressed the minister of Finance.
Mr. Girard had not wished to move forward on measures that should be put in place by the institution in the field of ethics, claiming that it was “trust the people”. He also added that his role was not to interfere in the process.
The CDPQ had announced an investigation on Tuesday while stating that the vice-president of real estate financing at Otera Capital, Martine Gaudreault, was suspended. According to the Journal de Montréal, the spouse of the latter would have had ties to people linked to organized crime.
Ms. Gaudreault would be the girlfriend of Alain Cormier, who would be a private lender and president of the company, Bancan.
This company, according to information from the newspaper, would have done business in the past with two members of the family Rizzuto, Leonardo Rizzuto – the son of the ex-godfather of the mafia in montreal Vito Rizzuto.
Otéra Capital presents itself as a leader in commercial real estate with a portfolio of investments totaling $ 12.3 billion $ as of December 31, 2017 – the last public data available.
This subsidiary specializes particularly in the establishment of term loans, to the administrative management of term loans, interim or construction and the active management of problem loans and property taken over.