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The Economic Impact of an Independent Quebec April 7 marks Quebec’s provincial election, and as voters head to the polls they are faced with a renewed force behind the concept of separatism, the strongest since the 1995 referendum. The push for an independent Quebec has been boosted by the recent announcement that billionaire former Quebecor CEO and self-proclaimed sovereignist Pierre Karl Péladeau will run for Parti Québécois candidacy. This means independence is no longer on the backburner for the PQ – and with the Parti on the verge of a majority, la Belle Province could soon become la Belle Pays. What would a separate Quebec mean for both the provincial and national economies? Let’s take a closer look. A Look at an Independent Quebec Separation is a very polarizing topic. Parti Quebecois Leader Pauline Marois has tried to tone down the issue since Péladeau stormed the scene, but not before dropping a few tidbits about how she envisions Quebec as a nation. She paints a rosy picture by drawing an analogy between the European Union, the world’s largest economy, and the province. Although Quebec would have political freedom as a nation, it would continue to use the Canadian dollar, hold a seat at the Bank of Canada’s governing council, and create its own passport. Canada and Quebec would have a free trade agreement similar to nations in the European Union. The Economic Risks of Separation While Quebec as a nation may look good on paper, it poses some serious economic problems Marois has failed to address. Although Quebec, Canada’s second largest
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economy, would rank 27 th out of 235 countries in gross domestic product per capita, it isn’t the economic powerhouse it once was. While the Canadian economy has bounced back after the financial crisis, Quebec hasn’t enjoyed the same growth. Not only has Quebec suffered from stagnant GDP growth, it remains the highest taxed jurisdiction in North America, making it an uphill battle to attract businesses and foreign investment. Employment remains a major concern in Quebec – the province shed almost 50,000 full-time jobs in 2013, with no signs of recovering.
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  • Fall '14
  • SARA BEER
  • European Union, Quebec, Canadian dollar, Parti Québécois, marks Quebec’s provincial election

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Christopher Reinemann
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