Calling the latest federal budget "disappointing" and "worrying," Quebec minister Nicolas Marceau says Ottawa is creating a new fiscal imbalance, infringing on Quebec jurisdiction, and ignoring nearly all of the provinces demands.
"So, we can talk about predatory federalism," Marceau said.
He said the federal government has ignored the demand to not have tolls on the Champlain bridge, that it provided money to the Ontario industry without giving similar funding to Quebec's forestry industry, and that it is trespassing on Quebec's domains of health care and post-secondary education.
Marceau says the federal government will achieve a surplus next year, despite the mounting pressure on Quebec to fund health care and deal with its aging population, creating a new "fiscal imbalance."
He is also unhappy with the Conservatives' plan to push ahead with a new workplace training program, which Quebec wants to opt-out of in order to continue running its own system.
The federal government has given the provinces' until April 1st to sign an agreement. Quebec's minister calls this a veiled threat.
"They are putting a knife to our throats," says Marceau.
The Liberals says the PQ is not dealing with a fiscal imbalance, but rather its own incompetence in its ability to manage its own budget.
Pierre Paradis also says the party negotiates in bad faith and gains nothing.
"It's either the game of the 'empty chair' or aggression," says the Liberal finance critic.