Quebec's debt spiraling out of control: Fraser Institute

PHOTO: CTV MONTREAL/FRED BISSONNETTE

Fresh numbers on government debt show Quebecers are shouldering a burden heavier than that borne by any other province.

According to a 50-page report by the Fraser Institute, Quebec's debt was $175.5 billion in 2012-1013 or roughly $37,971 on a per capita level and is spiraling out of control — or about 49 per cent of the province's GDP.

To put that figure into perspective, New York is the most indebted of American states, yet its debt represents only 12.3 percent of its GDP.

A professor behind the study, Filip Palda, says parties need to address over spending during the election campaign because 11 percent of the budget goes to paying interest.

"Productivity, that means the value of what people produce in the Quebec economy is stagnant," Palda said.

He also warned that investors might balk at coming to Quebec because such elevated debt levels could hit them in the form of taxes.

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