My colleague Michel Girard knocked me out yesterday. And depressed. By publishing a very interesting and informative column. The question at issue is: Is Quebec on track to become as rich as Ontario?
François Legault has placed this catch-up process at the center of his priorities. Let's say we came from far away. By the end of the Charest years, Quebec was no longer just behind Ontario, but was the poorest province in Canada behind the Atlantic provinces.
After five years in power, François Legault summarizes his findings and claims that the process of catching up with Ontario is well underway. If we look at average household income, disposable income or GDP per capita, it is true that the gap is narrowing.
Take the last metric for example: When the CAQ came to power, Ontario was ahead of Quebec at 16.4%. Today that gap narrows to 13.7%. We are far from the goal, but still on the right track.
My colleague Girard emphasizes that these are annual measurements. We are catching up a little to Ontario in terms of wealth created or income earned in a year.
Building a legacy
But in practice, being richer than your neighbor is not about earning more that year, but about having greater accumulated wealth and a larger inheritance.
Imagine if 2023 was your best fiscal year ever. Raise, overtime, you made $135,000! Great!
Your neighbor is a rich pensioner who doesn't earn a cent in income. Nevertheless, if you add up his dividend income, the performance of his investments and the appreciation of his real estate, it is very likely that he has become much richer than you.
This is exactly what is happening between Quebec and Ontario. The average wealth of a household in Ontario is $1.1 million, compared to $700,000 for a household in Quebec. Since 2018, the gap has even widened.
For what? Because in the decades when Ontario residents' incomes were higher, they accumulated investments, be it in the bank or on the stock market. Your investments have increased in value. More and more of them own homes whose value is increasing.
The conclusion is that truly catching up with Ontario and joining them in terms of overall heritage is a more than colossal task. Our average annual income would have to exceed Ontario's for a generation. At least.
Quebec has sabotaged itself economically through socialization policies and high taxes.
Today we are killing the Northvolt project. The Ontario counterpart, Volkswagen, was built without any problems and a complementary factory was to be built on the neighboring property.
Money doesn't buy happiness, will someone tell me? Yet we demand services as good and roads as beautiful as those in Ontario.