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Quebec finance minister says new federal transfer formula hurts province

QUEBEC - Quebec Finance Minister Monique Jerome-Forget is criticizing the federal budget, saying the province has been penalized by the new formula for determining federal transfer payments.

QUEBEC - Quebec Finance Minister Monique Jerome-Forget is criticizing the federal budget, saying the province has been penalized by the new formula for determining federal transfer payments.

She said the modified calculation formula will cost Quebec dearly with a budget shortfall for the province of about $75 million in 2009-2010 and $700 million in 2010-2011.

"I think we have a gesture that is very authoritarian and to change the formula like this without informing us is an unacceptable measure," Jerome-Forget said.

Quebec is also not pleased with a plan to introduce a new national securities regulator, also outlined in the budget.

"You can't make me say I'm happy with all that."

Jerome-Forget reiterated the province is ready to go to the Supreme Court of Canada to defend its right to keep its own regulator in place.

She said Quebecers will benefit from some provisions in the budget, including extra cash destined for training workers and upgrading their skills.

The Parti Quebecois and the Action democratique du Quebec will comment on the budget on Wednesday.

The budget forecasts a $85-billion deficit over five years and offers $20 billion in tax cuts and $12 billion in infrastructure spending, including $7 billion in new cash.

 
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