Is Québec too in debt to be an economically viable country?
No. Québec’s debt compares well to that of many OECD countries. Right wing economists have brandished their figures like a scarecrow to prevent Québec’s independence ever since the idea first came back in the 1970’s, yet those figures remain contested.
Equalization payments and labelling Québec as a “have not” province are myths created by the federal government. For example, Ottawa is spending $100 billion to build new warships. $20 billion of that taxpayer money came from Québec, but we’re only receiving back $600 million for shipbuilding in Lévis while the rest goes towards creating jobs in Vancouver and Halifax. The same thing happens with investing in the oil industries in Alberta and Newfoundland and the nuclear and auto industries in Ontario. Québec only receives equalization payments now because the federal government takes money from Québec taxpayers to create jobs in other provinces. Equalization payments will not be necessary once we control how to spend our own tax dollars.
Remember too that whenever anyone talks about Québec taking on its share of Canada’s national debt, there’s also Québec’s share of Canada’s assets to consider. Yes, Québec will take on its share of the debt when it becomes independent, but it will also off-set that debt with assets it already owns. For instance, there are federal parks, post offices, military bases, and all kinds of other assets on Québec’s territory that were paid for by Québec taxpayers. We’d want to keep our post offices, but it’s likely we’d trade or sell back to Canada most of the military equipment we’ve paid for. Remember the F-35 fighter jets that Stephen Harper’s government was so keen on buying at an estimated cost of $42 billion in 2012? Québec paid its share of those too.