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Unlike individual countries, Quebec as a substantial recipient of transfers is able to operate with a fiscal capacity beyond what it's GDP would indicate. So as long as fiscal federalism is secure, they can probably go out a bit further on a limb. Same for the Maritimes. A big if there though.

I think Ontario is implementing some reforms that ought to help with competitiveness going forward, and hopefully the dividends this pays in terms of economic growth will help it close its fiscal deficit. I am moderately worried about Ontario. Realistically though, raising the HST to 15 or 16% would close the structural deficit in Ontario, and economic growth will reduce the debt burden in absolute terms. We just need some political courage to do it before things get out of hand and bond yields rise too much.

Quebec may have a high debt load, but in the long term I'm optimistic about the province. When peak oil starts to really bite, Quebec is one of the few places on this planet where you can run a modern technological civilization entirely with renewable energy.

If Quebec is ever brought back to fiscal earth, I wonder if there will be protests or riots over heartless "austerity".

Quebec is not alone in this. Manitoba and New Brunswick are just as bad. The only thing that will ever rescue those provinces is not demographic change, more human capital, or innovation; it is someone discovering a giant deposit of Unobtainium in the ground that will create a labor-intensive industry and jack up government royalties. That's the only reason Saskatchewan and Nfld have emerged from the shadows of dependency, sadly. Manitoba has some faint hope in the northeast corner of Bakken, but otherwise don't look to those provinces to improve now or in the long run.

Quebec and Ontario are Eastern Canada, please put a pinch of effort into your charts

Manitoba and Saskatchewan are Central Canada if you haven't looked at a map lately

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