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Reengineering government : refocus on its essential missions while ensuring a sustainable balanced budget

Québec City, Friday, June 13, 2003 - "The choices made in this expenditure budget are only a first step to stabilize spending. We will have to go even farther to clear some budget room that will allow us to fulfill the commitments that we were elected to deliver on." This was the message Ms. Monique Jérôme-Forget, Chair of the Conseil du trésor, Minister responsible for Government Administration and Minister responsible for the Montréal Region, gave Quebecers upon tabling of the 2003-2004 Expenditure Budget.

Five Basic Questions

In a team effort with her colleagues, the Chair of the Conseil du trésor will soon begin a major overhaul of the Québec Government’s operations, including a thorough review of all the Government’s core initiatives and activities.

In addition to coordinating the six major projects already announced in the inaugural address, the Chair will invite government departments and agencies to answer five basic questions:

  • Role of the government: Does this program still respond to a mission of the government?
  • Effectiveness: Does this program achieve its objectives?
  • Efficiency: Could the program be delivered in another way and at a lower cost, while preserving the quality of services delivered to the public?
  • Subsidiarity: Which body can best assume management of this program?
  • Financial capacity: Does the Government have the means to assume the costs of this program or must its scope be reviewed?

"This is a rigorous approach without rigidity. The new government will not spread itself thin. It is prepared to make clear-minded, courageous and necessary choices," the Minister maintained. "We have a vision of a government that targets more precisely, that refrains from wall-to-wall solutions, and that does not act alone."

An openness to different ways of doing things

Ms. Jérôme-Forget emphasized the importance of instituting different ways of doing things in order to provide Québec with a modern and effective government that humanizes the services it offers and, above all, that listens to the public.

Public-private partnerships rank prominently among the approaches she envisions. "This does not mean privatization," she added, "but taking advantage of opportunities for a closer relationship with the private sector to benefit from its expertise." Another example is E-Government. The objective, according to Ms. Jérôme-Forget, is to take advantage of new technologies - not only to do more with less - but by making access to government services easier.

The Minister took the opportunity to emphasize that the success of such an approach by government cannot happen without an active and sustained commitment from the people who deliver basic services to the public. For the Chair of the Conseil du trésor, "the renewal of our Government depends on their know-how and their ability to imagine innovative changes that will allow us to offer quality services while staying within our financial framework. We have no doubt that we will be able to rely on their expertise and on their willingness to serve the public."

"Our public sector employees are in a renewal phase, we have the technology, and citizens have a clear inclination towards change: the time is right to reengineer government", the Minister concluded.

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