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Quebec government wants to shed bureaucrats to balance budget

Quebec Treasury board president Martin Coiteux during question period, Tuesday, November 25, 2014 at the legislature in Quebec City.

Jacques Boissinot/THE CANADIAN PRESS

The Quebec government wants to shed 2 per cent of its roughly 60,000 bureaucrats as part of its cost-cutting measures.

That translates into about 1,150 jobs on the chopping block, although Treasury Board President Martin Coiteux is holding out hope that attrition through impending retirements will take care of them.

The announcement comes as the government prepares to table salary offers for public-sector employees ahead of what promises to be tough negotiations.

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The Couillard government has made posting a balanced budget in 2015-16 its top political priority and has recently announced plans to hike daycare fees.

Mr. Coiteux said ditching the objective of a balanced budget is out of the question.

"My message [to unions] is we want to work constructively with them," he told a news conference.

Senior civil servants will not get performance bonuses and the number of contracts awarded to non-government consultants will be reduced to a bare minimum.

The key health and education sectors will not be affected.

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