Montréal, January 10, 2014 – During public consultations conducted by Quebec’s Minister of Finance and the Economy, Nicolas Marceau, the Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal emphasized the urgency of rebalancing public finances and introducing measures to support the business environment and wealth creation for Quebec and its largest city.
“The Quebec government needs to stop spending more than the economy can support,” said Michel Leblanc, President and CEO of the Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal. “The Board of Trade asked the government to develop and follow a realistic plan to rebalance the budget as soon as possible. The budget should be balanced without increasing the burden on taxpayers. The government should instead reduce the growth rate of its spending. We also recommended reviewing Quebec’s tax framework to make it more conducive to wealth creation and economic investment. This is the only way we can tackle Quebec’s demographic and economic challenges and reduce our debt.”
“We conveyed to Minister Marceau in no uncertain terms that the next budget has to recognize the need for a special effort to revive Montréal’s economy,” Michel Leblanc said. “The government must improve the business environment to support private investment and business growth. It also needs to ensure that the financial framework makes it possible to continue work on and complete the many strategic infrastructure construction sites in Montréal, while generating new investment in public transit. This is even more important given that the Greater Montréal economy is in decline. A stronger city will drive the economy of the entire province and contribute to healthier public finances.”
“The availability and quality of human capital must also continue to be a government priority,” Michel Leblanc said. “To accomplish this, support for initiatives to better integrate immigrants to the work force is essential. We also expect a university funding policy to be put in place that will strengthen universities and give them access to appropriate resources.”
“Finally, to increase revenue, the government must foster wealth creation,” Mr. Leblanc said. “The exploitation of natural resources and implementing the government’s economic policy are promising avenues. However, the application of that policy has to respect the principle that any additional spending needs to be offset by an equivalent reduction in spending.”
The Board of Trade’s recommendations can be summed up as follows:
- Quickly clean up our public finances and do what is necessary to achieve a zero deficit within two years.
- Improve the Greater Montréal business environment.
- Support wealth generating projects.
The Board of Trade’s prebudget recommendations can be consulted here.
About the Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal
The Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal is made up of some 7,000 members. Its mission is to represent the interests of the business community of Greater Montreal and to provide individuals, merchants and local businesses of all sizes with a variety of specialized services to help them achieve their full potential in terms of innovation, productivity, and competitiveness. The Board of Trade is Quebec's leading private economic development organization.
Coordinator, Strategy and Public Affairs
Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal
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