Three priority areas of action
for Quebec's next government
Montréal, November 5, 2008 Within the context of the current provincial election campaign, the Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal would like to remind the various parties of three areas of action vital to the growth and prosperity of Quebec and its metropolis. These are all areas in which the next government should act quickly and that deserve the support of the opposition parties.
In today's global economic environment, Quebec companies can't hope to succeed without being competitive and, above all, leading edge. Their ability to set themselves apart in the marketplace whether through originality, quality, productivity, or innovation is based first and foremost on the talent of their human resources; that's why it's vital for Quebec and its economic engine to train, attract, and retain talent, declared Roger Plamondon, acting president and CEO of the Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal.
This objective can be pursued in these ways:
- A top-notch higher education system, capable of attracting and supporting the teaching and research activities of the most talented brains whether from here or elsewhere. This will involve increasing the funding available to the higher education system, both by pursuing the unfreezing of tuition fees and through an overall increase in funds devoted to education.
- A dynamic strategy for attracting and integrating foreign talent particularly by strengthening higher education as a gateway for foreign students wishing to immigrate to Quebec.
- Increased and on-going support for the cultural vitality by quickly making major investments already planned in that sector, such as the Quartier des spectacles and the new MSO concert hall.
Both Quebec and Montréal have significant needs in terms of the renewal and development of their infrastructures. In today's economic context, these public investments, which are essential to the competitiveness of our economy, take on even greater strategic importance. In fact, their accomplishment in the near future will stimulate the Quebec economy, support employment and, in time, promote the positioning of Quebec as one of the economies best placed to benefit from the global economic recovery, continued Plamondon.
Among the infrastructure investments now on the table, the Board of Trade believes the following should be prioritized:
- The renewal of road transport infrastructures to facilitate the free flow of goods and workers, particularly the modernization of Notre-Dame Street, the replacement of the Turcot interchange, and the reconfiguration of the Bonaventure Expressway in Montréal's harbourfront.
- The continued renewal and development of public transit infrastructures, particularly through the purchase of new rolling stock for commuter trains, buses, and metro trains, as well as with the rail shuttle between the airport and downtown. In every respect, it is vital that we invest in quality to make public transit a truly advantageous option compared to car use.
- The rapid advance of the major health-care development projects MUHC, CHUM, and Sainte-Justine which are all critical to the positioning of Montréal as a leading health sciences centre. In the current economic context, these projects are also a guarantee of health for the construction industry and an opportunity to strengthen important sectors of Montréal's urban fabric.
Throughout the province, the talent of Quebecers is highlighted through the creation of new companies. Entrepreneurship and the SMEs that result from it are signs of economic health and our ability to seize new business opportunities and make the most of them. It is
this raw creative energy that will generate future champions the SMEs that growth and success will transform into the flagships of our economy, added Plamondon.
For this reason and all the more so in this demanding economic context , Quebec must cultivate and promote entrepreneurship and support SMEs, particularly through the following actions:
- Facilitate the access of SMEs to venture capital and the funding of activities linked to their start-up and marketing phases.
- In terms of government support, pay particular attention to companies with the potential and ambition to grow into major corporations, particularly by supporting them in developing new international markets.
- Support companies in the development of their employees' specialized and language skills to meet the challenges linked to the growing labour shortage.
The economies of Quebec and its metropolis are traversing a particularly worrisome period, with our principal international trading partner struggling with a major financial crisis and a global economy seemingly on the verge of a significant slowdown. That said, Quebec's economic foundations are strong, and the Board of Trade hopes that Montréal's economy will demonstrate its resilience and ability to withstand this upheaval. The best approach is thus to focus on the levers we control: the vitality of the domestic economy. It is with this in mind that we identify talent, infrastructure, and SMEs as important areas of action for the next government of Quebec, concluded Plamondon.
The Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal has some 7,000 members. Its primary mission is to represent the interests of the business community of Greater Montréal 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, Media relations
Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal
Tel.: 514 871-4000, ext. 4015