A budget in tune with the recovery: sound management of public finances,
but no concrete commitments for Montréal
Montréal, March 22, 2011 – The Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal is generally satisfied with the measures announced in the federal budget today to clean up public finances, but would have wished for more firm commitments to the metropolitan area. “We are pleased that Minister Flaherty announced that he would continue his plan to balance the budget and maintain the target to reduce corporate income taxes to 15% for 2012,” said Michel Leblanc, President and CEO of the Board of Trade. “On the other hand, we would have liked to have seen an immediate commitment to the rail shuttle and Old Port of Montréal development projects, as we stated in our pre-budget recommendations.”
Healthy income tax reductions for businesses
The Board of Trade considers it good news that a balanced budget could be achieved one year earlier than planned, which is evidence of the strong recovery of the Canadian economy. “In this context, we are delighted that the government is on target to decrease corporate income taxes to 15% for next year, which will allow businesses to reap the full benefit from the recovery to increase their competitiveness, attract investments and create jobs,” Mr. Leblanc said.
Productivity and innovation: some promising avenues
The federal government’s 2011 budget also contains some positive measures to improve the productivity of Canadian companies and better support them on international markets. “Generally speaking, the budget responds to the Board of Trade’s requests in this area,” Mr. Leblanc said. “It contains some positive measures for life sciences and information technology. And the $100 million budget envelope over two years for research and development into clean energy could benefit the Écotech Québec cluster.
Base-building projects that must be added to the Champlain Bridge
The Board of Trade is disappointed that Minister Flaherty’s budget does not contain announcements to finance base-building and strategic projects for the development of Montréal. “We are very pleased with the $9.7 million investment over five years for the head office of the International Civil Aviation Organization in Montréal,” Mr. Leblanc said. “This announcement is testimony to the recognition of Montréal as an international city and a world capital of civil aviation.”
“However, our pre-budget recommendations focused on the rail shuttle to connect Montréal-Trudeau Airport and downtown, something the federal government is alone in not putting its weight behind, as well as the development of the Old Port of Montréal, the most popular tourist site in Quebec,” Mr. Leblanc said. “Today’s announcement that $228 million will be allocated over three years to finance major repair and maintenance work on federal bridges in the metropolitan area is a first step for the new Champlain Bridge, but must not be a substitute for these two projects.”
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 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.
Advisor, Media Relations
Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal
Tel.: 514 871-4000, ext. 4015