A coherent budget with foresight that will help strengthen the city

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Added on 20 March 2012 in Press releases

 

Press release

A coherent budget with foresight that will help strengthen the city

Montréal, March 20, 2012 – The Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal supports Québec’s budget, which maintains the objective of achieving a balanced budget in 2013-2014 while helping the city resume its role as a driving force of the Québec economy. “This budget echoes a number of recommendations we made during pre-budget consultations,” said President and CEO of the Board of Trade, Michel Leblanc. “It also maintains the commitment to achieve a balanced budget without raising taxes. It introduces a major effort to help integrate immigrants to the workforce and presents a number of targeted investments that will strengthen the city.”

Integrating immigrants to the workforce: concrete measures to strengthen our human capital

The Board of Trade is delighted with the measures announced by the government to improve the integration of immigrants to the workforce. “We particularly applaud the efforts to improve the selection of immigrants to reflect the needs of the job market, to support training of immigrants and to facilitate their integration to the workforce,” Mr. Leblanc said. “As we noted in our brief on immigration planning in Québec, we have to increase the number of immigrants to better counter the effects of the aging population on our economy.”

“Furthermore, the annual $1.5 million in support over three years granted by the government for the Board of Trade’s Interconnection program attests to the fact that immigration is above all a metropolitan reality, in that almost 87% of the immigrant population is found in the Greater Montréal area,” Mr. Leblanc said. “The Interconnection program has already demonstrated its effectiveness in concretely improving the employability of immigrants who register for it, and we are convinced that this effort will result in concrete benefits when it comes to integrating immigrants. We wholeheartedly support the implementation of similar programs in the regions to make integration successful.”

Achieving zero deficit by 2013-1014: essential for sound public finances

The Board of Trade supports the government’s decision to stay the course for a return to a balanced budget for 2013-2014. “Achieving a balanced budget by the intended deadline is critical for sustaining the confidence of investors and financial institutions and for maintaining a favourable credit rating,” Mr. Leblanc said. “This will give us additional leeway in a world economic situation that remains precarious. To accomplish this, we note that the government has committed to reducing the rate of growth in program spending. We reiterate that it is essential that the government balance its budget by contracting spending and not by increasing the tax burden. So we will be watching the rate of spending growth closely in the coming years.”

Targeted efforts to support the city’s development

“This budget also contributes to a number of initiatives that will reinforce the city’s economic development,” Mr. Leblanc said. “Aside from the $15 million that will be invested through the “Montréal inc.” foundation for entrepreneurship in Montréal, the budget also targets strategic sectors for the city, in particular tourism, finance, culture, fashion and design, clean technology and multimedia. This is in addition to the $125 million to mark the 375th anniversary of Montréal, $45 million of which will be allocated to projects at the Biodôme, the Insectarium and the Botanical Garden that will contribute, along with the green and blue network projects, to the city’s appeal and quality of life for residents. Finally, the budget includes an additional effort to stimulate local export businesses. In short, the budget strengthens Québec’s largest city.”

Funding major public transit projects: an issue still pending

“The flow and quality of transportation are crucial issues for the city,” Mr. Leblanc said. “The Government of Québec indicated that it would take note of how city stakeholders mobilized during public consultations on financing transportation. Today it announced a first step with an additional contribution to the Green Fund, two thirds of which will be devoted to public transit, but this amount is not enough. Failing a rapid consensus, we would ask the government to clarify its financing strategy to speed up decision making and action.”

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 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.

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Source:
Sylvie Paquette
Advisor, Media Relations
Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal
Phone: 514 871-4000, extension 4015
sylvie.paquette@ccmm.qc.ca

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