Pragmatism and prudence:
The Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal responds favourably to the budget
Montréal, March 17, 2011 – The Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal is generally satisfied with the budget released today by Quebec’s Minister of Finance Raymond Bachand. “This budget responds to a number of recommendations we made during pre-budgetary consultations,” said Michel Leblanc, President and CEO of the Board of Trade. “It maintains the target of balancing the budget within the established timeframe, and it encourages entrepreneurship and export development. But it doesn’t go far enough in strengthening our universities.”
Return to a balanced budget: staying the course for 2013-2014
The Board of Trade applauds the government’s firm commitment to stay the course to achieve a balanced budget by 2013-2014. “With economic growth firmly under way, the time has come to stop borrowing and to balance the budget as soon as possible,” said Mr. Leblanc. “We can then reduce the spending required to service the debt and once again have the leeway needed to better finance public services and reduce the corporate and personal tax burden. We are keeping a particular watch on the government’s commitment to control increases in spending.”
Increasing university funding: a first step, but one that doesn’t go far enough
The Board of Trade has taken a firm position for a rapid, responsible effort that will allow Quebec universities to solve their underfunding problem and asked everyone to do their fair share in progressively increasing tuition to the Canadian average. “The increase of $325 per year over five years is only a partial measure and will not fully re-establish our universities’ competitiveness,” said Mr. Leblanc. “On the other hand, this decision finally breaks the taboo for our society and establishes once and for all that a quality university education is a worthwhile investment for students. The creation of the university investment fund Placements Universités is also a means of increasing private sector support and stimulating a more generous culture of philanthropy for universities.”
Entrepreneurship and exports: solid foundations for the future of small business
The Board of Trade is delighted with the new measures for stimulating entrepreneurship and supporting businesses as they diversify and develop markets abroad. “The $30 million earmarked for the new Capital Anges Québec fund encourages the creation of new businesses in Quebec, and the Fonds Relève Québec will make it easier to hand Quebec businesses down through generations,” said Mr. Leblanc. “Finally, against an economic backdrop where our businesses have to diversify markets, the additional $40 million in support for exports responds to one of the Board of Trade’s requests.
Investment in infrastructure: maintaining commitments
The Board of Trade had also asked the government to limit the announcement of new projects to control spending while pursuing the major investments already planned for the city. “These commitments are being honoured, including for the Turcot interchange, mega-hospital projects and metro cars,” said Mr. Leblanc. “These are projects that will have base-building effects for the city.”
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