A budget that allows Quebec to invest in its metropolis
Montreal, March 19, 2007 The Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal responded favourably to the budget presented by Canadian Finance Minister Jim Flaherty insofar as it opens the door to greater competitiveness for Canada's major urban centres.
Of course, the outstanding feature of this budget is the Canadian government's willingness to adjust the sharing of financial resources between the federal and provincial administrations. The Quebec Government thus finds itself with both the responsibility and greater freedom to invest in wealth creation. And for us, the development of the metropolis is clearly one of the most promising ways to create wealth, said Isabelle Hudon, president and CEO of the Board of Trade.
Minister Flaherty's budget also includes initiatives likely to increase the long-term competitiveness of urban centres. This is particularly true for the increase in transfers to the provinces for post-secondary education and infrastructures.
If Montreal may be considered a knowledge city, it is primarily thanks to the presence here of institutions of higher education of exceptional quality. By increasing the financial resources to which universities and CEGEPs will have access starting in 2008-2009, the government is investing in one of Montreal's greatest assets and one of Canada's greatest strengths, continued Hudon.
The earmarking of new funds for infrastructures is a promising aspect of this budget. Urban centres such as Montreal have major needs in terms of the renewal of infrastructures and adapting to the requirements of sustainable development. Today's budget presents promising prospects for long-term investments, particularly with regard to the development of urban transit. The challenge now will be to ensure the metropolitan area gains rapid access to those funds, noted Hudon.
The most interesting aspect of this budget is that the federal government is sharing a little more of its fiscal flexibility with the government of Quebec. This transfer gives the Quebec government greater capacity for action but also even greater responsibility to develop the province's competitive advantages, concluded Hudon.
The Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal has some 7,000 members. Its mission is to represent the interests of the business community of Greater Montreal 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 the largest private organization in Quebec dedicated to economic development.
Coordinator, Media relations
Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal
Tel.: (514) 871-4000, ext. 4015