Montreal, November 1st, 2001 - The emergency economic recovery measures announced today by Quebec Finance Minister Pauline Marois do not meet the specific, urgent needs of Greater Montreal, which has been particularly hard hit by the economic slowdown resulting from the events of September 11, declared Benoît Labonté, executive vice-president of the Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal.
The nature of Montreal's industrial base demanded a whole set of immediate measures aimed specifically at the economic recovery of Greater Montreal, which more than any other Quebec region is home to sectors (such as advanced technologies, business and pleasure tourism, and aeronautics) that have been crippled by recent events, added Labonté.
In the opinion of the Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal, the minister's emergency budget should have included specific measures to shore up the competitiveness of metropolitan businesses, particularly with regard to exports and taxation.
Greater Montreal counts more than 5,000 exporting firms, or 70 percent of all those in Quebec. Moreover, 50 percent of all new jobs are related to export activities. Unfortunately, no support measures have been provided for in this regard, and the minister has thus not acknowledged the pivotal role of the metropolitan area in Quebec's economy, lamented the executive vice-president of the Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal.
By 2007, the tax on capital will be reduced from 6.4 to 3 percent in Quebec, while it will be completely eliminated in Ontario. The decrease in the tax on capital announced today for January 2003 will therefore be insufficient to make our companies competitive with those in other Canadian provinces.
The Board of Trade does, however, salute the Minister's efforts to implement the plan to accelerate investments in the public sector by almost $3 billion, particularly in terms of municipal infrastructures, which will lighten the financial burden on the new City of Montreal.
We will have an opportunity to express the concerns of the Greater Montreal business community to the Finance Minister when she addresses the Board of Trade at a business luncheon on November 8. The Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal agrees with the Minister that there is an urgent need to act. But, this budget notwithstanding, there is unfortunately still an urgent need to act for Montreal, concluded Labonté.
The Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal has more than 7 000 members. Its mission is to be the leading group representing the interests of the Greater Montreal business community. The objectives are to maintain, at all times, relevance to its membership, credibility towards the media and influence towards government and decision-makers.