The Goodale budget: Good intentions - long-term actions
Montreal, February 23, 2005 The Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal has reservations about the budget tabled today by the Honourable Ralph Goodale, minister of Finance. This budget includes a series of positive measures, but most of them will not take effect during this budget year. This is true, in particular, for measures with a direct impact on the country's economic competitiveness: the tax cuts for individuals and corporations, declared Isabelle Hudon, president and CEO of the Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal.
In general, this budget projects an image of goodwill with regard to many sectors strategic to increasing Canada 's competitiveness. Our primary concern is that, within the context of a minority government, financial commitments spread over several years guarantee nothing in terms of its ability to take long-term action, continued Hudon.
Nevertheless, by establishing the transfer of the gasoline tax at $600 million starting this year, the government of Canada partly acknowledges the urgency of investing in urban infrastructures. That said, the Board of Trade continues to believe that the current situation requires this transfer to be further accelerated: for cities that can wait no longer for new investments, the transfer will not reach cruising speed for a considerable time. Still, we are pleased to see the movement marked by this budget toward the arrival of new, predictable, and recurring revenues for the metropolis, as we have been urging for many years, added Hudon.
The Board of Trade is also pleased that, insofar as it is accompanied by the renewal of infrastructure programs, the transfer of the gasoline tax will result in a clear, tangible increase in the amounts allocated for urban infrastructures. We hope that an agreement regarding provincial jurisdictions will be concluded quickly between the federal and Quebec governments so that these new funds will reach the municipalities as quickly as possible and the investments necessary to ensure their competitiveness can be made, concluded Hudon.
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 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 Quebec 's leading private economic development organization.
Coordinator, Media relations
Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal
Tel.: (514) 871-4000, ext. 4015