Montréal, August 6, 2014 – As part of the House of Commons Standing Committee on Finance’s pre-budget consultations for the 2015 budget, the Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal urges the government to leverage the economic development of its major cities – and more particularly that of Greater Montréal – to support growth in Canada.
The economic revival of Greater Montréal: a priority
“While the Government of Canada is on the road to a balanced budget, Quebec, like Ontario, is struggling to stabilize its public finances and faces major economic challenges: significant debt, a rapidly aging population and a productivity deficit among local businesses with respect to their American competitors,” said Michel Leblanc, President and CEO of the Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal. “This under-performance is in part explained by the slowdown in Montréal’s economy.”
“Montréal is Canada’s second largest city: it accounts for around 10% of Canada’s economy and 50% of Quebec’s economy,” Michel Leblanc said. “And yet, the economy is sluggish, as evidenced by the agglomeration of Montréal’s high unemployment rate (9.9%), in the wake of six consecutive months of falling employment. The metropolitan area’s economic recovery must be a federal government priority.”
Three major areas of intervention
“To improve the business environment and reinforce regional economic growth, we recommend intervening in three areas,” Mr. Leblanc said. “First, lightening the tax load of companies and tax payers once the budget is balanced. Second, pursuing the strategy of making major investments in strategic economic infrastructures. Third, fostering the internationalization of large and small Canadian businesses.”
“We are delighted with the federal government’s announcement yesterday about the end of technical discussions leading up to the adoption of the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) between Canada and the European Union,” Michel Leblanc said. “We hope that the CETA will be ratified as soon as possible so that businesses in Quebec and Montréal can start to benefit from preferred access to European markets.”
Two projects that require particular government attention
“In addition to these three areas of intervention, the Board of Trade asks the federal government to take into account issues specific to Greater Montréal to support its development, and we reiterate our position that the government needs to put aside plans to centralize securities regulation,” Michel Leblanc said.
“We also ask the federal government to commit to granting the Society for the Celebration of Montréal’s 375th Anniversary the budget to ensure celebrations are a success,” Michel Leblanc said. “These celebrations must be the opportunity for the Government of Canada to leave a meaningful legacy for future generations in Canada’s first city, both for the 375th anniversary of Montréal and the country’s 150th anniversary, coming up in 2017.”
The Board of Trade’s pre-budget recommendations can be consulted by clicking here.
About the Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal
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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Michelle LLambias Meunier
Advisor, Media Relations
Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal
Tel.: 514 871-4000, ext. 4042
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