2014 Federal Budget: Strict Management of Public Finances, but No Specific Measures for the Economic Revitalization of Montreal, Canada's Second Largest City
MONTREAL, Feb. 11 -- The Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal issued the following news release:
The Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal believes that the budget tabled today by the Government of Canada's Minister of Finance, the Honourable James M. Flaherty, shows careful management of public finances. However, the business community takes issue with the lack of concrete measures to support the development of Greater Montreal.
"We applaud the Government of Canada's firm commitment to balance the budget as planned by 2015-2016 without increasing the tax burden," said Michel Leblanc, President and CEO of the Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal. "We also salute the targeted measures to support innovation and increase business competitiveness. But the federal government clearly lacks determination when it comes to investing in the city's strategic assets."
Calls for infrastructure projects strategic to the Greater Montreal economy go unanswered
"The government has decided to help finance the initial stages of the new Champlain Bridge," Michel Leblanc said. "We would like it to respect its commitment to shoulder a significant part of the investment cost, well beyond the $165 million announced. The budget also does not address the Board of Trade's recommendations regarding structuring projects for the city's economic development, including the construction of a new maritime terminal. We are waiting for clear, concrete commitments from the government for financing these projects."
"We are also pleased to see that the federal budget confirms the government's intention to celebrate Montreal's 375th anniversary, and we encourage it to announce how much it will devote to the festivities soon," Mr. Leblanc said.
Focus on research, innovation and international trade: priorities to improve business competitiveness and collective prosperity
"We applaud the initiatives to strengthen innovation, particularly through the creation of the Canada First Research Excellence Fund, the objective of which is to support the leading-edge research and scientific discoveries needed to improve business productivity," Michel Leblanc said. "Greater Montreal and its university researchers are ideally positioned to get the most out of this type of fund. We note that the budget reiterates the importance of fostering commercial exchanges and ensuring that businesses have access to global markets to prosper. The Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal's team of experts in international trade, the World Trade Centre Montreal, will continue to be a key government partner, mobilizing the business community and helping Montreal businesses develop new markets, particularly in Europe. In this spirit, the government needs to increase and clarify its financial support to organizations that guide businesses in their international efforts."
The budget raises serious concerns for the city's financial sector
"The Board of Trade is still staunchly opposed to centralizing securities regulation," Michel Leblanc said. "Unfortunately, Mr. Flaherty is stubbornly imposing on Canadians a centralizing vision that is incompatible with the spirit of a federation. We also take issue with the elimination of the tax credit for labour-sponsored funds. We continue to ask Minister Flaherty to confirm that one of the new national funds of funds announced by the government will be based in Greater Montreal to reflect the strategic role of Quebec and its largest city in the venture capital industry."
The Board of Trade's pre-budget recommendations can be consulted here[http://www.btmm.qc.ca/~/media/Files/News/2014/reco_prebud_gouv_federal_en.pdf].
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