The Chamber of Commerce of Metropolitan Montreal

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Press release: 2001 Federal government budget- No new measures to improve the competitiveness of the Montreal businesses

The Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal and the Federal budget: No new measures to improve the competitiveness of the Montreal businesses

Montreal, December 10, 2001 - "The budget presented today by the Canadian Minister of Finance, the Honourable Paul Martin, intervenes vigorously in the area of security but does not offer immediate measures increasing the competitiveness of Canadian companies or accelerating the realization of infrastructure projects." These were the comments made by the president of the Board and Trade of Metropolitan Montreal, Mr. Guy Fréchette.

The Board of Trade commends the discipline of the Canadian government in maintaining a balanced budget and confirming the income tax reductions announced in the 2000 budget. The Minister of Finance tables that these already announced tax and interest rates reductions will be enough to stimulate the Canadian economy, even amidst a contracting economy.

The Board of Trade deplores that of the 9% increase in public spending announced today, only a very small share of it will be applied towards infrastructure expenditures, something that could have a real and immediate impact on the Canadian economy. Moreover, despite repetitive demands in that sense, nothing has been done to reduce the capital tax, which we believe would greatly enhance the competitiveness of our businesses.

The Canadian government is cautious in using a conservative growth rate for 2002 and maintaining a contingency fund. However, in taking this course of action, the government avoids taking immediate actions that could have stimulated exports which are at the very heart of the Montreal economy.

"With regards to exports, the Greater Montreal numbers more than 5,000 exporting companies, representing 70% of those in Quebec. Fifty percent of new jobs created in the Montreal area are attributable to export activities. In this context, beyond measures aimed at increasing the security and the fluidity at the border, we would have liked to see direct measures in the budget supporting exporting businesses." stated the president of the Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal.

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.
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