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The Federal Budget: sound management, relevant initiatives, but no structuring projects for the city’s economy


Press Release

The Federal Budget: sound management, relevant initiatives,
but no structuring projects for the city’s economy

Montréal, March 29, 2012 – The Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal welcomes the Government of Canada’s budget. “The budget presented today addresses several of the recommendations made by the Board of Trade last December. It maintains the target of a return to a balanced budget by 2015-2016 through a reduction in spending, while implementing concrete measures to encourage innovation and entrepreneurship. However, we deplore the fact that there is still no announcement concerning Government of Canada support for a rail shuttle between Montréal-Trudeau Airport and downtown, or for building the assets of the Continental Gateway at the Port of Montréal,” stated the President and CEO of the Board of Trade, Mr. Michel Leblanc.

Achieving a balanced budget by 2015-2016 maintains our lead compared to other industrialized countries

The Board of Trade supports the government’s decision to stay the course on a return to a balanced budget within the expected time frame, without stifling our still-fragile growth. “As expressed in our pre-budget recommendations, achieving a balanced budget is essential to maintaining our credibility and our credit rating. Moreover, the resilience of our economy and low interest rates provide an opportunity to pay down part of the public debt and to continue to remain ahead of other industrialized countries. We also support the government’s decision to eliminate the deficit by 2015-2016 through a 6.9% reduction of expenditures rather than by increasing the tax burden,” added Mr. Leblanc.

Encouraging research, innovation, and international trade is key to improving the productivity of our businesses

“The challenges we must face with regards to an aging population and the strength of the loonie tell us that we must prioritize the issue of productivity for the long term prosperity of our economy. We welcome the Government of Canada’s decision to acknowledge—as we had asked—the report entitled Innovation Canada: Le pouvoir d’agir by a committee of experts that included Monique F. Leroux, Chair of the Board and CEO of the Desjardins Group. The decision to invest $1.1 billion over 5 years for direct support of research and development, $500 million for venture capital to stimulate business innovation, and an additional $60 million for Genome Canada will be beneficial to the city.

“The Board of Trade is also delighted with the federal government’s initiatives to open new international markets, notably with the EU, India, China, and Thailand. We have been targeting these promising markets for several years now,” emphasized Michel Leblanc.

Several of the Board of Trade’s requests concerning strategic infrastructure projects for the city’s economic development remain unanswered

“We welcome the government’s decision to maintain its commitment to building a new Champlain Bridge but we are disappointed that it has set a ten-year timeline to do so rather than a maximum of six years, as we had asked. Moreover, the federal budget remains silent on several structuring projects for the city’s economic development, such as the construction of a rail shuttle linking Montréal-Trudeau Airport and downtown Montréal, the enhancement of the Old Port of Montréal, the Continental Gateway project at the Port of Montréal, and the construction of a new maritime terminal. It’s time we get clear commitments and specific timelines for the city on the part of the government,” concluded Michel Leblanc.

The Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montréal 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 Québec's leading private economic development organization.


Sylvie Paquette
Advisor, Media Relations
Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montréal
Phone: 514-871-4000, extension 4015

Twitter: @chambremontreal
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