Ottawa, ON — Dec. 11, 2001 — In a commentary yesterday’s federal budget for Canada, the Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters (CME) said it welcomes the priority the budget gives to secure, open and trade-efficient borders, and it applauds Finance Minister Paul Martin’s success in keeping the government’s books balanced.
“Industry has been looking for a comprehensive and integrated solution to the potential borders crisis that has been looming over the Canadian economy since September 11,” commented Perrin Beatty, CME’s president and CEO, who also leads the Coalition for Secure and Trade-Efficient Borders. “The funding commitments announced in the federal budget represent a significant step towards improving the flow of goods and people across our borders while addressing important security concerns.”
Beatty noted that all of the border initiatives announced in the federal budget are based on recommendations contained in the Coalition’s recent reports. “The goal for business and government is now to work together to ensure that the concrete actions outlined in the budget are implemented as rapidly and as efficiently as possible.”
“We recognize the budgetary constraints the government is operating under at this time,” Beatty said, “and we are pleased that the budget allocated additional funds for research, skills development, international assistance and infrastructure. But we are still missing a long-term strategy to address the innovation, competitiveness and productivity issues that will determine Canada’s economic future. The government has still not set a clear direction for improving our record on innovation.”
Dr. Jayson Myers, CME’s chief economist, said “The budget will complement tax cuts previously announced by the government, and the deferral of tax payments by small companies will certainly help to relieve current cash-flow problems. However, Canada still has a long way to go to build an internationally competitive tax system that will attract new investment and reward innovation on the part of Canadian business.
“Future budgets must still address the problems of capital tax and uncompetitively high payroll and corporate income taxes for manufacturers and exporters,” Myers said.
CME is Canada’s leading business network. Its members account for 75% of Canada’s industrial output and 95% of its exports. For more information, visit www.cme-mec.org.
By Bill Roebuck, Editor