AN ECONOMIC POLICY AGENDA FOR A NEW MAJORITY GOVERNMENT

OTTAWA, May 9 /CNW/ - The return of majority government to Ottawa offers the federal government an opportunity to shift its focus from short-term, voter-friendly policies to Canada's longer-term challenges. The Conference Board of Canada today released a five-point agenda for policy action, An Economic Policy Agenda for a New Majority Government [http://www.conferenceboard.ca/e-library/abstract.aspx?did=4198].

Canada's economic fundamentals - fiscal policies, tax policy, monetary policy and management of the exchange rate - are arguably in the best shape in the developed world.

Despite this strong foundation, Canada is not an economic leader, based on the Conference Board's How Canada Performs [http://www.conferenceboard.ca/hcp/hot-topics/econforecast.aspx] rankings. Canada is expected to rank only ninth among 17 peer countries in economic performance this year.

To help Canada reach its full economic potential, the Conference Board advises taking action in five key areas of public policy. They are:

  • Embrace productivity and competitiveness;
  • Create a single Canadian market;
  • Rethink the workforce;
  • Revitalize international investment and trade; and
  • Invest in infrastructure.

"On all five of these fronts, Ottawa has a leadership role. A majority in Parliament strengthens the opportunity for the federal government to act on these policy areas that are holding back Canada's performance," said Anne Golden, President and Chief Executive Officer.

Canada needs to build on its strong macroeconomic record by ensuring that it rebalances the federal budget by 2015 as planned. But priority spending areas like transfers to the provinces for health care could eat up an ever-greater share of available federal resources. A six per cent annual growth rate in health care spending would exceed the Conference Board's forecasted medium-term growth plus inflation (4.7 per cent in 2015) for the Canadian economy.

The Conference Board suggests that the period of stable majority government be used to re-examine the fiscal sustainability of the Canadian health care system.

This publication is available free of charge at www.e-library.ca. Previous Conference Board research on these areas of policy action include: The Canada Project, Navigating Through the Storm: Leaders and the World of Work in 2020, numerous publications under the banner of the International Trade and Investment Centre, and reports published through CanCompete program.

 


SOURCE CONFERENCE BOARD OF CANADA

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The Conference Board of Canada
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