Employers Council congratulates Pauline Marois on becoming Québec's first female premier and asks her to promptly reassure the business community to avoid a potential private investment slowdown

MONTREAL, Sept. 4, 2012 /CNW Telbec/ - The Quebec Employers Council extends its sincere congratulations to all of the deputies elected to the National Assembly. It would especially like to congratulate Parti Québécois leader Pauline Marois, who becomes Québec's first female premier. The Council would also like to acknowledge the commitment by every candidate that ran for office who, even though they did not all win a National Assembly seat, contributed to the vitality of our democracy in the province of Québec through their involvement in the campaign. It is particularly pleased by the turnout at the polls by Québec voters in this important democratic process.

"From the outset, we can reiterate the business community's support of some of the orientations put forth by several parties, including the Parti Québecois, during the election campaign in such areas as the improvement of our education and training system, upgrading the transportation offering, entrepreneurial succession and the expressed desire of balancing the budget as quickly as possible," stated Employers Council president Yves-Thomas Dorval. "But we must admit several proposals in terms of regulation, public finances and taxation are of very deep concern to the business community. This is why I urge Madame Marois to meet with business people as soon as possible to reassure them about the maintaining of winning economic conditions for Québec. I also issue this invitation to the representatives of the other political parties in opposition. It is important that they understand the business community's concerns so that, over the coming months, they can help guide them in their policy stances in the National Assembly."

Among the regulatory issues, the business community is particularly concerned about the proposed changes in the Charter of the French Language and their major repercussions on small businesses and on operational costs related to an extending of the law. The same is true for proposed changes to labour laws with, among other things, an eventual reinforcing of the anti-replacement workers provisions, to which employers would be vigorously opposed.

We also note the absence of provisions aimed at enhancing the efficiency and equity of the occupational health and safety system, completely funded by the employers, and the absence of tangible proposals designed to resolving the utmost-importance issues related to defined benefits pension plans, in both the public and private sectors.

From the public finances standpoint, Québec definitely does not have the financial manoeuverability it needs to be able to pay all of the expenditures related to the various electoral promises. And this, in particular, is in a context where it is highly likely the projected revenue streams will not materialize.  Some of the electoral promises that come to mind include cancelling the scheduled increase in university tuition fees and electricity rates and the abolishing of the health fund contribution. A tax increase on those generating the most wealth - whether it is businesses or the most affluent people - also constitutes a real risk of a slowdown in investment, particularly in regard to proposed changes to royalties on natural resources.

"With a substantial public debt and in a world economic situation that is highly disconcerting, it goes without saying Québec certainly does not have the means to be deprived of any potential investment, and thereby take a step backward in relation to competing economies," remarked Mr. Dorval. "In this context, clearly the government needs to revise many of its proposals and systematically submit them to an economic and strategic analysis so that the impacts of such pledges can be assessed."

The Quebec Employers Council wishes to express its thanks to outgoing premier Jean Charest and the members of his cabinet over the last decade.  Among the positive notes about the outgoing government, some of the more noteworthy are its movement toward returning to a balanced budget and its decisions that greatly contributed to the province of Québec recording a better economic performance than most of the other comparable government jurisdictions during the 2008 world recession.

The Quebec Employers Council brings together many of Québec's largest companies and the vast majority of sector-based employers' groups, making it Québec's sole employer federation.


SOURCE: CONSEIL DU PATRONAT DU QUEBEC

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