FCCQ calls on Quebec government to open dialogue with business community on economic growth

MONTREAL, Sept. 28, 2012 /CNW Telbec/ - In conjunction with the annual convention of the Fédération des chambres de commerce du Québec (Federation of Quebec Chambers of Commerce), a special declaration addressed to the new provincial government was adopted yesterday by the FCCQ board of directors on behalf of some 30 Chambers of Commerce among the organization's 155 active member chambers representing businesses in 25 economic sectors in every region of Quebec.

The declaration expresses the business community's shared concerns over some of the new government's decisions, and also expresses a desire for better dialogue.

The declaration reads in part as follows:

"The business community, as represented by the FCCQ, sees that the Quebec economy is functioning weakly at present; the rate of growth will be less than 1% this year, in contrast to at least 2% average growth during the past 25 years. This reflects the vulnerability of the recovery, especially in North America and Europe.

"In such a tense climate, it is essential that the government and social and economic stakeholders stand shoulder to shoulder, and work together to put Quebec back on the road to growth and prosperity. This is just what Quebec has succeeded in doing on many occasions in the recent past, under Liberal and PQ governments alike.

"The FCCQ would like to remind the government that our overall economy has its constraints which cannot be simply denied. These must be faced with rigour and ideally in a joint effort. The Federation reiterates its willingness to cooperate with the government in a frank and open dialogue for economic growth.

"The board of directors of the FCCQ finds it regrettable that major decisions made so far by the new government are contrary to this spirit of dialogue and cooperation.

  • Major decisions have been announced in a hasty manner, without consultation with the communities or businesses most directly affected and without the least assessment of their effects on the economy.
  • A major tax increase has been announced, particularly on capital gains, which is actually an undue tax on success, even for small investors.
  • Measures that effectively maintain or increase provincial revenue have been abolished without identifying areas where spending will be reduced.
  • Even before the findings of strategic environmental studies are known, major reservations are being expressed about the possible exploitation of natural gas and even certain oil fields, when these sources could create a great many jobs and revenue for the province.
  • Draconian changes have been announced to the conditions imposed on natural resource development companies, and there is a good chance that this may halt the economic recovery that has begun in many of Quebec's natural resource regions.
  • The Ministry of Economic Development, Innovation and Export, which had succeeded in establishing ongoing communications with companies throughout Quebec in supporting their efforts to promote business growth, both locally and internationally, is being dismantled.

"Instead of accentuating the ideological gaps between the so-called rich and the middle class and exacerbating antagonism between ecologists and developers, the FCCQ urges the government to work more closely with entrepreneurs and businesses so that every opportunity to create wealth and employment might be taken advantage of for the benefit of Quebec as a whole and its regions. We support respect for the three key components of sustainable development: the economy, the environment and social needs.

"The FCCQ invites the government and the business community to come together in a joint effort to preserve the reputation of Quebec. We must prevent observers elsewhere in Canada and in other countries from perceiving Quebec, from our messages, as having become a place where private sector investment is unwelcome. This would be destructive for our businesses, which often need to find financing outside Quebec, and for attracting new investment."

About the FCCQ

With a network of over 150 Chambers of Commerce, the Fédération des chambres de commerce du Québec represents more than 60,000 businesses and 150,000 businesspeople involved in all sectors of the Quebec economy.

As the largest network of businesspeople and companies in Quebec, the FCCQ strongly supports member interests in matters of public policy to promote an innovative and competitive business environment.

SOURCE: FEDERATION DES CHAMBRES DE COMMERCE DU QUEBEC

For further information:

Camilla Sironi
Communications Advisor
Fédération des chambres de commerce du Quebec
Telephone: 514-844-9571, extension 3227
Cell: 514-647-4745
camilla.sironi@fccq.ca

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FEDERATION DES CHAMBRES DE COMMERCE DU QUEBEC

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