Government priorities for 2008: Quebec and Ottawa should limit their spending, according to members of the Conseil du patronat du Québec



    MONTREAL, Jan. 16 /CNW Telbec/ - An in-house survey of members of the
Conseil du patronat du Québec (CPQ) reveals their hope that both provincial
and federal governments focus on controlling public spending as a top priority
in 2008.
    "Given this result, we invite both levels of government to continue their
efforts to ensure that public spending does not increase faster than the
growth of the economy. The CPQ will closely monitor the budgets to be tabled
in the first half of 2008," said the organization's president, Michel
Kelly-Gagnon.
    In addition to controlling expenditures, CPQ members believe the Quebec
government must also focus on debt reduction and lower personal income taxes.
At the federal level, survey respondents would like to see a reduction in both
corporate and personal income tax rates, with debt repayment appearing only in
fourth place on the list of priorities.

    Increased international competition

    The annual CPQ survey also asked business leaders about the factors
currently having a negative impact on economic activity in Quebec.
    Not surprisingly, from among the 18 factors proposed to respondents, the
exchange rate was the top one chosen, followed by three factors related to the
availability, quality, and cost of labour. The unexpected result was that this
year international competition hit the top five whereas it ranked only ninth
last year.
    "Businesspeople are currently feeling an escalation in international
competition. If we want our businesses to prosper and expand, our public
policies must allow them to remain competitive internationally," Kelly-Gagnon
stressed.

    Notable improvement in Canadian politics and labour relations

    Asked about the socio-economic climate, 79% of respondents rated the
situation as "good" or "very good" in terms of economic conditions in general,
a result comparable to last year. There was also little change in answers
relating to the Quebec political context, which the majority continue to find
"acceptable" or "bad" (56% vs. 60% last year).
    In terms of the Canadian political context, however, there is a
noticeable change in the perception of businesspeople: 60% now categorize it
as "good" or "very good," in contrast to only 42% last year.
    The survey also indicates a much more positive perception of labour
relations. Whereas only 47% found them "good" or "very good" at the same time
last year, the percentage has climbed to 65% this year.
    "Conducted primarily for our own purposes, and although it does not meet
all scientific research standards, this survey nonetheless gives a good idea
of the perceptions of Quebec business leaders. Its results will definitely
have an impact on our contributions to public debates in 2008," concluded
Kelly-Gagnon.
    The full report of this assessment of Quebec's socio-economic climate,
including its methodology, is available at www.cpq.qc.ca.

    The Conseil du patronat du Québec is the main federation of employers in
Quebec. The organization includes many of the province's largest companies as
well as the vast majority of sector-based employers' associations.




For further information:

For further information: Patrick Leblanc, Director of Communications,
(514) 288-5161, ext. 226, Cell: (514) 571-6400


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