Creating prosperity: The Conseil du patronat du Québec unveils its 2007-2009 platform

    MONTREAL, March 1 /CNW Telbec/ - Like campaigning political parties,
Quebec employers also have a platform, which the Conseil du patronat du Québec
(CPQ) made public today. Based on the shared concerns of the business
community, it presents the CPQ's action plan for the next three years.
    "Beyond our many periodic contributions to public debates, it is
important for the general public and decision makers to understand the
coherence and overall vision that guides our interventions," said CPQ chair
John LeBoutillier.
    "Our hope is to rally Quebecers around the goal of prosperity, which
depends above all on individual initiative and private enterprise," added CPQ
president Michel Kelly-Gagnon. "Our government's policies should reward work
and the spirit of enterprise, recognizing our history and Quebecers'
entrepreneurial capacities."

    A business climate that fosters prosperity

    Introduced by Diane Bellemare, first vice-president and chief economist,
and Robert Borduas, vice-president of health, safety and labour relations, the
CPQ's platform has five components that summarize the main concerns of Quebec
    Education and labour: Businesses must be able to depend on a skilled work
force. The CPQ therefore works closely with Emploi-Québec to increase
recognition of skills. It also recommends that the cost of such recognition be
incurred by employment insurance. The CPQ advocates the adoption of measures
to increase the number of graduates from professional, technical and science
programs. In terms of post-secondary education, the CPQ believes that
universities should enjoy greater latitude in the level of tuition fees.
Governments must also develop incentives for Quebecers to prolong their
careers rather than exacerbate the problem with early retirements.
    Remuneration: The overall cost of labour represents a major factor in
business decisions to invest or not in Quebec. While our wages may be
generally competitive, payroll premiums considerably increase the total cost
of Quebec labour. The CPQ therefore recommends a decrease, among other
measures, to the cost of employment insurance contributions through a rate
reduction. The CPQ is also seeking an equal sharing between employers and
employees of the cost of funding the parental insurance program, which the CPQ
    Workplace health and safety: The CPQ's leadership in this area is well
known. Its president serves on the board of directors of the CSST and promotes
concrete measures in favour of a fair and equitable compensation program for
employment injuries which also foster a rapid return to work.
    Regulations: All regulations add costs to doing business. Targeted
reductions are advocated by the CPQ, particularly in the construction
industry. The CPQ is also continuing its campaign to simplify regulations
governing labour training, especially with regard to allowable training
expenses and exemptions.
    Individual and business taxes: The CPQ believes it is an urgent priority
to make Quebec taxes more competitive. For corporations, the CPQ recommends
the complete elimination of the tax on capital by 2012 - without a
corresponding increase to corporate income taxes. For individuals, the CPQ is
calling for a tax regime that rewards rather than penalizes taxpayers who work
    "If adopted by policy makers, the action plan we are proposing today will
greatly improve the business climate in Quebec," said Michel Kelly-Gagnon.
"Productivity will increase. Employment will increase. And governments will be
able to balance their budgets and reduce the debt because the size of the
economy and tax revenues will grow. In short, the program benefits not only
business, but all of society."

    An appeal to political parties

    The CPQ is non-partisan and intends to remain neutral in the current
election campaign. However, this will not prevent the organization from
closely monitoring the economic proposals of the political parties.
    The CPQ president has submitted a questionnaire to the leaders of the
three parties represented in the National Assembly. André Boisclair, Jean
Charest and Mario Dumont are asked to take a stand on the main concerns of
employers: individual and corporate income taxes, education and labour, health
and public finances. The CPQ will provide its members with the complete
answers provided by the political parties. They will also be made public
during the second half of the election campaign.
    The CPQ's 2007-2009 platform entitled Creating a prosperous Quebec and
the questionnaire given to party leaders are available at

    The Conseil du patronat du Québec is the main federation of employers in
Quebec. The organization includes many of Quebec's largest companies as well
as the vast majority of sector-based business associations. CPQ members employ
more than 70% of the Quebec work force.

For further information:

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

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Conseil du patronat du Québec

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