MONTREAL, Aug. 3, 2012 /CNW Telbec/ - In the run-up to the Quebec elections, the Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal is asking the political parties to specify the measures they intend to take, if forming the next government, to ensure that the Greater Montréal region fully resumes its role as a driving force of the Quebec economy.
"The city and the province have withstood the economic turmoil of the last few years somewhat better than their neighbours. Yet, the metropolitan region, the agglomeration of Montréal in particular, is growing at a slower pace than the rest of Quebec. In fact, the agglomeration's unemployment rate is about three percentage points higher than that of the province as a whole. This situation of economic weakness is unacceptable. It jeopardizes the city's competitive position in relation to other major North American cities, and it is detrimental to Quebec's economy," stated Michel Leblanc, President and CEO of the Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal.
The Board of Trade's electoral requests for the city
A study published by the Board of Trade in June 2012 shows that 94% of business leaders feel that the city's business environment has not improved over the last five years. They mainly criticize the deterioration of transportation infrastructures, and they are worried about the availability of qualified labour," claimed Michel Leblanc.
On behalf of the city's business community, the Board of Trade is asking the political parties to make commitments on four priority areas to ensure the economic development of the metropolitan region.
1. A concrete strategy to improve the business environment
"Montréal is a cosmopolitan city, a university city, a creative and dynamic city. Buoyed by the presence of several head offices, the importance of its immigrant communities, a good number of local and foreign students, and its many economic clusters, Montréal should be enjoying extraordinary entrepreneurial effervescence. Yet, despite several individual successes, Quebec's metropolis is not generating enough new businesses and is not creating enough jobs," clarified Michel Leblanc.
"The political parties must present their strategies for improving the city's business environment so that it can be more conducive to the development and retention of business, and, more specifically, entrepreneurship," added Michel Leblanc.
2. A firm commitment to modernizing the public transit system
"The metropolitan region is in need of massive investments to complete and modernize its public transit system. The parties must indicate their intentions regarding the some $23 billion in planned public transit projects. They must also prioritize the projects and specify their completion schedule, as well as their related funding mechanisms," continued Michel Leblanc.
3. Increase the pool of qualified labour
"The availability of skilled labour and its ability to adequately meet the needs of the job market are principal challenges our businesses must face. This must therefore be central to economic development strategies for Quebec and its metropolis," said Michel Leblanc.
"The parties must indicate their intentions with regards to improving the suitability of the labour pool for the needs of our companies, regarding the desired volume of immigrants, and regarding their strategy for attracting and retaining foreign talent," clarified Michel Leblanc.
4. Resolve the problem of overgovernance afflicting the city
"Montréal is suffering from a serious overgovernance problem, which considerably delays decision-making and taking action. The scattering and fragmentation of power at the municipal level, as well as the lack of metropolitan coherence at the provincial level, have been extensively documented in the Côté-Séguin report, drafted by a group of experts appointed by the Board of Trade," stated Michel Leblanc.
"The parties must recognize the importance of resolving the problems of overgovernance, and specify the means they will use to improve the situation. Among other things, they should tell us whether they are in favour of recentralizing power in order to strengthen the downtown core, and, finally, going beyond the recommendations of the Côté-Séguin report, whether they foresee a reduction of the number of boroughs and of elected officials," added Michel Leblanc.
In conclusion, the Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal hopes that the Liberal Party of Quebec, the Parti Québécois, and the Coalition Avenir Québec respond favourably to its invitation to come present their commitments to the city in its public forum.
The Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal is made up of some 7,000 members. Its mission is to represent the interests of the business community of Greater Montréal and to provide individuals, merchants, and local businesses of all sizes with a variety of specialized services to help them achieve their full potential in terms of innovation, productivity, and competitiveness. The Board of Trade is Quebec's leading private economic development organization.
SOURCE: BOARD OF TRADE OF METROPOLITAN MONTREAL
For further information:
Advisor, Media Relations
Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal
Phone: 514-871-4000, extension 4015
Follow the discussion: #ccmmqcca