December 12, 2007

Archived - Minister Flaherty Advocates for Better Economic Cooperation

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The Honourable Jim Flaherty, Minister of Finance, continued to advocate for better economic cooperation during his meeting with provincial and territorial colleagues today in Ottawa. Minister Flaherty encouraged Finance Ministers to consider:

  • lower business tax rates;
  • reduced barriers to internal trade and labour mobility; and
  • a Common Securities Regulator.

"Canada's economic fundamentals are strong, but clearly the provinces and territories have an important role to play in securing our economic future" said Minister Flaherty. "If we are going to keep our economy on an upward trajectory, we need to work together to create a stronger and more efficient economy. I appreciate we will not be able to achieve our goals overnight, but I believe progress continues to be made."

To more effectively leverage investment and growth, Minister Flaherty encouraged the provinces and territories to further reduce business taxes. The recent Economic Statement will reduce the federal business tax rate from 22 per cent this year to 15 per cent by 2012, enabling Canada to achieve the lowest corporate income tax rate among the major developed economies. 

"If we are going to keep pace with our global competitors, we will need the cooperation of the provinces to get our combined corporate tax rates in Canada down to the Economic Statement target of 25 per cent" said Minister Flaherty. "I firmly believe that our competitive business taxes will be a powerful brand for Canada globally."

Increased labour market mobility and the removal of internal barriers to trade and investment were also under consideration. Minister Flaherty encouraged Finance Ministers to pursue initiatives in these areas based on existing successful models like the Trade, Investment and Labour Mobility Agreement between British Columbia and Alberta.

In the context of this discussion, Minister Flaherty again pointed to Canada's fragmented securities system as a significant obstacle to meeting our full economic potential and strongly advocated for a Common Securities Regulator.

The ongoing challenges posed by the high Canadian dollar were clearly a priority for Ministers. As a result, Bank of Canada Governor David Dodge was on hand to participate in the opening discussion and underscore the independence of the Bank in establishing monetary policy. Ministers also took this final opportunity as a group to congratulate Governor Dodge on his successful tenure in advance of his retirement early in the New Year.

The December Finance Ministers' Meetings have become an established and important part of the annual pre-budget consultation process. Minister Flaherty appreciated the input provided by all of the Finance Ministers.

"This meeting also provided me with an opportunity to consult with my provincial and territorial colleagues as I set out to draft Budget 2008" said Minister Flaherty. "Their views and those I am hearing from stakeholders across the country will inform my decisions as I begin work on a budget that will build on our collective efforts towards a stronger and more prosperous Canada."

For further information, media may contact:

Chisholm Pothier
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Finance
David Gamble
Media Relations
Department of Finance

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