Montréal, May 30, 2008

Archived - Finance Ministers Discuss Progress in Implementing Advantage Canada

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The Honourable Jim Flaherty, Minister of Finance, issued the following statement today at the conclusion of two days of meetings in Montréal with his provincial and territorial counterparts:

"Our discussions over the course of these meetings have been productive, and reflected our commitment to work together in this period of global economic uncertainty.

"We began with an overview of progress in implementing Advantage Canada, the Government of Canada's long-term plan for economic success.

"Over the past two years, the Government has acted on Advantage Canada by:

  • Reducing the federal debt by over $38 billion;
  • Lowering taxes for Canadians in 2007-08 and the following five years by $200 billion;
  • Cutting corporate income taxes so that Canada will have the lowest statutory tax rate in the Group of Seven (G7) by 2012 and the lowest overall tax rate on new business investment in the G7 by 2010;
  • Restoring fiscal balance between the federal government and the provinces and territories;
  • Enhancing infrastructure funding and placing it on a long-term footing with investments of $33 billion;
  • Investing in education and training, including long-term support of post-secondary education and a modernized Canada Student Loans Program; and
  • Streamlining Canada's immigration system to better respond to the needs of the Canadian labour market.

"These actions under Advantage Canada have substantially improved the capacity of the Canadian economy to weather the impact of an economic slowdown.

"The provinces and territories are helping us meet our Advantage Canada objectives-by reducing their taxes, lowering their debt burdens, and further investing in skills, education and infrastructure.

"I am optimistic that collectively we will eventually achieve a combined federal-provincial-territorial general corporate income tax rate of 25 per cent. Canada's low business taxes will be a powerful brand globally.

"In addition, more needs to be done to create a stronger economic union.

"I therefore continued to encourage those provinces that have not already done so to harmonize their sales taxes with the federal goods and services tax. Harmonization would make businesses more competitive by providing relief on exports and business inputs whether a firm is profitable or not.

"I also urged provinces and territories to again consider the economic advantages of a common securities regulator. This approach would help us improve the efficiency and integrity of our capital markets, provide better protection for investors and allow us to attract further investment and jobs.

"Increased labour market mobility and the removal of internal barriers to trade and investment were once again also under consideration as key to improving Canada's competitive performance.

"I left the meetings confident that my colleagues from the provinces and territories will work with us to achieve the goals set out in Advantage Canada. In this challenging economic period, we all have a stake in ensuring Canada's collective prosperity."

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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