2008-085

Archived - Canada's Finance Ministers Meet to Discuss Global Financial Crisis

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The Honourable Jim Flaherty, Minister of Finance, issued the following statement today at the conclusion of meetings in Toronto to discuss the global financial crisis with his provincial and territorial counterparts:

"Today's meetings offered an important and productive exchange of views on how Canada's Finance Ministers can work together to address the consequences of the unprecedented turmoil affecting global financial markets.

"Our meetings began with an overview of the state of the Canadian economy by Bank of Canada Governor Mark Carney, and a recap of measures taken by the federal government to ensure that Canada's financial system, the soundest in the world, is not put at risk by global events.

"Overall, Canada is at a distinct advantage in dealing with the ongoing crisis, with our economic fundamentals among the best in the world and a range of proactive stimulative measures in effect. These were taken in 2007 at the first signs of global stress and include $21 billion in incremental tax relief this year, which is equivalent to 1.4 per cent of our GDP.

"Finance Ministers committed to working together to preserve our economic and fiscal advantage. Canadians have worked hard to earn this advantage—and to reap its rewards. They don't expect their governments to sit idly by while these gains slip away as a result of developments that originated beyond our borders.

"We will work together to continue to invest strategically in things like infrastructure that will help leverage this economic advantage through difficult times.

"As Finance Minister for all Canadians, I committed to continue ensuring that taxpayer dollars are spent efficiently and effectively. I also assured my counterparts that transfers in support of health and social programs, which this government has increased, will continue to grow as promised in our fiscal balance plan. Total support for provinces and territories reached an unprecedented level of over $54 billion this year alone.

"Equalization will also continue to grow, but with the measures that I announced in today's meeting, it will now do so at a sustainable rate. Specifically, the Government of Canada will put Equalization on a new growth path to ensure that it grows in line with the economy. Equalization in 2009-10 will reach $14.2 billion. I provided provinces with their Equalization figures for 2009-10.

Equalization grows to $14.2 billion in 2009-10 from $13.6 billion in 2008-09

Receiving Provinces ($ millions)

Year

P.E.I.

 

N.S.*

N.B.

Que.

Ont.

Man.

2008-09

322

1,571

1,584

8,028

0

2,063

2009-10

340

1,571

1,689

8,355

347

2,063

*Figures for Nova Scotia include both Equalization and offsets.

"I also continued to urge provinces and territories to address interprovincial barriers and inefficiencies, with particular emphasis on making progress towards a common securities regulator. Now more than ever, a stronger, more efficient economic union is critical to securing Canada's full economic potential. Like many Canadians, I find it unacceptable that the countries of the European Union are more efficiently integrated in many significant respects than the provinces and territories in our federation.

"These meetings provided an important opportunity to hear from the provinces and territories in the lead-up to the November 10, 2008 First Ministers Meeting proposed in the Prime Minister's plan to address the financial crisis.

"Their views will inform Canada's position as the Prime Minister and I head to Washington later this month to work with our international partners to find ways to address these challenges collectively."

___________________________________
For further information, media may contact:

Chisholm Pothier
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Finance
613-996-7861

David Gamble
Media Relations
Department of Finance
613-996-8080

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