Ottawa, December 17, 2008

Archived - Canada's Finance Ministers Discuss Budget Priorities

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The Honourable Jim Flaherty, Minister of Finance, issued the following statement today at the conclusion of meetings in Saskatoon to discuss budget priorities with his provincial and territorial counterparts:

"Our meetings were guided by the understanding that Finance Ministers have a responsibility to work together in common purpose to support our economy against the unprecedented financial turbulence sweeping the globe. Governments cannot insulate the Canadian economy from the broad impact of the global economic recession. However, working together, we can lessen the impact of the global recession on Canadians. I will soon be presenting a budget that translates this responsibility into concrete actions, and what I heard from my provincial and territorial counterparts today will play a crucial role in informing my decisions moving forward.

"We began with an overview of the actions that the Government of Canada has taken to date to address current economic challenges. These measures represent significant stimulus in the system equivalent to almost 2 per cent of our GDP. With the forthcoming budget, the Government of Canada will further support the Canadian economy and meet its commitment to other G20 countries.

"Discussions also included a review of themes on which First Ministers agreed to undertake further work, including:

  • accelerating infrastructure investments;
  • strengthening financial market regulation;
  • improving competitiveness; and
  • ensuring labour market preparedness and flexibility.

"Provinces and territories hold the keys to advancing many of these priorities, and I therefore continued to urge them to take the cooperative actions necessary to build a stronger economic union at this time of global uncertainty.

"We had a good discussion on the state of the Canada Pension Plan in the context of our statutory triennial review. We agreed that the Plan is on a long-term sustainable footing. It will be there for Canadians when they need it.

"Our closing roundtable on pre-budget priorities and pressures touched on many of the recurring themes from my ongoing pre-budget consultations with representative organizations across Canada. These include accelerated investments in strategic infrastructure, measures to safeguard the financial sector, and targeted ways to help negatively affected communities, as well as struggling sectors like the manufacturing, forestry and automotive sectors.

"It was clear from our discussions that the provincial and territorial governments are facing many of the same challenges as the federal government. Moving forward, we all need to ensure that resources are allocated to where they will make the greatest positive difference for Canadians just when it matters most. Although I could not offer any promises or details in terms of what specifically will be in my forthcoming budget, I assured my counterparts that, as always, I would proceed in a way that is fair to all Canadians in all provinces and territories."

For further information, media may contact:

Chisholm Pothier
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Finance

Jack Aubry
Media Relations
Department of Finance

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