Launch of the Pre-Budget Consultations

La Cité collégiale
Speaking Notes for the Honourable Bill Morneau, PC, MP

September 26, 2016

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Greetings.

Exactly a week ago, the new fall session of Parliament began.

We started the session talking about our plan to strengthen the Canada Pension Plan (CPP) so that more people can retire in dignity.

We also passed legislation in the House of Commons on our middle class tax cut—9 million Canadians have more money in their pockets.

It's all part of our plan to help Canadians at every stage of their lives.

In the last year we took some big, important steps towards helping families regain the confidence they'll need to drive our economy forward.

I'm tremendously proud of what we've accomplished so far.

  • We increased student grants.
  • We increased monthly payments for the most vulnerable seniors.
  • We've also begun making unprecedented investments in infrastructure and post-secondary institutions that will help the middle class grow and prosper today, while delivering economic growth for years to come.
  • We also introduced the Canada Child Benefit—which puts more money in the pockets of 9 out of 10 families.

Concretely, help for families arrived at the doorstep this summer.

Cheques began rolling out on July 20.

And they are already having an impact on an economy that's been struggling for far too long, by giving Canadians the confidence to go about their business and be optimistic about the future.

This year, millions of families had a little more breathing room while back to school shopping.

This year, more seniors were able to focus on their grandkids, rather than worry about the rent.

This year, students here at La Cité collégiale walked through the front door with a little extra bounce in their step.

In our next budget, we will build on this momentum.

But to do that we need to hear from people.

Now, I know our government has developed quite a reputation for consulting.

After the last 10 years, I never thought any government would ever be criticized for listening too much—but I guess that's because I'm still new to politics.

What I do know is that if we are going to create success that is truly shared, we need to involve people in how we go about doing that.

I'm proud to say that last year's pre-budget consultations had the highest-ever turnout on record.

We reached over 250,000 people and received over 5,200 submissions.

This year, our challenge is to engage even more people in a conversation about how we can work together to build a better future for our children and grandchildren.

That's why, today, I am inviting every Canadian to share their ideas for Budget 2017.

You'd be right in assuming that this is the earliest launch ever.

And that's because we want to hear from people.

Through online submissions, roundtables, and town halls across Canada, my Parliamentary Secretary François-Philippe Champagne and I will once again be looking to Canadians to tell us how we can help unlock opportunities for the middle class in the future.

And the stakes are high.

As we look around the world we see worrying trends, but also incredible opportunities.

In just a few minutes I'll be holding a Google Hangout with students from colleges and universities right across the country.

It's not by accident that we are starting our consultations with the next generation of leaders.

Canada's openness, generosity and inclusivity are being praised around the world.

The International Monetary Fund's Christine Lagarde says she hopes Canada's approach "goes viral".

My challenge to the students today, and everyone who will participate in the budget process, will be to make that dream a reality.

Too often, and we saw this concretely with the CPP debate last week, Ottawa thinks short term.

Well, I'm the long-term guy.

When I craft the next budget I'll be looking ahead—far into the future.

And as I travel the country, and host Google Hangouts and town halls, I'll be looking for those bold ideas.

I believe no country is better positioned than Canada to flourish in a world that is increasingly connected and where trade is truly global.

I believe this is our moment.

Our government is about bringing together new ideas, creative minds and innovative solutions.

We will take full advantage of our diversity, and bring together the best Canada has to offer, to ensure a strong, confident and more resilient middle class—one that is prepared to face the challenges ahead, and filled with the confidence to build a great future for themselves, and for their kids and grandkids.

Ensuring Canadians have the education, skills and training they need will be a key part of how we position Canada for the global economy of tomorrow.

We are looking for ideas on investments that will make the biggest difference now, and position us for the long term.

Infrastructure, post-secondary education, innovation, competitiveness, skills and training, trade and investment are all on our radar.

These are all areas that my Advisory Council on Economic Growth, which was formed this spring, is studying intensely.

And we will be hearing more from them as the consultations roll out, and new ideas are presented.

Their work will both inform and be informed by these pre-budget consultations.

So my message is simple. Think big. Be bold. Bring us your ideas, and keep your eyes on the future.

Anyone can participate in the budget process. It's your budget.

I invite all Canadians to visit our website and have a look at our consultation.

Join us on Twitter and Facebook—take some time in the coming weeks to ask questions, or submit your ideas about Canada's economic future.

And you can always follow along on social media, using the hashtag #Budget2017.

I look forward to hearing from you.

I'd be pleased to take your questions.