Ottawa, December 11, 2008

Archived - Government Launches National Consultation on Budget Actions to Protect Canada's Economy

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The Honourable Jim Flaherty, Minister of Finance, today launched the Government's national consultation leading into its fourth budget, to be tabled on January 27, 2009. The national consultation will give all Canadians a voice in how to protect Canada's economy. As in previous years, the Government will conduct online consultations, which begin today.

"It's quite clear that Canada will continue to feel the effects of the global economic downturn," said Minister Flaherty. "Our Government is developing our next budget to respond to this downturn. It will build on the progress we've made to keep our economy among the strongest in the industrialized world, and bring forward the measures we need to stimulate economic activity here in Canada, while avoiding a return to long-term structural deficits."

"The Government is open to innovative new ideas that would help shape the plan for economic recovery in the 2009 budget," continued Minister Flaherty.

The following ideas have been proposed as ways of providing stimulus in Budget 2009.

  • Investing in housing
  • Expediting infrastructure spending
  • Building strong and sustainable labour markets and training incentives
  • Supporting traditional and emerging industrial sectors
  • Improving access to credit

The Government is asking Canadians for their views on these priorities as well as any other ideas they care to submit at The Web page also features links to a presentation called Fiscal Stimulus. The online consultations will end at midnight, January 9, 2009.

As well as online consultations, the Minister will meet with individuals and groups. He will host roundtable discussions with invited stakeholders in five cities across Canada in the coming weeks:

  • Saint John, New Brunswick
  • Saskatoon, Saskatchewan
  • Montréal, Quebec
  • Thornhill, Ontario
  • Victoria, British Columbia

In addition, Minister Flaherty will meet with provincial and territorial finance ministers on December 17, 2008, in Saskatoon to discuss the upcoming budget.

"It is important that we hear the views of all Canadians on how to build on the actions our Government has already taken to help Canada weather the economic storm," said Minister Flaherty.

These actions have included:

  • Reducing the federal debt by $37 billion;
  • Reducing taxes by almost $200 billion over 2007–08 and the following five years;
  • Reducing the tax rate on new business investment to the lowest level in the G7 by 2010; and
  • Making historic investments in job-creating infrastructure and investing in science and technology, education and training.

As a result of tax reductions implemented by the Government since 2006, Canadians and Canadian businesses will pay $31 billion less in taxes in 2009—fiscal stimulus of almost 2 per cent of gross domestic product. On the monetary side, the Bank of Canada has continued to aggressively reduce interest rates to ease borrowing costs.

At the recent World Leaders meeting in Washington, D.C., Canada and its partners agreed on the need to use fiscal measures to stimulate their economies as soon as possible, while ensuring such measures are fiscally sustainable.

"This is a pivotal time for Canada's economy. Our Government looks forward to consulting widely as we build on our plan to protect our future," said Minister Flaherty.

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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