The economic revival of Quebec and Montreal

Montreal, April 1, 2014. –  On this 28th day of the election campaign, Quebec Liberal Party leader Philippe Couillard met with the business community of the city at the Chambre de commerce du Montréal métropolitain. He pledged before a full house to revive the Quebec economy and also outlined a five-point plan for Montreal’s economic renewal.

I am going to lead a government that will make the economy its top priority. A government that understands Montreal, its importance and its challenges.  Montreal must consolidate its position as a major international metropolis. A strong metropolis is in the best interests of all Quebecers, and it is incumbent on us to support its development. The time has come to modernize its governance and its infrastructures so that it will have the tools which correspond with the responsibilities of a major metropolis.

- Philippe Couillard

Let's face it. The Quebec economy has broken down with the PQ government, private investments have dropped substantially and employment has decreased. Without a change of course, the future does not look bright: lowered provincial revenues combined with the loss of control over spending are digging a deep deficit that will eliminate all room to maneuver and lead directly to a more onerous financial burden and cuts in services.

The Quebec Liberal Party plan consists above all of a revival of the economy and strengthening it in a sustainable manner. It is imperative that we re-establish a favorable economic climate. This revival will be undertaken mainly with major support for our PMEs (small- and medium-sized businesses). "PMEs represent half of the existing jobs in Quebec, and even more with 80% of new jobs,” Mr. Couillard stated, explaining his plan to stimulate access to funding and job creation, to attract foreign entrepreneurs, promote innovation and prop up exports with tax credits on transportation costs.

With a Quebec Liberal Party government in Quebec, investments in infrastructures, cut by the PQ, will be re-established. Investments will climb to $11 G instead of $9.5 G annually. Financially speaking, the economic activity created by these investments will significantly contribute to reduce the public debt. In all cases, investment in infrastructures is good for the economy.

We are going to implement an improved Plan Nord. A société du Plan Nord will be created to co-ordinate investments, and we will include in this corporation a marketing office. With this office, companies from all over Quebec will become familiar with the needs of major clients and will be able to participate in northern development. 

This improved Plan Nord also will benefit from a special mandate accorded to Investissement Québec. Its mission shall be to support the growth of Quebec equipment manufacturers and suppliers. The Plan Nord is still as significant as it ever was and Quebec will benefit even more from it as the global economy picks up. 

The economic vision of the QLP also includes the creation of a maritime strategy that seeks to position Quebec as a great turntable for transatlantic traffic arising from free trade agreements with Europe and the United States.  This maritime strategy also rests on the development of a sustainable fishery and a “blue” economy, more specifically marine biotechnologies which are undergoing tremendous growth globally.

All of these initiatives in this economic revival shall benefit Montreal.

Moreover, the Liberal leader presented a five-point plan specific to Montreal to provide impetus for its development:

  1. Renewed governance: A QLP government will adopt a law formally recognizing Montreal’s status as a metropolis by according it the powers due to a great North American city;
  2. Tools for an international city: A Liberal government will give the city the  necessary financial levers so it may diversify its revenues and will conclude a shared resource- responsibilities agreement according to the subsidiarity principle;
  3. Investments in infrastructures: a Liberal government will accelerate work on infrastructures and the development of public transport and will agree on priority tasks with the CMM in this new spirit of partnership with Quebec. The Liberal Party leader also reiterated his opposition to tolls on the Champlain Bridge, claiming that the current bill on this presented by the federal government does not make the measure any fairer for all that;
  4. A new economic impetus for Montreal: the economic orientations of the QLP (infrastructures, PMEs, Plan Nord, new powers) will stimulate the city’s economy. Add to those some specific projects:
    • In the framework of the Maritime Strategy, port activities will be developed, the link between the port and Highway 25 will be finished and an investment will allow the creation in the Montérégie of a trans-shipment centre of international scope: it is the natural Vaudreuil-Soulanges hub (logistical pole);
    • The first part of the Ville-Marie Expressway will be covered, which will allow for the development of the Quartier de la Santé project;
    • A Liberal government will strive very hard to preserve the head offices concentrated in the city. Le Fonds des générations will be brought into play to protect these offices from hostile takeover bids by allowing for the purchase of up to 10% of outstanding shares in those companies.
  5. Protect the French face of Montreal and promote its culture: the Liberal leader stated that Montreal’s French face is the city’s top attraction. “French, the language of institutions, the common tongue, principal language of work and a diverse population, these are all part of a unique mix that drives Montreal’s creativity,” the Liberal leader said. This cultural dynamism will be promoted.  Among other things, a Liberal government’s foreign missions will include a cultural component.  

Montreal’s revival is a matter of confidence, and the Quebec Liberal Party will bring forth this confidence. Only the Quebec Liberal Party has the team, the plan and the competence to put Quebec back on the road to prosperity and to give back to Montreal its luster, prestige and dynamism of a major international metropolis, open to the world and poised for the future.

- Philipe Couillard