Budget initiatives on infrastructure, skills and remote communities will boost Canada's competitiveness

  • National Newswatch

Today's budget presents the continuity of a plan for economic growth that builds on Canada's economic and fiscal advantages. The measures announced by the Government will help Canadian businesses prosper and compete.

We have urged the government to focus on where Canada needs to be five or 10 years from now, even if it means taking tough decisions now. The government has acted on some of the key elements of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce's Top 10 program for restoring Canada's competitiveness. The result will be a stronger economy and more jobs. The Chamber particularly welcomes the money for major infrastructure projects. Nobody cuts a ribbon when a new sewer pipe is installed. It's just not a dramatic moment, but thousands of Canadians idling in their cars because of traffic congestion or bridge delays can tell us what investments in infrastructure can mean in quality of life and productivity. There is a strong link between investment in the core public infrastructure of roads, transit and utilities and productivity performance in all sectors of the Canadian economy. Equally clear are the consequences of underinvestment. The success and competitiveness of Canadian business depends on modern and efficient infrastructure.Measures to better match young workers with the skills needs of business are also a step in the right direction. The Chamber has made skills its top priority for the last three years and we will continue to work closely with the Government and the entire business community. In this regard, we also welcome the government's announced initiative on First Nations education announced previously.The Chamber has been advocating the important role remote communities can play in our economy. The money allocated to bringing internet access to more Canadians is a positive step forward for northern businesses.Finally, we encourage the government to maintain its policy of allowing market forces to set services and prices for Canadian consumers.  Unnecessary government intervention, however well intended, has a long record of damage and unintended consequences in CanadaPerrin Beatty is the President & Chief Executive Officer of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce.