The Minister of Finance Reacts to the Federal Budget
QUÉBEC, March 29, 2012 /CNW Telbec/ - "In many ways, today's federal budget is very similar to the budget our government tabled last March 20. Just like Québec's budget, it aims to put in place structuring measures regarding manpower training and natural resource development," the Minister of Finance of Québec, Raymond Bachand, said today.
However, the cuts announced today are worrying in view of the current global economic uncertainty. "The federal government must secure Canada's economic stability. The cuts announced today must not endanger the already fragile economic recovery," the Minister indicated.
Moreover, since the federal budget does not specify the nature of the proposed cuts, it is not possible to determine their impact. Accordingly, the Minister expressed concern about the decisions federal departments and organizations will make to meet spending reduction targets.
The Minister noted with regret that the federal Minister of Finance has confirmed his decision to slow the growth of the Canada Health Transfer (CHT). This measurement had been announced, without prior discussion, at the end of Minister Flaherty's meeting with his provincial counterparts in Victoria on December 19, 2011. "There are two years left before the renewal of the federal transfers, scheduled to take place April 1, 2014. We must take the time needed to discuss it," the Minister indicated.
Furthermore, Minister Bachand does not understand why the federal government is persisting in its efforts to implement a pan-Canadian securities commission, which is contrary to a clear decision of the Supreme Court of Canada.
On the subject of pension plans, the budget confirms the government's intention to amend the tax legislation regarding pooled registered pension plans. "The federal government is thus responding to Québec's request. This will enable us to act on our commitment in the last budget to implement the new voluntary retirement savings plans as of January 1, 2013. These new pension plans will be geared particularly to the two million Québec workers who currently do not have access to a private group pension plan," Mr. Bachand pointed out.