March 30, 2012
EDMONTON: The Alberta Enterprise Group (AEG) says the federal budget, released by Finance Minister Jim Flaherty on March 29th in Ottawa, sets the right course for the Canadian government by introducing spending restraint and positioning Canada’s economy for substantial growth.
Minister Flaherty announced $5.2 billion in spending reductions and a commitment to reform immigration programs to help businesses meet future labour needs. Budget announcements also place time limits on regulatory processes for major economic development projects and promotes more free trade and open markets
“This budget sets the Canadian government on the right path,” said AEG President Tim Shipton. “It holds the line on spending and taxes – and that’s the right thing to do to maintain some of Canada’s key competitive advantages.”
The budget also commits the government to streamlining immigration processes to help industry overcome labour challenges in coming years.
“We’re pleased the federal government recognizes the need to address immigration bottlenecks,” said Shipton. “As we have said in recent weeks through our participation in the Alberta Coalition for Action on Labour Shortages (ACALS), industry needs every tool in the box to manage the labour crunch. AEG and its ACALS partners stand ready to work with the federal government to identify areas for improvement.”
Budget 2012 commits the government to streamlining regulatory processes for major economic projects like pipelines and energy developments.
“The government stepped up and addressed the issue of regulatory processes that are too slow, to easily distorted and too expensive,” said Shipton. “We need to get our environmental assessments done right, with a commitment to environmental best practices and top-notch stakeholder relations, but there also has to be reasonable limits on the timelines. These projects are complicated and require massive capital outlays. Whether a project is approved or not, industry needs certainty about how long the process will take.”
“This budget represents a transition from the stimulus years we saw during the downturn to a period of stability and hopefully modest national growth,” added Shipton. “In effect, the government is handing the mantle back to the private sector to create the jobs and innovation Canada needs to reach its potential. Taken as a whole, this budget makes the right moves at the right time for Canada. It’s now time to focus on bringing down the national debt and improving productivity.”
AEG is Alberta’s common sense public policy advocacy organization dedicated to lasting prosperity and strong communities. AEG members employ 55,000 Canadians in the energy, manufacturing, construction and retail industries and generate billions in economic activity each year.
For more information:
David MacLean, AEG Vice President, Communications and Policy