Morneau touts 'historic opportunity' to invest in Canada's future
Meredith MacLeod, Special to CTVNews.ca
Published Friday, April 8, 2016 11:40AM EDT
Canada’s finance minister says his government’s “central mission” is to take advantage of a “historic opportunity” to invest in the middle class, economic growth and infrastructure.
Finance Minister Bill Morneau spoke at a breakfast hosted by the Canadian Club of Canada and the Empire Club of Canada in Toronto on Friday.
“We’re choosing to take advantage of an historic opportunity to invest in people, to invest in our economy and to prepare Canada for a brighter future.”
Morneau said historically low interest rates, an era of weak growth and productivity, and a debt-to-GDP ratio that is the lowest in the top global economies makes this the right time to commit to a “vision of a future that gives all Canadians a real and fair chance at success.”
He said the federal budget, released March 22, has been celebrated at home and abroad.
“We believe this is a first and critically important step in telling Canadians what we are about as a government.”
Whether it’s Wall Street, the International Monetary Fund, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, G20, or a rural village in Quebec, “people really do believe that we’re on to something.”
He said tax cuts and the new Canada Child Benefit will help middle-income earners.
“At the core of our plan is the notion that when you have an economy that works for the middle class, you have a country that works for everyone.”
Investments, amounting to $120 billion over 10 years, in infrastructure such as transit, water, and social housing “will reshape Canada,” he said, adding that the Government’s plan to tie federal funding to infrastructure will be crucial for Ontario, which sees 1.5 million people take transit each day, accounting for 44 per cent of the country’s ridership.
Morneau also highlighted investments in post-secondary education, research, and innovation networks as crucial to growing Canada’s economy.
“It will all be for naught if we don’t share our success” said Morneau, who was executive chair of Morneau Shepell, the largest Canadian human resources services organization before he was elected as MP for Toronto Centre last October. He talked about seniors, veterans, those waiting for access to social housing and indigenous people living on reserves.
“It’s simply unconscionable that we live in a country where children live without access to clean drinking water.”
He said Canada is a “shining example of a welcoming nation” and will add 300,000 new permanent residents to Canada in 2016, the largest number in a century.