‘Think big:’ Finance Minister Bill Morneau begins pre-budget talks

Finance Minister Bill Morneau launched pre-budget consultations today with a warning about “worrying” global economic trends, but also a call for optimism for Canada’s fiscal outlook.

Morneau urged Canadians of all ages to participate in the 2017 budget process.

“Think big, be bold, bring us your ideas — and keep your eyes on the future,” he said before hosting a Google hangout with students from across the country at Ottawa’s La Cité collégiale.

The finance minister noted “worrying trends” — for example, sluggish global growth and a decline in trade — that will take a direct hit on Canada’s economy. But he urged Canadian consumers and businesses to have confidence about the economic future, and take a long-term view on prosperity that builds on help for the middle class and significant infrastructure investments. 

‘Our moment’

“I know that no country is better positioned than Canada to flourish in a world that’s increasingly connected and where trade is truly global,” he said.

“I believe that this can be our moment as a country.”

Last year’s pre-budget consultation process had the highest engagement with Canadians on record, with more than 250,000 “touch points” including email, Facebook and Twitter, according to Morneau’s office.

MPs on the finance committee will also carry out a pre-budget consultation process. That committee has received 420 written submissions from various sources.

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