Summing up the recent annual conference of Canadian provincial premiers, the nation's provincial leaders called upon the Federal government to bolster innovation and technology. The premiers are in agreement that removal of provincial tax benefits to companies will seriously dampen research and development. Encouraging R&D, both small and large scale, will eventually translate into economic growth through increased jobs and commerce.
The premiers were also in agreement that the country must adopt a new strategy regarding water management and conservation. Water is the country's most important resource. It was agreed that the nation is not doing enough to protect and manage this vital commodity. A bold innovative strategy must be implemented to protect Canada's water.
Pensions for Canadians were another topic discussed at length by the premiers. There is growing concern among the provincial leaders that the majority of Canadians with annual incomes below $100,000 will have insufficient funds to retire. This includes a large number of baby boomers who are approaching retirement age in the near future. However, the premiers lack unilateral agreement on how to solve this problem. Various measures suggested included increased public pensions and tax credits to bolster and encourage personal savings. The provincial finance ministers are compiling various plans and suggestions. The premiers are hoping that the federal government will convene a pension review summit by the end of 2009. This summit would be attended by both federal and provincial representatives, as well as leaders from the banking community and private pension companies.
The premiers' conference also touched upon the topic of unemployment and benefits. However, no concrete recommendations were made and this area of national concern remains in the hands of the federal government.
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