OTTAWA (25th October, 2013)– Leon Benoit, Member of Parliament for Vegreville - Wainwright, proudly marked Friday as the 20th anniversary of the October, 1993 election, which saw 52 Reform Party MPs elected to bring change to Ottawa. “It’s certainly a milestone,” said Benoit. “We came to Ottawa demanding respect for taxpayers and hard-working families who play by the rules. I’m proud of what we have been able to accomplish on both the Opposition and Government side of the House.”
The 1993 election saw a massive shift in representation across the country, as the ruling Progressive Conservative government was reduced to 2 seats in the House of Commons. While the Liberal Party formed a majority government with the Bloc Québécois in opposition, Preston Manning’s Reform Party won in 52 constituencies, up from a single seat.
Benoit was elected in the constituency of Vegreville in 1993, and later served in the Lakeland Constituency from 1997 to 2004. Benoit has served the people of Vegreville-Wainwright since its formation in 2004. “I decided to run for office with many goals in mind for the country,” Benoit continued. “Balancing the federal budget in three years was part of the election platform. It happened. Rebalancing the justice system so the focus was more on protecting the good people of this country and by giving victims of crime more say has progressed considerably. Lowering taxes for families and business has been accomplished and more can be done. Making our political system more democratic has been attempted but much more progress is needed in this area. A good start will be electing senators to a fixed term of eight to ten years with more to follow.”
While marking these notable achievements, Benoit was not dwelling solely on the past. “There is still much more to be done. The Reform Class of ‘93 has had a very positive and notable impact on Canada making it a better country but I know all Reformers will continue to spread our legacy in the years ahead. The vehicle isn't important; the result is. The results are now achieved through the Conservative Government and through the members of the Conservative Party of Canada. Reformers should continue to be very proud of all of their hard work and achievements.”
OTTAWA (October 24, 2013)– Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced this week that Canada has reached an agreement in principle on a Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) with the European Union. Leon Benoit, Member of Parliament for Vegreville-Wainwright, explains what this monumental agreement means for the people of his riding: “This deeper trade with the European Union will bring good jobs, growth and long-term prosperity to hard-working people of Vegreville-Wainwright.”
Albertans will benefit significantly from the preferred access to the EU market resulting from CETA. “Throughout Alberta, hard-working people will reap benefits, especially in key sectors of the local economy such as agriculture, metal and mineral products, machinery and equipment as well as chemical and plastic products. Albertans will enjoy more jobs, higher wages and greater long-term prosperity,” explained Benoit.
Canada’s most ambitious trade initiative provides improved access to EU markets for Canadian goods and services, greater certainty, transparency and protection for investments, new opportunities in EU procurement markets as well as tariff elimination.
A joint study conducted with the European Union speaks to the positive effects of CETA stating it could boost Canada’s income by $12 billion annually and bilateral trade by 20 per cent. Benoit elaborates: “That is the equivalent of creating 80,000 new jobs. CETA is clear proof of our government’s commitment to opening new, large and dynamic markets to our exporters, workers and businesses.”
CETA signifies the creation of jobs and opportunities in addition to tremendous benefits for Canadian workers and families in every region of the country and in many sectors. The EU is the largest, most lucrative market in the world, with over 500 million consumers and a GDP of $17 trillion. CETA makes Canada the envy of trading nations all over the world, being one of the only developed countries to have preferential access to the largest two markets in the world: the EU and the US.
Jobs, growth and long-term prosperity for hard-working Albertans
An ambitious trade agreement with the European Union would be of significant benefit to Canada, resulting in a 20-percent boost in bilateral trade and a $12-billion increase in Canada’s annual income (gross domestic product).
That translates to an increase of $1,000 to the average Canadian family’s income, or 80,000 new Canadian jobs—which is like adding twice the number of jobs currently in the city of Wood Buffalo to the Canadian economy.
Many of Alberta’s key sectors would benefit from an ambitious Canada-EU trade agreement:
This sector employs nearly 52,000 Albertans.
Between 2009 and 2011, Alberta exported an annual average of $298-million worth of agricultural products to the EU.
Tariffs on key Alberta exports to the EU, such as oats (€89/tonne), and processed products, such as canola oil (tariffs of 3.2-6.4 percent) and pet food (tariffs as high as €948/tonne), would be eliminated under an ambitious Canada-EU trade agreement.
Eliminating tariff barriers would increase sales of Alberta’s world-class agricultural products in the lucrative EU market of 500 million consumers. This would directly benefit hard-working Albertans through more jobs, higher wages and greater long-term prosperity.
Chemicals and plastics
This sector employs nearly 13,000 Albertans.
Between 2009 and 2011, Alberta exported an annual average of $76-million worth of chemicals and plastics to the EU.
Canadian exports of chemicals and plastics faced an average tariff of 4.9 percent. These tariff barriers would be eliminated under an ambitious Canada-EU trade agreement.
Eliminating tariff barriers would increase sales of Alberta’s world-class chemical and plastic products in the lucrative EU market of 500 million consumers. This would directly benefit hard-working Albertans through more jobs, higher wages and greater long-term prosperity.
This sector employs more than 1,000 Albertans.
Between 2009 and 2011, Alberta exported an annual average of $65-million worth of industrial machinery to the EU.
Current EU tariffs on Canadian industrial machinery average 2.1 percent, with peaks of 8 percent. These tariff barriers would be eliminated under an ambitious Canada-EU trade agreement.
Eliminating tariff barriers would increase sales of Alberta’s world-class industrial machinery in the lucrative EU market of 500 million consumers. This would directly benefit hard-working Albertans through more jobs, higher wages and greater long-term prosperity.
Wood and wood products
This sector employs nearly 18,000 Albertans.
Between 2009 and 2011, Alberta exported an annual average of $2.4-million worth of wood and wood products to the EU.
Alberta’s exports of wood and wood products faced average tariffs of 2.2 percent, with peaks of 10 percent. These tariff barriers would be eliminated under an ambitious Canada-EU trade agreement.
Eliminating tariff barriers would increase sales of Alberta’s world-class wood and wood products in the lucrative EU market of 500 million consumers. This would directly benefit Albertans through more jobs, higher wages and greater long-term prosperity.
This sector, overall, employs nearly 1.4 million Albertans.
The services sector is a key driver of Alberta’s economy, accounting for 61 percent of the province’s total GDP in 2010.
In 2010, the EU services import market totalled $1.4 trillion.
Current EU trade barriers on Canadian services are citizenship or residency requirements, lack of temporary entry rules, and ownership and investment restrictions. These trade barriers would be reduced under an ambitious Canada-EU trade agreement, directly benefiting businesses and workers in this vital Alberta sector.
Direct investment by Canadian companies in the EU totalled almost $173 billion in 2011, representing over 25 percent of Canadian direct investment abroad. The same year, direct investment by European companies in Canada totalled almost $161 billion, representing over 26 percent of total foreign investment in Canada.
Alberta businesses currently have significant investments in the EU in a wide variety of sectors, including mining, financial services, professional services, renewable energy and environmental technology, transportation, and information and communication technologies.
Putting predictable investment rules in place and guaranteeing access to EU markets will help create a level playing field for Alberta’s investors and businesses and reduce the risks associated with investing abroad. This would lead to greater two-way investment, which would help create jobs and long-term prosperity for hard-working Albertans.
Workers in Alberta and the rest of Canada employed in fields such as engineering, architecture and technology could benefit from greater access to the EU’s procurement market, which is worth an estimated $2.4 trillion.
Greater access to the world’s largest procurement market would benefit workers and their families in sectors that are vital to Alberta’s economy.
OTTAWA (24th October, 2013)– Earlier today in the House of Commons, Leon Benoit, Member of Parliament for Vegreville-Wainwright, congratulated Reformers elected in 1993 on two decades of hard work and commitment to families, victims, and long-term prosperity. The following is an excerpt of Mr. Benoit’s speech.
“Mr. Speaker, 20 years ago, 52 Reform MPs stormed Ottawa to change things. We called for balancing budgets. We promoted lower taxes for families and business. We fought for rebalancing the justice system to protect society and to give victims rights in the process. We pushed for more accountability for taxpayers' dollars. We have delivered in all of these areas.
“We also promoted democratic reforms, and our government has tried to pass legislation to elect senators with terms limits; no more senators for life or senators until age 75. There is still work to be done in this area of democratic reform, but we will keep at it.
“This group of 52 MPs, backed by tens of thousands of members and millions of supporters, were mocked and rejected by the national media and the establishment. But as members know, these Reformers have made a real difference over the past 20 years and will continue into the future, and Canada is truly better for it.”
OTTAWA (22 October 2013)– In the House of Commons today, Leon Benoit, Member of Parliament for Vegreville-Wainwright, explained the key role that railways play in ensuring farmers receive the best value for their crops. Following is an excerpt from his speech.
“Mr. Speaker, I believe that farmers are the salt of the earth and I am delighted that farming is pretty good right now. Farmers have a lot to be thankful for: cattle prices are high; hog prices are on the rise; and supply management sectors are relatively stable with new opportunity being opened up with the Canada-E.U. free trade agreement. This agreement of course is good for all sectors.
“Grain farmers have produced a huge record crop. When we hear farmers complain about storage shortages or their trucking bill, we know they have a big crop.
“While these comments are partly in jest, it is true that movement and prices will depend so much on CN and CP rail.
“I want to assure farmers that my colleagues and I are aware of the importance of early and heavy grain movement and will be strongly encouraging the railways to get at it. This crop is almost in the bin or so much of it in temporary storage, but it is still a long way from market and is still very vulnerable. We will keep watching out and ensure that this crop gets moved.”