As we all enjoy the arrival of summer, I wanted to take the opportunity to provide a brief update on what our Conservative has accomplished on your behalf over the past session of Parliament. (Over the coming weeks I will provide more detailed information on many of these issues.)
Thirteen months ago, Canadians made a historic decision in selecting a strong, stable, national, majority Conservative Government to help lead the country through a time of global economic fragility. Since then, our Government has worked hard and made critical choices resulting in accom¬plishments that are making a difference in the lives of all Canadians.
FOCUSSED ON THE ECONOMY
First and foremost, Canadians can rest assured we’ve never hesitated on our top priority. Job creation and economic growth remain our focus, which is why we com¬mitted to implementing Economic Action Plan 2012. It’s a strong plan that is keeping Canada on track for balanced budgets in the medium term. And with nearly 760,000 net new jobs created since July 2009, it’s working. Canada is not only in the strongest financial position in the G-7, we’ve also posted the strongest job growth since mid- 2009 – fully recouping all jobs lost due to the global recession.
Our Government’s accomplishments over the past year have reached from coast to coast to coast. For instance, we’ve delivered action to support jobs and growth by extending the Hiring Credit for Small Business, action to help small businesses grow and employ more workers. We’ve also delivered support for youth, older workers, and Canadians with disabilities entering the workforce.
By investing in public infrastructure such as the permanent funding to municipalities through the Gas Tax Fund, and the investment in shipbuilding for the Royal Cana¬dian Navy and Coast Guard, we’ve helped deliver the environment for job creation for tradespeople all across the country.
EXPANDING TRADE AND REDUCING RED TAPE
We’ve expanded trade and opened markets for Canadian business, while continuing to pursue new (and strengthen existing) trade relationships – particularly with large, dynamic and fast-growing economies in Asia. For example, Canada has expanded access to our cattle, beef, beef products and bovine genetics in countries such as China, Hong Kong, Singapore, Vietnam and South Korea. Access to high-demand counties, such as South Korea, has spurred the development of a beef market worth millions of dollars for Canadian producers by 2015.
Plus, we’ve helped elevate Canada’s business competitiveness by reducing red tape and delivering the “one-for-one” rule – meaning every time the government adopts a new rule, it must eliminate an old one. Meanwhile, we’ve also taken action to move Canada’s immigration system towards one that places substantial focus on meeting Canada’s labour market needs.
Business people across Canada who are involved in research and innovation are benefitting from our investments in universities, granting councils, and leading research institutions like Genome Cana¬da and the Canadian Foundation for Innovation. We’ve established Responsible Resource Development, which ensures regulatory reviews are improved and stream¬lined, and that major projects take environmental safety into consideration on a firm, scientific basis.
We’ve also extended the Mineral Exploration Tax Credit, which helps mining compa¬nies raise capital, and delivers additional support for fisheries, forestry and agriculture across the country.
KEEPING STREETS AND COMMUNITIES SAFE
Meanwhile, as I think has been made very clear, public safety is something that we have always taken very seriously. We abolished the wasteful and ineffective long-gun registry which wasn’t keeping Canadians safe, but only criminalizing honest hunters and farmers. Canadians could only count on our Government to stand on the side of law-abiding citizens on this issue. We passed the Safe Streets and Communities Act, compre¬hensive crime legislation which cracks down on drug dealers and organized crime, while delivering support for victims – passed within the first 100 sitting days of the 41st Parliament, as promised. We passed a number of other crime bills, including legisla¬tion to support victims of white-collar crime, the Citizen’s Arrest and Self-Defence Act and a Bill to ensure the mandatory reporting by internet service providers of child pornography.
HELPING FAMILIES AND VOLUNTEERS
Meanwhile, we’ve delivered support to ensure Canada’s retirement system remains sustainable for the seniors of today and tomorrow, while continuing to support our Veterans and delivering tax relief for families. Some examples include the Family Care¬giver Tax Credit, the Children’s Arts Tax Credit and the Volunteer Firefighters Tax Cred¬it.
We also kept our promise and passed into law the Marketing Freedom for Grain Farmers Act, giving western wheat and barley farmers the freedom to sell their grain to the buyer of their choice. Plus, we introduced legislation to make the Senate more democratic, accountable and representative of all Canadians.
In one year, our Conservative Government has achieved these accomplishments for all Canadians without raising taxes, or cutting transfers to seniors or the provinces for social spending such as education and health care. As we start the second year of our mandate, our Government’s top priority is Canadians’ top priority: jobs, growth and long-term prosperity. We will uphold these goals by implementing Economic Action Plan 2012, so all Canadians can benefit from the rewards of a prosperous economy.
I wish you a safe and happy summer!
Leon Benoit, MP