Thursday, 10 April 2014

Jim Flaherty

Statement by Prime Minister Stephen Harper on the passing of Jim Flaherty

April 10, 2014 Ottawa, Ontario

“Dear friends, today is a very sad day for me, for our Government and for all of our country.

“I learned a short while ago that our colleague, my partner and my friend, Jim Flaherty, has passed away suddenly today.

“This comes as an unexpected and a terrible shock to Jim’s family, to our Caucus, and to Laureen and me.

“And it is with the heaviest of hearts that I offer my family’s condolences, and I know the condolences of the entire Parliament and Government of Canada, to Jim’s wife Christine, and his sons Quinn, Galen and John at this tragic time.

“Christine, Quinn, Galen, John, you’re in all of our thoughts and prayers.

“Jim will be sorely missed, not only by his many friends on both sides of the House, I know particularly his friends in this Caucus among whom he was held unanimously in great, a combination of great respect and affection.

“But he will also be missed by the countless thousands of Canadians that he devoted himself to and whom he helped during his long and successful career in public life.

“The days ahead will provide more suitable occasions for all of us to reflect on the legacy of Jim’s life in public service and for me to talk about the special relationship that I shared with Jim.

“But for now, to he and all of his loved ones, you are in our thoughts and prayers.


Statement by John Walsh, President of the Conservative Party of Canada, on the passing of Jim Flaherty   April 10, 2014

“It’s with the heaviest of hearts that I pass along the condolences of the entire Conservative Party family to the friends and family of Jim Flaherty. Jim’s passing is a significant loss to our party, and to our country.”

“Jim wasn’t just a very good friend to us all, but he was, at so many times, the life of the party – our party. He was a tireless worker as Finance Minister, and this carried over in helping to build our Conservative Party, and the conservative movement, both in Ontario and across Canada. Jim made Canada a better place and his legacy is second to none.”

“To his wife Christine, and their three sons, Quinn, Galen and John, you remain in all of our thoughts and prayers, and we all share in your loss today.”


G20 ministers remember former colleague Jim Flaherty who died Thursday
By Alexander Panetta, The Canadian Press

WASHINGTON The elite of global finance paused during a gathering to pay tribute to one of their peers, Jim Flaherty, upon learning of his death Thursday.

The sudden loss of Canada's former finance minister shocked longtime colleagues gathered for the G20's spring meeting — the first time in a decade such a meeting was attended by a Canadian finance minister other than Flaherty.

It was under a cloud of tragedy that Flaherty's successor entered the club.

Joe Oliver said his predecessor would be remembered as a great Canadian statesman for his influence on policy, and also for his role among decision-makers who steered the world through the post-2007 financial crisis.

"I also want to say how much I appreciated Jim's personal kindness and assistance when I was a candidate, and later a cabinet colleague," Oliver said during a round of tributes, as G20 ministers and central bankers gathered for a working supper.

"This was who he was — a kind and generous man — and why he was so admired and held in such affection by so many people. I'm sure all Canadians, and many others, will join me in offering my deepest condolences to his wife, Christine Elliott, and his sons, John, Galen and Quinn."

The remarks from Britain's well-known central banker struck a particularly personal note. Mark Carney pointed out that he'd collaborated with Flaherty through a turbulent era, when he headed the Bank of Canada.

"I had the great privilege of working closely with Jim Flaherty for the past decade — in good times and in bad," Carney said.

"Much of what he contributed turned the bad times back to good. He had an enormous influence around this table — on global policy, he had a direct influence on Canadian prosperity, and he had an enormous influence on me, personally, and I will miss him tremendously."

In a rare move, the G20 dinner was opened to droves of international media so they could record the pre-meal tributes.

Britain's central banker delivered his remarks in both of Canada's official languages, as did Oliver. Carney said Flaherty played a major role around that same table in 2008 as the G20 was revitalized as an institution.

Flaherty himself has since reminisced about that pivotal 2008 meeting in Washington, held as the global economy was disintegrating. A Canadian election campaign was also just a few days away, making it awkward for the government to make major policy decisions.

But he said the crisis required some high-stakes improvisation.

"The practice in international fora is for public servants to prepare communiques before the meetings. This time we acted differently," Flaherty told a Washington think-tank three years later, in 2011.

"We agreed around the room that we would tear up the communique, and that we needed a one-page document, something that would help restore confidence. We came up with a five-point plan on one piece of paper, which the G7 people around the table all endorsed. And fundamentally, the conclusion was that we would not allow any more systemically important financial institutions to fail."

Flaherty was the longest-serving finance minister in the G7 when he stepped down last month. That, combined with Canada's better-than-average position during the crisis, raised his and Carney's international profile considerably.

Carney made reference to Flaherty's famous pugnacious streak and his preference for conservative monetary policy.

"He led, he cajoled, he urged members around the table to pursue the right policies in order to really deliver strong, sustainable and balanced growth and he wouldn't settle for anything less," Carney said.

"He believed in fixing the banks. He believed in sound money... And (he was) a strong believer in balanced budgets."

Carney added in French: He gave more than he took, and won more often than he lost.

The head of the International Monetary Fund, the French finance minister, and other colleagues also shared their memories of Flaherty at other venues Thursday.

As for the supper, it began with a few words from the treasurer of Australia, which is chairing this year's G20.

"The most generous thing you can say about a person in Australia is that they've been a very decent human being," Joe Hockey said, as he opened the working dinner.

"Jim Flaherty was a very decent human being. He is someone who was heartfelt in his determination to deliver to the people of Canada... Just a few months ago he reflected on the fact that he wanted to see a better world left to his three children...

"Canada is poorer — we are all poorer — for the passing of Jim. He only recently retired and he so thoroughly deserved the opportunity to spend more time with his previous family. Sadly, that's not going to happen."

With that, he expressed sadness that Canada's new finance minister was joining the group under such somber circumstances.

And he turned the microphone over to Oliver.

Thursday, 3 April 2014

Canadian Victims Bill of Rights

April 3, 2014    Canadian Victims Bill of Rights


Prime Minister Stephen Harper today announced the introduction of legislation to create a Canadian Victims Bill of Rights that would gradually transform the criminal justice system, by creating at the federal level, clear rights for victims of crime – a first in Canadian history.  

Since the 1970s, there has been a growing wave of discontent in communities about the historical character of the offender focused Justice System.   From 1993 to 2006, I worked in the House of Commons to change that characterization, with some small success.   Since the Conservatives came to power, there have been many incremental improvements to the system, even though the NDP and Liberals have voted against it all.  

There is a desire for a move from offender focus to more victim focus.   It is a shift in balance between the offender and the offended.   During consultations held by the federal Government, many victims of crime shared their disappointments with the system. Participants want victims to be kept informed and involved at every stage of the justice process, as matter of right that is not discretionary.

The Government is delivering on its commitment in the 2013 Speech from the Throne by introducing a Canadian Victims Bill of Rights.   The legislation is part of the larger plan for Safe Streets and Communities, which focuses on holding violent offenders accountable, enhancing the rights of victims, and increasing the efficiency of the system.

Quick Facts   Bill C-32  An Act to enact the Canadian Victims Bill of Rights

The legislation would create the following statutory rights for victims of crime:
Right to information: Victims would have the right to general information about the criminal justice system and available victim services and programs, as well as specific information about the progress of the case, including information relating to the investigation, prosecution and sentencing of the person who harmed them.
Right to protection: Victims would have the right to have their security and privacy considered at all stages of the criminal justice process, to have reasonable and necessary measures to protect them from intimidation and retaliation, and to request their identity be protected from public disclosure.
Right to participation: Victims would have a right to convey their views about decisions to be made by criminal justice professionals and have them considered at various stages of the criminal justice process, and to present a victim impact statement.
Right to restitution: Victims would have the right to have the court consider making a restitution order for all offences for which there are easy-to-calculate financial losses.

The Government will provide dedicated funding to support the implementation of the Canadian Victims Bill of Rights through existing resources as well as the allocation of new federal resources.

A study released in 2011 by the Department of Justice Canada found that the total cost of crime is an estimated $99.6 billion a year – 83 per cent of which is borne by victims.   According to Statistics Canada, nearly 2 million criminal incidents were reported to Canadian police services in 2012.   All provinces and territories have legislation for victims of crime and currently manage successful victims’ services programs in their own jurisdictions.


“Our Government is proud to be rebalancing the scales of Canadian justice to ensure that innocent victims of crime have clear rights in our system.   The new legislation being introduced in Parliament today aims to ensure that victims are at the heart of our judicial system and that they have the right to information, to protection, to participation and to restitution.” – Prime Minister Stephen Harper

“Our Government wants victims of crime across this country to know that we have listened to their concerns and that we are squarely on their side. Victims will have enforceable rights in Canada’s criminal justice system, will be treated with the respect and fairness that they deserve, and will have a stronger voice.” – Prime Minister Stephen Harper

Building on existing federal and provincial laws and policies, the Canadian Victims Bill of Rights would enshrine a victim’s right to receive, on request, general information about:

The criminal justice system and the role of victims;
Available victim services and programs, including restorative justice programs; and,
His or her right to make a complaint if his or her rights have been infringed.

Building on existing federal, provincial and territorial laws and policies, a victim would also have access to case-specific information on request, such as:
The status and outcome of the investigation;
Scheduling, progress and the final outcome of criminal proceedings;
Any review of an offender’s conditional release, and the timing of conditions of that release; and,
Information about an accused who has been found unfit to stand trial or not criminally responsible on account of mental disorder while that person is under the jurisdiction of a court or a Review Board.

Proposed Criminal Code amendments to accompany the Canadian Victims Bill of Rights would require the court to ask the Crown if reasonable steps were taken to inform the victim of a plea agreement for murder or serious personal injury offences, or to make the same provision on request for an offence where imprisonment of five years or more is possible.   Criminal Code amendments would also allow a victim to request copies of bail, conditional sentence and/or probation orders.

The proposed Corrections and Conditional Release Act (CCRA) amendments to increase victim access to information about the person who harmed them would:
Permit a registered victim to access information about the status of the offender, and the offender’s progress against his or her correctional plan;
Permit a registered victim to be informed when a federal offender has been removed from Canada prior to the end of a sentence;
Require disclosure of an offender’s release date, destination and conditions to the victim unless the disclosure would have a negative impact on public safety;
Automatically provide a registered victim with copies of Parole Board of Canada decisions; and,
Require that Correctional Service Canada inform a registered victim about victim-offender mediation services.
Correctional Service Canada and the Parole Board of Canada will also modernize service delivery to victims by allowing registered victims to access the information available to them under the CCRA, including a photo of the offender, through a secure web-portal.

C-32   Second Session, Forty-first Parliament,
62-63 Elizabeth II, 2013-2014
An Act to enact the Canadian Victims Bill of Rights and to amend certain Acts

This enactment enacts the Canadian Victims Bill of Rights, which specifies that victims of crime have the following rights:
(a) the right to information about the criminal justice system, the programs and services that are available to victims of crime and the complaint procedures that are available to them when their rights have been infringed or denied;
(b) the right to information about the status of the investigation and the criminal proceedings, as well as information about reviews while the offender is subject to the corrections process, or about hearings after the accused is found not criminally responsible on account of mental disorder or unfit to stand trial, and information about the decisions made at those reviews and hearings;
(c) the right to have their security and privacy considered by the appropriate authorities in the criminal justice system;
(d) the right to protection from intimidation and retaliation;
(e) the right to request testimonial aids;
(f) the right to convey their views about decisions to be made by authorities in the criminal justice system that affect the victim’s rights under this Act and to have those views considered;
(g) the right to present a victim impact statement and to have it considered;
(h) the right to have the courts consider making, in all cases, a restitution order against the offender; and
(i) the right to have a restitution order entered as a civil court judgment that is enforceable against the offender if the amount owing under the restitution order is not paid.
The Canadian Victims Bill of Rights also specifies
(a) the periods during which the rights apply;
(b) the individuals who may exercise the rights;
(c) the complaint mechanism for victims and the requirements for federal departments to create complaint mechanisms; and
(d) how the Canadian Victims Bill of Rights is to be interpreted.
This enactment amends the Criminal Code to
(a) align the definition of “victim” with the definition of “victim” in the Canadian Victims Bill of Rights;
(b) protect the privacy and security interests of complainants and witnesses in proceedings involving certain sexual offences and ensure that they are informed of their right to be represented by legal counsel;
(c) broaden the conduct to which the offence of intimidation of justice system participants applies;
(d) expand the list of factors that a court may take into consideration when determining whether an exclusion order is in the interest of the proper administration of justice;
(e) make testimonial aids more accessible to vulnerable witnesses;
(f) enable witnesses to testify using a pseudonym in appropriate cases;
(g) make publication bans for victims under the age of 18 mandatory on application;
(h) provide that an order for judicial interim release must indicate that the safety and security of every victim was taken into consideration;
(i) require the court to inquire of the prosecutor if reasonable steps have been taken to inform the victims of any plea agreement entered into by the accused and the prosecutor in certain circumstances;
(j) add victim impact statement forms to assist victims to convey their views at sentencing proceedings and at hearings held by Review Boards;
(k) provide that the acknowledgment of the harm done to the victims and to the community is a sentencing objective;
(l) clarify the provisions relating to victim impact statements;
(m) allow for community impact statements to be considered for all offences;
(n) provide that victims may request a copy of a judicial interim release order, probation order or a conditional sentence order;
(o) specify that the victim surcharge must be paid within the reasonable time established by the lieutenant governor of the province in which it is imposed;
(p) provide a form for requesting a restitution order; and
(q) provide that courts must consider the making of a restitution order in all cases, and that, in multiple victim cases, a restitution order may specify the amounts owed to each victim and designate the priority of payment among the victims.
The enactment amends the Canada Evidence Act to provide that no person is incompetent, or uncompellable, to testify for the prosecution by reason only that they are married to the accused. It also amends that Act to add a new subsection to govern the questioning of witnesses over the age of 14 years in certain circumstances.
This enactment amends the Corrections and Conditional Release Act to
(a) align the definition of “victim” with the definition of “victim” in the Canadian Victims Bill of Rights;
(b) permit victims to have access to information about the offender’s progress in relation to the offender’s correctional plan;
(c) permit victims to be shown a current photograph of the offender at the time of the offender’s conditional release or the expiration of the offender’s sentence;
(d) permit the disclosure of information to victims concerning an offender’s deportation before the expiration of the offender’s sentence;
(e) permit the disclosure to victims of an offender’s release date, destination and conditions of release, unless the disclosure would have a negative impact on public safety;
(f) allow victims to designate a representative to receive information under the Act and to waive their right to information under the Act;
(g) require that the Correctional Service of Canada inform victims about its victim-offender mediation services;
(h) permit victims who do not attend a parole hearing to listen to an audio recording of the hearing;
(i) provide for the provision to victims of decisions of the Parole Board of Canada regarding the offender; and

(j) require, when victims have provided a statement describing the harm, property damage or loss suffered by them as the result of the commission of an offence, that the Parole Board of Canada impose victim non-contact or geographic restrictions as conditions of release, where reasonable and necessary, to protect the victims in relation to an offender who is the subject of a long-term supervision order.

Saturday, 22 March 2014


March 2013   Russia stole the Crimean Region from Ukraine through military force of annexation and occupation, in violation of international law and the will of the legitimate Ukraine government.   It is an affront to peace and freedom for the whole world.   Such action is a throwback to the cold war, and the Russian atrocities such as in Hungary in 1956 and later in Czechoslovakia.   The world community of nations opposes such imperialistic expansionism.

The Government of Canada’s has responded to the situation in Ukraine.

March 22, 2014  Kyiv, Ukraine
The Government of Canada is taking important steps to support Ukraine and to impose sanctions against those responsible for the ongoing crisis.

January 26, 2014
Andrew Bennett, Canada’s Ambassador for Religious Freedom, led a successful visit to Ukraine, during which he expressed Canada’s ongoing concern about violations of basic freedoms and reinforced Canada’s commitment to the Ukrainian people.

February 14, 2014
John Baird, Minister of Foreign Affairs, announced funding to provide supplies, equipment and medical care for Ukrainian activists through a contribution to the International Renaissance Foundation, a Ukrainian non-governmental organization.

February 28, 2014
Minister Baird led a successful mission to Ukraine, where he and the Canadian delegation of parliamentarians and representatives of the Ukrainian-Canadian community met with key members of the new government.

March 1, 2014
In response to the very serious developments in Ukraine, Prime Minister Harper convened a meeting of Cabinet Ministers, preceded by a bilateral phone call with President Obama. In a statement, the Prime Minister announced:

Canada suspended its engagement in preparation for the G-8 Summit, currently planned for Sochi, and that the Canadian Ambassador in Russia is being recalled for consultations;
Canada’s support for the immediate deployment of international monitors from the United Nations and the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe to Ukraine; and,
Canada’s engagement in discussions aimed at developing a financial aid package for Ukraine.

March 2, 2014
Canada and other G-7 leaders issued a joint statement condemning the Russian Federation’s clear violation of the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine. In addition, they announced that they will “suspend our participation in activities associated with the preparation of the scheduled G-8 Summit in Sochi in June, until the environment comes back to where the G-8 is able to have a meaningful discussion.”

March 3, 2014
Prime Minister Harper issued a statement calling once again on President Putin to immediately withdraw his military from Crimea, adding that the situation in Ukraine remains extremely serious for global peace and security. He added that he has cancelled government representation at the Paralympic Games and instructed officials to review all planned bilateral interaction with Russia.

Prime Minister Harper spoke with Arseniy Yatsenyuk, Prime Minister of Ukraine, about developments in Crimea and other regions in the south and east of Ukraine. Prime Minister Harper condemned in the strongest terms President Putin’s military intervention in Ukraine.

March 4, 2014
Prime Minister Harper announced that, effective immediately, all planned bilateral activities between the Canadian Armed Forces and the military of the Russian Federation are suspended. This includes exercises, such as NORAD’s Exercise Vigilant Eagle, and scheduled meetings.

March 5, 2014
Prime Minister Harper announced that, at the request of the Prosecutor General of Ukraine, Canada will freeze the assets of members of the Yanukovych regime. As a result, 18 people, including members of the former Yanukovych regime, members of their families, and their close associates, were listed in regulations under the Freezing Assets of Corrupt Foreign Officials Act.

Canada also suspended its participation in the Canada-Russia Intergovernmental Economic Commission.

Prime Minister Harper announced that at Ukraine’s request, Canada, along with a number of other member countries of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, will participate in a military observer mission that will report on military activities in Ukraine. Canada contributed two military observers.

March 6, 2014
Prime Minister Harper issued a statement saying that Russia's invasion of Ukraine is an act of aggression, a clear violation of Ukraine's sovereignty, and of international law. He further added that Canada will not recognize a referendum held in a region currently under illegal military occupation.

March 12, 2014
G-7 leaders issued a statement calling on the Russian Federation to cease all efforts to change the status of Crimea contrary to Ukrainian law and in violation of international law. They call on the Russian Federation to immediately halt actions supporting a referendum on the territory of Crimea regarding its status, in direct violation of the Constitution of Ukraine.

March 13, 2014
Prime Minister Harper announced more than $220 million in support to help Ukraine stabilize its economy and promote economic and social development. The support will be provided in the form of a loan or loan guarantee, conditional on a broader package that includes International Monetary Fund (IMF) support for Ukraine. Additional support will assist the IMF in delivering technical assistance to help Ukraine manage its economic transition and financial sector reforms.

March 16, 2014
Prime Minister Harper issued a statement on the results of the Crimean “referendum”, reiterating that this “referendum” is illegitimate, has no legal effect, and that Canada does not recognize its outcome.

March 17, 2014
Prime Minister Harper announced further economic sanctions under the Special Economic Measures Act and additional travel bans against Ukrainian and Russian officials.

The Prime Minister also met with Vadym Prystaiko, Ambassador of Ukraine to Canada, to discuss the ongoing situation.

March 18, 2014
Prime Minister Harper announced economic sanctions and travel bans against an additional 17 Ukrainian and Russian officials responsible for undermining the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine, and for facilitating Russian military action against Ukraine.

March 21, 2014
Prime Minister Harper announced economic sanctions against 14 additional Russian officials and one financial institution, Bank Rossiya. Travel bans were also imposed on these 14 individuals. 

March 22, 2014
Prime Minister Harper announced Canada’s contribution of $775, 000 to a political and security monitoring mission to Ukraine, led by the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe.
Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe special monitoring mission in Ukraine

March 22, 2014
Kyiv, Ukraine

Since the beginning of the crisis, Canada has stood proudly alongside the Ukrainian people. It has demonstrated its commitment to restoring political and economic stability by taking important steps to support Ukraine and to impose sanctions against those responsible for the ongoing crisis.

During his visit to Kyiv, Ukraine, on March 22, 2014, Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced Canada’s contribution to a Special Monitoring Mission to the country, led by the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE).

Canada’s support to the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission, in the amount of $775,000 through Canada’s Global Peace and Security Fund, will assist the OSCE to report on the security situation in Ukraine, foster peace and stability, encourage respect for human rights, and enable an environment for inclusive political dialogue in Ukraine. The mission is expected to be deployed soon. The pre-team is expected to deploy by Sunday, March 23.

Support to the monitoring mission is in addition to Canada’s annual contribution to the OSCE’s regular budget.

The Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) is the world's largest security-oriented intergovernmental organization. Its mandate includes issues such as arms control and the promotion of human rights, freedom of the press, and fair elections. Its 57 member-States span from Europe, Central Asia and North America.

Monday, 10 March 2014

Commonwealth Day

Statement by the Prime Minister of Canada on Commonwealth Day

March 10, 2014

Prime Minister Stephen Harper today issued the following statement to mark Commonwealth Day:

“Today is an opportunity to celebrate the strong bonds, shared values, and principles which have united the 53 countries of the Commonwealth.

“As a proud Commonwealth nation, Canada continues to play an active role in promoting good governance, democracy, human rights and peace and stability around the world.   Along with our Commonwealth partners, we have made progress in promoting dialogue and cooperation on important global issues, including the need to end child, early and forced marriage.”

Canada’s historic links and close Commonwealth ties will be apparent during the upcoming visit in May by Their Royal Highnesses The Prince of Wales, the future head of the Commonwealth, and The Duchess of Cornwall, as well as during the XX Commonwealth Games that will be held in Glasgow, Scotland, from July 23 to August 3, 2014.

“Today, we strongly urge all members of the Commonwealth to reaffirm the values and principles captured in the Charter of the Commonwealth, including respect for human rights, the protection and promotion of religious freedom, and the need to oppose discrimination on any grounds.   This is critical in order for the Commonwealth to remain relevant and credible as a values-based organization in the 21st century.   In particular, I would also like to reiterate my concerns about the situation in Sri Lanka.   As the current chair of the Commonwealth, the Sri Lankan government has failed to uphold the Commonwealth’s core values and we continue to urge them to respect human rights and the rule of law.”

“The Commonwealth has traditionally been a beacon of democratic values for people around the world.   Canada will continue to promote and support initiatives to ensure that this legacy is upheld as the organization moves forward into the future.”

*       *       *       *       *       *       *

The Commonwealth of Nations is an intergovernmental organization of 53 member states that were mostly territories of the former British Empire.   It was formally constituted by the London Declaration in 1949, which established these states as "free and equal".   The symbol of association is Queen Elizabeth II who is the Head of the Commonwealth.   The Queen is also the legal monarch of 16 members of the Commonwealth such as Canada, and known as realms.   

Member states have no legal obligation one to another.   However, they are strongly united by, language, history, culture, and their shared values of democracy, human rights, and the rule of law.   These shared values are enshrined in the Commonwealth Charter and the quadrennial Commonwealth Games.

Monday, 17 February 2014

Canada has a bright future !

Despite the sour media reports, Canada has a bright future.

We need to figure out where we stand.   Just five years ago, the financial world was scary place.   The global economic crisis of 2008 took a severe toll on every major G7 nation, and slammed Canada hard in 2009.   Credit was frozen.   Small businesses struggled.   Factories went dark.   204,000 jobs were lost in 60 days.   Economic fear replaced hope and optimism in Canadian homes.   The trouble came from outside of Canada, and every nation was affected.   Fortunately, Conservative policies and a steady-hand protected us better than most.

There still are dangers to avoid.   The Trudeau Liberals would raise taxes and impose leftist policies that discourage investment and innovations, hurt job growth, and increase the cost of government at the expense of Canadian families.

It is now 2014, yet many of the world’s advanced nations still struggle to recover.   However, thanks to broad political support from average Canadians, and the experienced and responsible leadership of Prime Minister Harper and his Cabinet, Canadians have consistently led the industrialized world in recovery, financial stability and job growth.

Canada created one million new jobs since the 2009 recession, the best record among all G7 countries.   The debt to GDP ratio is the lowest among the G7.   Canada has the lowest tax burden as a percentage of the economy in over 50 years, and is one of the few countries with an AAA credit rating from all three major agencies.   Canada’s business investment has been the strongest in the G7in the past five years.  

There’s more great news.   Conservative Government policies will lead to a balanced federal budget by 2015 - without raising taxes or cutting investments in health-care and social service transfers to the Provinces.  

Job growth is steady, and will be further boosted by up to 80,000 more jobs, once our new EU Trade Agreement adds perhaps another $l2 billion to our GDP.  A federal budget surplus of more than $3.5 Billion is projected for 2015.    

These facts should convince, that Canada’s best days are ahead – if we stay on the right track.   It is worrisome that a sudden turn to inexperienced leadership and failed policies of the past, could derail the steady progress the Conservative team has made for Canada.

Canadian quality of life is under threat from poor political ideas and inexperience of discordant voices who want to impose their own agenda.  

Canada’s population topped 35 million last year.   Accordingly, the number of MPs in Parliament will increase from 308 to 338 in 2015, creating 30 new ridings.   

Also remember, that the old taxpayer $2 per-vote taxpayer subsidy to political Parties will finally end in 2015.   The Liberals and NDP bitterly opposed this reform measure, which used to cost the taxpayer $30 million a year.   Scrapping this giveaway was the right and democratic thing to do — as Parties must find support for their policies voluntarily from Canadians. 

The political landscape is evolving, and Canadians need to know where they stand when the negative discouraging voices attempt to divert voters from the course of progress.

Tuesday, 11 February 2014


Government of Canada Budget 2014

Economic Action Plan 2014: Supporting Families and Communities

In an uncertain world, Canada’s Economic Action Plan (EAP) is working—creating jobs, keeping the economy growing and returning to balanced budgets. Since the beginning of the recovery, Canada has achieved the best job creation record of any Group of Seven (G-7) country, and one of the best economic performances in the G-7.

With Economic Action Plan 2014, the Government continues to support families and communities by keeping taxes low, putting consumers first, protecting Canadians’ health and safety, and making communities more resilient in the face of natural disasters.

Consumers First
Since 2006, the Government has taken significant action to support and protect all Canadian consumers by reducing taxes and tariffs, ensuring marketplace fairness, promoting competition in a number of industries (including financial services, telecommunications and air services), and improving product and food safety. EAP 2014 expands on the Government’s consumer-focused measures to improve the bottom line for Canadian families and ensure that they are getting value for their hard-earned dollars.

Improving Competition in the Telecommunications Market
The Government has a strong record of responding to the needs and concerns of Canadian consumers. EAP 2014 proposes new measures to improve competition in the telecommunications market by:

* Capping wholesale domestic wireless roaming rates.
* Providing telecommunications regulators with the power to impose administrative monetary penalties on companies that violate rules such as the Wireless Code.

Improving Access to Broadband in Rural and Northern Communities
EAP 2014 invests $305 million over five years to extend and enhance broadband Internet service for Canadians in rural and Northern communities.

Legislating Against Unjustified Cross-Border Price Discrimination
It is well documented that Canadians pay more than Americans for many identical goods. EAP 2014 announces the Government’s intention to introduce legislation to prohibit unjustified cross-border price discrimination to reduce the gap between consumer prices in Canada and the United States.

Strengthening Food Safety
Since 2006, the Government has invested over $500 million in Canada’s food safety system. EAP 2014 invests $390 million over five years to further ensure Canadian families have confidence in the food they eat, including:

* More than $153 million to strengthen food safety programs and support the hiring of more than 200 additional inspectors and other staff.

  • Almost $31 million to establish a national Food Safety Information Network to link federal and provincial food safety authorities and private food testing laboratories across the country, allowing for more rapid detection of and response to food safety hazards.

Putting Consumers First in the Financial Sector
EAP 2014 advances the Government’s commitment to protect consumers of financial products and services by:

* Engaging Canadians on developing a comprehensive financial consumer code that will better protect consumers of financial products and services and ensure they have the tools they need to make responsible financial decisions.

* Ensuring banks offer low-cost basic banking services that meet consumers’ banking needs, expand no-cost basic banking services for youths, students and vulnerable groups, and continue to provide free monthly printed statements for credit cards.
* Raising awareness among Canadians of their right to cash Government of Canada cheques free of charge at any bank in Canada.

* Helping lower the costs that merchants pay to accept credit cards, while encouraging merchants to lower prices for consumers.

Helping Canadians Prepare for and Recover from Natural Disasters
The Government remains committed to helping Canadians build safer and more resilient communities. EAP 2014 announces new measures to better prepare Canadians and protect them from natural disasters:

* $200 million over five years to establish a National Disaster Mitigation Program.

* $40 million over five years for disaster mitigation in First Nations communities.

* $11.4 million over five years on a cash basis to Natural Resources Canada to upgrade its earthquake monitoring system.

The Search and Rescue Volunteers Tax Credit
To recognize the important role played by search and rescue volunteers who put themselves at risk in the service of their communities, EAP 2014 announces a new 15-per-cent non-refundable Search and Rescue Volunteers Tax Credit on an amount of $3,000 for ground, air and marine search and rescue volunteers. This credit will be available to search and rescue volunteers who perform at least 200 hours of service during a year.

With these and other measures, Economic Action Plan 2014 is supporting families and communities.

Economic Action Plan 2014: The Road to Balance

The cornerstone of the Government’s efforts to create jobs and opportunities for Canadians is the commitment to return to balanced budgets in 2015. As Economic Action Plan 2014 makes clear, the Government is on track to deliver on that commitment.

A Plan to Return to Budget Balance
Balancing the budget and reducing debt are not an end to themselves, but a means to increase Canada’s economic potential, to improve employment opportunities and increase the standard of living of Canadians. The Government’s plan to return to balanced budgets:

* Ensures tax dollars are used to support important social services—like health care—rather than paying interest costs.

* Preserves Canada’s low-tax plan and allows for further tax reductions—fostering growth and the creation of jobs for the benefit of all Canadians.

* Helps to keep interest rates low, instilling confidence in consumers and investors, whose dollars spur economic growth and job creation.

* Strengthens the country’s ability to respond to longer-term challenges, such as population aging and unexpected global economic shocks.

* Signals that public services are sustainable over the long run, and ensures fairness and equity for future generations by avoiding tax increases or reductions in services.

Canada’s responsible fiscal position is key to economic growth and job creation for the long term. Canada’s efforts to pay down debt before the global recession and control spending have helped ensure that Canada’s net debt-to-GDP ratio is the lowest by far of any G-7 country, and among the lowest of advanced G-20 countries. It is also why Canada is among only a handful of countries with a triple-A credit rating, with a stable outlook, from all major credit rating agencies.

Budget Balance in 2015–16
The Government is on track to return to balanced budgets. The deficit has been reduced by almost two-thirds since the height of the global economic and financial crisis, from $55.6 billion in 2009–10 to $18.9 billion in 2012–13.

Including measures in EAP 2014, the deficit is projected to fall to $2.9 billion by 2014–15. A surplus of $6.4 billion is expected in 2015–16, after taking into account a $3.0 billion annual adjustment for risk.

Controlling Program Spending
Since EAP 2010, the Government has controlled direct program spending through targeted savings actions and broad-based reviews focused on reducing spending without compromising the delivery of priority services to Canadians. Taking into account the new measures in EAP 2014, direct program spending is projected to remain broadly in line with the 2010–11 level through to 2018–19.

In fact, direct program spending has declined for three consecutive years, a trend that has not been observed in decades. Federal transfers to individuals that provide important income support, such as Old Age Security, and major transfers to other levels of government, including those for social programs and health care, will continue to grow through to 2018–19.

Improving the Integrity of the Tax System
These steps have been accompanied by measures to improve the fairness and integrity of the tax system with a view to ensuring everyone pays their fair share. EAP 2014 proposes a number of measures that reflect the Government’s ongoing commitment in this area, including a package of actions to address international aggressive tax avoidance. Since 2006, and including measures proposed in EAP 2014, the Government has introduced more than 85 measures to improve the integrity of the tax system.

Together, measures in EAP 2014 to address international aggressive tax avoidance, improve tax integrity, strengthen tax compliance and enhance the fairness of the tax system will provide annual savings rising to $454 million in 2018–19, for a total of $1.8 billion from 2013–14 to 2018–19.

Creating Winning Conditions for Businesses to Grow and Compete
The Government has delivered tax reductions totaling more than $60 billion to job-creating businesses from 2008–09 through 2013–14. Among these tax relief measures are the reduction of the federal general corporate income tax rate to 15 per cent in 2012 from over 22 per cent in 2007, and an extension of the temporary accelerated capital cost allowance for manufacturing and processing machinery and equipment through 2015.

Canada’s tax competitiveness and overall business environment have been significantly improved, with the result that Canada now offers the lowest overall tax rate on new business investment in the G-7. The competitiveness of Canada’s business tax system is supported by third-party analysis. The KPMG publication Competitive Alternatives 2012 concluded that Canada’s total business tax costs are the lowest in the G-7 and more than 40 per cent lower than those in the United States.

With these and other measures, Economic Action Plan 2014 sets out a plan to return to budget balance.

Economic Action Plan 2014: Supporting Jobs and Growth

Economic Action Plan 2014 continues to support jobs and growth by connecting Canadians with available jobs, strengthening Canada’s labour market and investing in the workforce of tomorrow.

Connecting Canadians With Available Jobs
Since 2006, the Government has taken action to create jobs and economic growth by keeping taxes low for Canadians and Canadian businesses, equipping Canadians with the skills and training they need to succeed, supporting advanced research and innovation, reducing red tape and creating a new Building Canada infrastructure plan.

EAP 2014 continues to create an environment for Canadians to succeed by strengthening policies that align skills training and development with labour market needs.

Ensuring Training Reflects Labour Market Needs
Canada has had a remarkable job creation record in recent years. However, challenges remain as too many Canadians are still out of work or underutilized at a time when skills and labour shortages are re-emerging in certain sectors and regions.

To better align training with labour market needs, the Canada Job Grant will be launched in 2014. The Government of Canada will continue to work closely with provinces and territories toward the implementation of the Canada Job Grant and the renewal of the Labour Market Agreements. The Government will also renegotiate the $1.95-billion-per-year Labour Market Development Agreements to reorient training toward labour market demand.

Labour Market Agreements for Persons With Disabilities
As announced in EAP 2013, the Government will provide $222 million annually, matched by the provinces and territories, over the next four years, through a new generation of Labour Market Agreements for Persons with Disabilities. The new agreements will engage employers and disability community organizations to better meet the needs of persons with disabilities and employers. Two complementary initiatives supported through EAP 2014 are an investment of $15 million over three years to connect persons with developmental disabilities with jobs through the Ready, Willing & Able initiative of the Canadian Association for Community Living, and an investment of $11.4 million over four years to support the expansion of vocational training programs for persons with Autism Spectrum Disorders.

Training the Workforce of Tomorrow
Providing students with the right skills is essential to further Canada’s economic prospects. EAP 2014 supports the training and employment of Canada’s next generation by helping them get the skills and experience they need to get quality jobs with:

* New measures for apprentices that include the Canada Apprentice Loan, providing apprentices registered in Red Seal trades with access to over $100 million in interest-free loans each year, and the Flexibility and Innovation in Apprenticeship Technical Training pilot project, which will expand the use of innovative approaches for apprenticeship technical training.

* The elimination of the value of student-owned vehicles from the Canada Student Loans Program assessment process, which will benefit more than 19,000 student loan borrowers and better reflect the needs of students who commute or work while studying.

* Dedicating $40 million towards supporting up to 3,000 full-time internships for post-secondary graduates in high-demand fields.

* $36 million over four years to renew the Computers for Schools Program, providing students and interns with better access to information and communications technology equipment and skills training.

Reforming First Nations K-12 Education
The Government will work with its partners so that young First Nations people will have access to education systems on reserves comparable to provincial and territorial school systems. EAP 2014 confirms core funding of $1.25 billion from 2016–17 to 2018–19 in support of the First Nations Control of First Nations Education Act, and creates a new Enhanced Education Fund that will provide funding of $160 million over four years starting in 2015–16.  New funding to build and renovate schools is also confirmed, with $500 million over seven years beginning in 2015–16 for a new Education Infrastructure Fund.

Supporting Entrepreneurs Through Intensive Mentoring
In the Fall of 2013, the Government launched the Canada Accelerator and Incubator Program (CAIP) as part of the Venture Capital Action Plan. To increase the impact of CAIP in helping entrepreneurs to create new companies and realize the potential of their ideas, EAP 2014 will provide the program with an additional $40 million over four years, starting in 2015–16, increasing its total funding to $100 million. The funding will be used by recipient organizations to provide entrepreneurs with intensive mentoring and other resources to develop their business.

Targeted Initiative for Older Workers
EAP 2014 will renew the Targeted Initiative for Older Workers program for a three-year period, representing a federal investment of $75 million. Eligibility for the Initiative will also be expanded to communities experiencing unfulfilled employer demand and/or skills mismatches, so that communities with tighter labour markets can participate in the Initiative if they have vacant jobs that unemployed older workers could fill.

Enhanced Job Matching Service and Modernized National Job Bank
EAP 2014 will invest $11.8 million over two years and $3.3 million per year on an ongoing basis to launch an enhanced Job Matching Service. It will ensure Canadians are given the first chance at available jobs that match their skills in their local area.

Fostering job creation, innovation and trade
Given the ongoing uncertain global economic environment, it is important for the Government to continue to pursue the objectives that have underpinned the EAP since its inception. To this end, the Government has announced and implemented a number of targeted, affordable measures that support advanced research and innovation, reduce red tape and help Canadian businesses become more competitive here and around the world.

EAP 2014 builds on this foundation by investing in initiatives that will:

* Create the new Canada First Research Excellence Fund with $1.5 billion in new funding over the next decade to help Canadian post-secondary institutions excel globally in research areas that create long-term economic advantages for Canada.

* Provide an additional $500 million over two years to the Automotive Innovation Fund, to support significant new strategic research and development projects and long-term investments in the Canadian automotive sector. 

* Continue to reduce the tax compliance and regulatory burden for small and medium-sized businesses and other tax filers.
With these and other measures, Economic Action Plan 2014 continues to support jobs and growth.