Submitted by MP Jay Hill
Amidst an economy that is starting to turn the corner with 135,000 net new Canadian jobs since July 2009, this week’s Speech from the Throne reaffirmed that our Conservative Government will continue to protect incomes, create jobs, ease credit markets, and help workers and communities get back on their feet.
Yet we have set the groundwork to return to fiscal balance by winding down stimulus spending as economic activity rebounds and by restraining federal program spending while protecting growth in transfers that directly benefit Canada, such as pensions, health care and education.
Here are some highlights:
Our Conservative Government will lead by example. We will introduce legislation to freeze salaries of the Prime Minister, Ministers, Members of Parliament and Senators and to freeze the overall budgets of ministers’ offices and call on MPs and Senators to do the same. We will also freeze the operating budgets for federal departments, the amount spent on administration and overhead.
Our efforts towards job creation and job protection will continue. We will introduce additional measures to help young Canadians enter today’s tough job market. We will invest in skills and education, including enhanced support for apprenticeships, strengthened First Nations education and expanded opportunities for top graduates to commercialize their ideas.
We will keep taxes low and competitive, open markets to Canadian goods and services, strengthen laws governing intellectual property and copyright and launch a digital economy strategy to drive new technology.
We will take further steps to fight climate change by leading the world in clean electricity generation and provide funding to help developing economies reduce their emissions and adapt to climate change.
In terms of natural resource opportunities, a priority for our region, our Government has committed to untangling the daunting maze of regulations that needlessly complicates projects approval, replacing it with simple, clearer processes that offer improved environmental protection and greater certainty to industry. And we will partner with the forest industry to enter new markets and deploy new technologies.
We will take steps to support a competitive livestock industry, pursue market access for agricultural products and ensure freedom of choice for which western barley farmers overwhelmingly voted.
You can also look for us to strengthen the Universal Child Care Benefit (UCCB) for sole-support, single parents families.
Our commitment to crime and justice reform will continue despite ongoing efforts by the opposition parties to block our justice agenda.
We will also give families of murder victims access to special benefits under Employment Insurance and give employees of federally-regulated industries the right to unpaid leave if they or members of their families are victimized by crime.
And we’ll change unfair rules restricting access to benefits under EI for military families who have paid into the system for years
For those Canadians who built our nation, we will strengthen Canada’s retirement income system and support legislation establishing Seniors Day.
Due to printing deadlines, I am writing this edition of MP Report the day before Finance Minister Jim Flaherty is set to table Budget 2010. You can expect specifics on many of these initiatives above to be outlined in the budget.