It is with a heavy heart that I write to commemorate Canada’s former Finance Minister and a dear friend, Jim Flaherty.
I was in the House when news of Jim’s passing reached us. It was a shock to everyone. Upon returning home the next day I was informed that two of my former classmates had also been taken from us. Three friends within five days! I’ve had the opportunity to express condolences to family members and I wish them strength in this difficult time.
I attended the State Funeral for Jim Flaherty at St. James Cathedral in Toronto April 16th. It was a touching ceremony that focused on Jim’s commitment and sacrifice to Canada while celebrating his dedication to our great country.
The contributions from Jim went far beyond our national borders as he was truly one of the most respected Finance Ministers in the world. At the funeral Prime Minister Harper stated that appointing Jim as Finance Minister in 2006 was the best political decision of his career.
The Prime Minister trusted Jim to guide this country through the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression. It was through his discipline that among G-7 countries Canada is universally known to be in the most enviable position. It was heartwarming to hear such recognition from all quarters as political opponents and pundits put aside partisanship to recognize the true brilliance and passion of this great Canadian.
Jim was always mindful of those who were most vulnerable in our society and it showed in his creation of the Registered Disability Savings Plan which allowed money to be set aside for a person with a disability while accruing value tax-free. He was a champion for the disabled.
Perhaps the greatest tragedy in this loss is that the man who had given so much of his life to public service never got the chance to enjoy the next stage of his life. He looked forward to spending much deserved time with his family.
My thoughts and prayers are with Jim’s wife, Christine, and their young sons – John, Galen and Quinn. We lost a great Finance Minister, friend, husband, and father. But as Jim’s son stated in his eulogy, “lay your head back, close your eyes and relax, we can take it from here.”
Our government will continue down Jim’s path of fiscal prudence and do our best to continue with his legacy.
OTTAWA – Earl Dreeshen, Member of Parliament for Red Deer, is welcoming Economic Action Plan (EAP) 2014 as a budget focused on job creation, economic growth, and low taxes.
“EAP 2014 presents a clear plan to bring Canada back to balanced budgets by next year,” said MP Earl Dreeshen. “Our government has been clear that it will not raise taxes or reduce transfers to provinces in order to achieve a balanced budget,” he noted. “I am particularly pleased with our focus on increasing jobs, improving training and apprenticeship programs, and growing Canada’s economy.”
As a long-time educator, Dreeshen is extremely supportive of the measures targeted towards youth employment. “The Canada Apprentice Loan and Supporting Internships for Young Canadians Initiative will provide opportunities for Canada’s youth to gain the necessary skills and experience they need in order to participate in today’s economy,” he said. “These measures have the potential to open doors for hardworking Canadians.”
EAP 2014 will also continue to see a strong commitment to the agriculture sector. The new Livestock Price Insurance Program offers cattle and hog producers in Western Canada insurance against unanticipated price declines within a production cycle. This innovative, a four-year pilot program, is a unique and collaborative arrangement between the federal government and western provinces to enhance risk management options available to the livestock industry.
“Another agricultural benefit from EAP 2014 is a commitment to implement a strong plant breeder’s rights regime which will create a positive investment climate to develop new seed varieties in Canada, while ensuring a farmer’s privilege to save seed,” added Dreeshen.
Dreeshen's parliamentary activities also include extensive international work. He is a member of ParlAmericas representing Canada in international plenary and working group sessions with North, Central, and South American legislators. Dreeshen also recently participated as a delegate in Governor General David Johnston’s official state visits to China and Mongolia. He also spoke on Canada’s economic interests in trade, education, and agriculture at a 22-country Asia-Pacific parliamentary forum in January. Dreeshen says he enjoys promoting Central Alberta in strategic initiatives involving agriculture, commerce, energy, education, innovation, and prosperity. He notes, “EAP 2014 will see the government's ambitious international cooperation and trade agenda continue.”
In December 2013, Dreeshen held a pre-budget consultation roundtable meeting in Red Deer with a wide spectrum of local community and business stakeholders. “Measures to support local infrastructure and measures to strengthen retirement plans through the continuation of Tax Free Savings Accounts and Seniors Income Splitting were issues important to my constituents,” said Dreeshen. “I am pleased to see that their voices have been heard and included in this budget.”
“EAP 2014 confirms our Conservative Government’s strong support for the provinces,” said Dreeshen. “Alberta will continue to receive significant federal support. This long-term, predictable support helps ensure Alberta has the resources needed to provide essential public services including health care and post-secondary education.”
For more information on how Canada’s Economic Action Plan benefits Canadians, people are encouraged to visit www.budget.gc.ca.