In Touch with MP Earl Dreeshen – February 25, 2014
I would like to start this month’s update by congratulating the Canadian Olympic athletes. The Sochi games saw incredible success for Canadians across a variety of disciplines. I know I am not alone when I feel a certain pride after seeing the success our team had. Congratulations and thank you for your inspiration.
February was a very ambitious month for our Government in Ottawa. Of course, the highlight was seeing Economic Action Plan 2014 released much earlier than usual; however, there were several other key programs announced this past month as well.
Economic Action Plan 2014
I will start with Economic Action Plan 2014, which confirms that we are on track to return to balanced budgets in 2015, with new measures that will create jobs and opportunities in an uncertain global economy. I encourage you to visit actionplan.gc.ca for more detailed information; however I wanted to include some of the highlights below, including:
- Launching the Canada Job Grant: so that Canadians can get the skills training they need to get in-demand jobs.
- Creating the Canada Apprentice Loan: which will provide apprentices in Red Seal trades access to over $100 million in interest-free loans each year.
- Launching a Job Matching Service: this new service will automatically match Canadians looking for work with employers looking to hire them.
- Increasing Paid Internships for Young Canadians: investing $55 million to create paid internships for recent graduates in small and medium-sized businesses and in high-demand fields.
- Helping Older Workers Get Back to Work: investing $75 million in the Targeted Initiative for Older Workers to support older workers who want to participate in the job market.
- Cutting Red Tape for Small Business: cutting 800,000 payroll remittances for 50,000 small businesses.
- Making Landmark Investments in Research & Innovation: $1.5 billion over the next decade for research at universities through the Canada First Research Excellence Fund.
- Conserving Canada’s Natural Heritage: investing in Canada’s national parks and historic canals, conserving recreational fisheries, expanding tax relief for the environmental conservation of lands, encouraging clean energy generation with tax relief to new green technologies, and more.
- Supporting Families: enhancing tax relief for families adopting a child, expanding tax relief for health-related services, capping wholesale wireless rates to make service more affordable, cracking down on cross-border price discrimination, and more.
- Strengthening Communities: improving broadband in rural and remote communities, establishing a $200 million National Disaster Mitigation Program to help communities prepare for natural disasters, introducing a Search and Rescue Volunteers Tax Credit, and more.
- Standing Up for Victims of Crime: implementing the Victim’s Bill of Rights and proving funding for a DNA-based Missing Persons Index.
- And much more.
The New Building Canada Plan
This month, details were announced regarding the $53B New Building Canada Plan. This plan is the largest, long-term federal infrastructure plan in Canadian history, providing stable funding for a 10 year period.
As part of the $53B, $14 billion New Building Canada Fund, which will have $10 billion for provinces and territories (with $1 billion directed to small communities under 100,000) and $4 billion for projects of national significance. In addition, over $32B is specifically available for municipalities through the permanent and indexed Gas Tax Fund and the incremental Goods and Services Tax Rebate for municipalities. Finally, $1.25B in new funding is available through the P3 Canada Fund.
First Nations Education Act
On February 7, 2014, Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced an historic agreement between the Government of Canada and the Assembly of First Nations to reform the First Nations K-12 education system through the First Nations Control of First Nations Education Act. The legislation will be tabled in Parliament in the coming months.
At its core the legislation will provide First Nation students on-reserve across Canada with the education standards, supports, and opportunities that most Canadians take for granted. Acknowledging that First Nations are best placed to control First Nations education, the legislation will recognize the responsibility and accountability of First Nations to administer their education system on-reserve under the Act. At the same time, the legislation will establish a stable and predictable statutory funding regime that accounts for language and culture programming.
This agreement has been reached following an extensive and unprecedented consultation and discussion period with First Nation leaders, parents, educators and others. Canada will continue to work with First Nations to finalize the First Nations Control of First Nations Education Act in line with today’s announcement, and develop the Act’s regulations in conjunction with First Nations.
Bill C-444, An Act to Amend the Criminal Code (Personation of a Peace Officer or Other Officer)
My Private Members Bill has taken another positive stride this month. On February 11, 2014, it passed second reading in the Senate with unanimous support and was sent to the Senate Standing Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs. I look forward to presenting at the Senate Committee and continue to hope for swift passage of a piece of legislation that I feel is very important in protecting our families and the integrity of our public safety.
As I said, it was a very ambitious month in Ottawa. In addition to the developments I mentioned above, we also saw the introduction several very important bills that we will be debating this spring. More information on these bills can be found at parl.gc.ca, but I did want to mention them here. Those include:
- The Fair Elections Act
- The Strengthening Canadian Citizenship Act
- The Red Tape Reduction Act
- The Energy Safety and Security Act
I look forward to all the discussion and debates that will take place in this session of Parliament. As always, I encourage all constituents to continue letting myself and my office know of any concerns or questions with our Government and the legislation in the House of Commons. I would like to thank you all for your continued support and I look forward to continuing to serve you in Ottawa.
Until next time
MP Red Deer