In Touch with MP Earl Dreeshen November 4, 2013

November 04, 2013

October has been an extremely interesting for both our Government and for myself as a Parliamentarian. We have seen a new Throne Speech, the second Economic Action Plan Budget Bill for 2013 and the announcement of the Canada European Trade Agreement. These are all extremely important parts of our the mandate given to us by Canadian voters in 2011. I have more details on the initiatives mentioned above, but first want to provide an update on an exciting opportunity I recently had.

State Visit to China and Mongolia

At the request of the Right Honourable Stephen Harper, Prime Minister of Canada, Their Excellencies the Right Honourable David Johnston, Governor General of Canada, and Mrs. Sharon Johnston conducted State visits to the People’s Republic of China and to Mongolia. Their Excellencies were accompanied by Members of Parliament, including myself, and prominent Canadian-Chinese business leaders.

The mission focused on developing partnerships in commerce, innovation, and education. To see the enthusiasm shown by our hosts regarding the use of Canadian curriculum at primary, secondary, post-secondary and graduate levels was a sense of pride for me having been an educator for 34 years.

In addition to visits to Chinese Universities, our delegation also met with Chinese and Mongolian politicians. Our numerous roundtable discussions allowed us to expand and strengthen our economic, cultural, and knowledge-based collaboration. Central Alberta businesses, as well as organizations such as Access Prosperity and Alberta’s excellent post-secondary institutions continue benefit from increased cooperation with China.

Throne Speech (more details can be found at http://www.speech.gc.ca/eng)

Before we left for Asia, I was honoured to attend the Speech from the Throne delivered by Governor General David Johnston. The Throne Speech laid out our Government’s priorities for this session of Parliament, where our Conservative Government will build on our record, supporting economic growth and jobs for Canadians. We will take new steps to support and protect Canadian families. And we will always put Canada first.

To help promote jobs and opportunity, we will continue to implement our Economic Action Plan. We will spend responsibly and balance the budget in 2015. We will introduce legislation requiring balanced budgets during normal economic times. We’ll continue to reform the Temporary Foreign Workers program to ensure that Canadians always have the first chance at available jobs.

To support Canadian families, we will put consumers first and work to increase choice. Specifically, we will require unbundling of television and satellite subscriptions, so Canadian families can choose which channels they want to pay for. We’ll also address high roaming costs on cellphone bills, which are currently among the highest in Canada and our Conservative Government will continue to work to combat geographic price discrimination, to help bring prices in Canada in line with those in the United States.

We will work to better protect Canadians families, putting victims first and introducing a comprehensive Victims Bill of Rights. We will also introduce legislation to combat cyberbullying, to help protect our children from a threat that can reach into their homes.

In addition, our Government is committed to putting Canada first. We will protect both Canadians and Canadian sovereignty. This includes ensuring our military has the tools it needs. We will also look to our country’s 150th anniversary, a chance to celebrate our heritage and our values of democracy, respect for human rights, and the rule of law.

Economic Action Plan Act No. 2

On October 22, 2013, the Honourable Jim Flaherty, Minister of Finance, introduced the Economic Action Plan 2013 Act, No. 2. The Act implements key measures from Economic Action Plan 2013, as well as certain previously announced tax measures, to help create jobs, stimulate economic growth and secure Canada’s long-term prosperity. Details and text of the full bill can be found at parl.gc.ca.

Measures in the Economic Action Plan 2013 Act, No. 2 include:

  • Extending and expanding the Hiring Credit for Small Business, which will benefit an estimated 560,000 employers.
  • Increasing and indexing the Lifetime Capital Gains Exemption, to make investing in small business more rewarding.
  • Freezing Employment Insurance premium rates for three years, leaving $660 million in the pockets of job creators and workers in 2014 alone.
  • Introducing new administrative monetary penalties and criminal offences to deter the use of electronic suppression of sales software designed to falsify records for the purpose of tax evasion.
  • Closing tax loopholes relating to character conversion transactions, synthetic dispositions, leveraged life insurance arrangements and other schemes to ensure that everyone pays their fair share.
  • Modernizing the Canada Student Loans Program by moving to electronic service delivery.
  • Improving the efficiency of the Temporary Foreign Worker Program by expanding electronic service delivery.

Comprehensive Economic Trade Agreement with the European Union

On Friday October 18, 2013, Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced that our Conservative Government has reached an agreement-in-principle with the European Union. Once ratified, the Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic Trade Agreement will be the biggest trade deal Canada has ever made.

This historic trade will boost Canada’s economy by $12 billion annually – equivalent to 80,000 new jobs or increasing the average Canadian household’s income by $1,000. Today, one in five jobs in Canada are already linked to trade. This agreement will increase our trade relations and provide Canada free-trade access to over half of the entire global marketplace. This historic agreement will create thousands of jobs for Canadians and give Canadian businesses access to a half-billion new customers.

The agreement stands to benefit Canadian families and businesses alike. Canadian families will have greater access to European goods at a lower cost, as 98% of all tariffs, both ways, will be removed. Canadian businesses will have access to half a billion affluent customers – the world’s single largest market. With this agreement, the number of countries with which Canada has a free trade agreement will triple from 14 to 42.

What’s more, our Government is also keeping the three pillars of Canada’s supply management system intact. This will help ensure Canadian industries are protected, while still gaining access to the world’s largest market.

For more information on CETA and its benefits please visit the website at http://www.actionplan.gc.ca/en/content/ceta-aecg/canada-eu-trade-agreement

The next few months will be spent debating these recent developments along with several more Bills yet to be tabled. I am proud to be a part of a government that has the jobs growth and the economy at the forefront and look forward to continuing to support Central Alberta and all Canadians.

Until next time

Earl Dreeshen,

MP Red Deer