2011: A Year in Review
David Tilson, MP
In 2011, we saw many positive changes across Canada. Our Government received a strong mandate from Canadians from coast to coast on May 2nd to continue moving forward with Canada’s Economic Action Plan. While a great deal was achieved by our Government before the spring election, our majority Government quickly returned to Parliament and began to deliver on many of its promises before 2011 came to a close. The list of delivered promises is impressive and one that I know we will build on throughout 2012.
The economy remained the priority for our Government throughout 2011 and our record demonstrates our commitment to ensuring that Canada remained strong despite the global economic uncertainty still being experienced around the world. Since July 2009, Canada has created nearly 600,000 new jobs. Our Economic Action Plan has guided Canada through the worst recession since the 1930s. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Economic Development (OECD) have forecasted that Canada’s economy will remain among the strongest in the G-7 in 2012. The World Economic Forum, for the fourth consecutive year, also ranked Canada’s banks as the soundest in the world.
We also took action to help protect and create Canadian jobs by creating the Temporary Hiring Credit for Small Business. We extended the work-sharing program so companies can avoid layoffs by offering Employment Insurance (EI) benefits to workers willing to work a reduced work week, while their company recovers. Our Government extended the Targeted Initiative for Older Workers and extended the accelerated capital cost allowance treatments to support investments in manufacturing.
Our Government took action to protect Canada’s Fiscal advantage by continuing our plan to return to balanced budgets in the medium term and we worked towards identifying savings through strategic reviews as part of our Deficit Reduction Action Plan.
Economic growth was another focus for our Government throughout 2011. We promoted this type of growth by expanding international trade through talks with approximately 50 countries. We ensured predictable infrastructure funding for municipalities through the Gas Tax Fund, while also supporting links between business and colleges, to improve commercialization of new technologies. Our Government also implemented a new strategy to strengthen Canada’s Tourism Advantage and provided permanent support for BizPal, to reduce red tape and to support small business.
Since first forming Government in 2006, our Government has always strived to support families and communities. In 2011, we continued to do this by keeping taxes low (since 2006, we have delivered over 120 tax cuts, saving the average family of four more than $3,100 a year). We enhanced the Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS) for seniors and introduced Pooled Registered Pension Plans (PRPPs) to help Canadians prepare for retirement. In addition, our Government established: the Volunteer Firefighter’s Tax Credit; the Children’s Arts Tax Credit; created the Family Caregiver Tax Credit; and extended the ecoENERGY Retrofit-Homes program.
Our Government continued to deliver on its promise of keeping Canadian streets and communities safe by standing up for victims of crime. We did this by enshrining, in law, their right to be kept informed and to be heard on the status of offenders. We passed legislation to combat white collar crime, instituting mandatory minimum penalties and a requirement that aggravating factors be taken into account during sentencing. Furthermore, we passed ‘Mega-trials’ legislation to help ensure complex cases involving activities such as drug trafficking, white collar crime, terrorism, or organized crime can be heard more swiftly and effectively. Our Government also promised to scrap the wasteful and ineffective Long-Gun Registry and in 2011 we took steps to end it once and for all.
During 2011, our Government took important steps to promote the health of Canadians by attracting doctors and nurses to underserved rural and remote communities by forgiving a portion of their Canada Student Loans. We also increased labour mobility for nurses, to allow them to practice their profession anywhere in Canada, wherever opportunities or labour shortages may exist.
Our Government worked to protect a clean environment in 2011 by supporting the development of new clean technology projects through Sustainable Development Technology Canada. Our Government also provided a Loan Guarantee for Lower Churchill River Clean Energy Projects, which will help reduce up to 4.5 megatonnes of carbon dioxide emissions in Canada and generate up to $3.5 billion in economic benefits.
We also took action on democratic reform in 2011. We did this by proposing to reform the Senate. We also passed the Fair Representation Act, to ensure every province moves towards representation-by-population in the House of Commons, as well as delivering the Political Loans Accountability Act.
This is only a short list of the many accomplishments and ultimately promises delivered to Canadians by our Government during 2011. We achieved a great deal; however, we also recognize there is still much more work to be done in 2012. Going forward, the economy remains fragile and we will, therefore, stay the course and implement the Next Phase of Canada’s Economic Action Plan – our low-tax plan for jobs and growth. Canadians have much to be optimistic about for 2012 and we will continue to deliver real results, as we’ve always done.