Ottawa Journal (March 16 – March 20, 2021)
On March 10, Prime Minister Harper visited Brampton, to provide Canadians with an advanced update on the fast tracking of our Government’s Economic Action Plan. In the 42 days following the introduction of the Plan on January 27th, our Government has responded to the current global recession with unprecedented urgency, to ensure that it helps Canadians as quickly as possible. During his time in Brampton, our Prime Minister outlined what we’ve done to date and how Canadians will benefit from the investments we’ve made.
In his address, Prime Minister Harper outlined the extraordinary steps our Government has taken to ensure the stimulus from the Plan begins to flow as quickly as possible. Firstly, our Government tabled the Budget well ahead of normal practice. Secondly, we’ve had great success in cutting red tape with the Cabinet and Treasury Board approvals processes being cut by up to two to six months each. Currently, we are running six to twelve months ahead of the usual budget timetable, meaning that by April 1st, we will be able to start pumping $20 billion directly into the economy, representing close to 90 per cent of the stimulus for 2009-2010 under the Plan.
Our Government understands that the current recession has been extremely difficult for families, workers, and businesses. The Action Plan focuses on five key elements, totalling roughly $40 billion dollars in additional stimulus over the next two years. Firstly, it provides support for workers and taxpayers, such as: enhanced benefits for unemployed workers by April 1st, freezing Employment Insurance premiums, as well as additional worker training funds being made available to provinces and territories. Secondly, it includes support for the housing sector by offering a tax credit for first-time homebuyers to assist with closing costs, funds to assist the provinces with renovations to social housing, and a home renovation tax credit that Canadian homeowners may take advantage of immediately. Thirdly, the Plan provides investment in infrastructure to create jobs. More money has been set aside for infrastructure projects and we are further accelerating the Building Canada plan and adding time-limited programs to deal with the global recession. An initial request for proposals for the Budget’s $4 billion infrastructure stimulus fund will be issued this spring. Fourthly, the Plan includes support for businesses and communities, by providing additional targeted measures to help those in particularly hard-hit industries and communities. Lastly, the Plan provides improved access to financing. This means that a large number of important measures to improve the availability of credit in the Canadian economy have also been included.
We are taking a very balanced approach with our initiatives, so that while we are doing our best to assist Canadians and businesses that have been hardest hit by the current recession, we won’t compromise our country’s financial position. We will be running a deficit over the next two years; however, our deficits will be temporary because our spending is time-limited (by 2010 when most indicators suggest we will begin to emerge from this recession).
Our Prime Minister and our Government are on track with Canada’s Economic Action Plan. We are moving forward quickly, to deliver real results for all Canadians. We have and will continue to execute our stimulus package that serves Canada for today and tomorrow. We know Canada will rise to the challenge of these times and will emerge from this global recession stronger than ever before!