MP Report by Jay Hill, M.P.
“A Made-for-Northern BC Economic Action Plan”
Roads, bridges, community projects and colleges. Enhanced Employment Insurance (EI) and training. Further tax cuts. More access to financing. Help for towns hardest hit by the global economic downturn. Incentives for housing and construction.
That’s what YOU asked for as our Conservative Government consulted with Canadians. And that’s exactly what’s in Budget 2009, our economic action plan to recover and emerge even stronger from the global recession.
Our government’s prudent steps in the past have sheltered Canada from a full-on blast from this global economic tsunami. However, now is the right time to launch temporary, targeted stimulus measures to jumpstart the economy and get people back to work.
Central to this plan is over $7-billion in new money for roads, bridges, drinking water, sewers, recreational facilities and other vital infrastructure, creating thousands of new jobs in the construction sector and the industries and businesses that support it.
Prince George-Peace River municipalities will directly benefit from an additional $500-million for the Communities Component of the Building Canada Fund, which funds smaller communities. Municipalities that don’t have cash for their share of these federal-provincial-municipal cost-shared projects, will have access to a new $2-billion federal program offering them direct, low-cost loans.
For communities and workers already hit hard by the global economic crisis, a new $1-billion Community Adjustment Fund will help our forest communities restructure and diversify their economies. Plus, $170-million is allocated to help forest companies develop new products and pursue new opportunities in the international marketplace.
In a measure we advocated in concert with our local forest sector, the EI Work Sharing program is being extended by 14 weeks to help avoid more layoffs while the industry recovers. Regular EI benefits will also be extended by an extra five weeks.
There is an additional $1-billion for EI training programs, plus another $500-million in training for older workers and $500-million in training specifically for workers who’ve spent years working in one industry, such as long time mill workers. The self-employed, who do not qualify for EI, such as forest contractors, can now access $500-million in EI-financed training.
One item that arose directly from Finance Minister Jim Flaherty’s meeting with Prince George stakeholders, is a $2-billion program to fund maintenance and repair projects at post-secondary institutions, including the College of New Caledonia.
Small businesses with a sound business plan should find it easier to access financing from the Business Development Bank and the Export Development Corporation thanks to an infusion of $5-billion.
The well-received new home renovation tax credit of up to $1,350 expires on February 1, 2010 so that it will spur spending on construction jobs now.
Permanent tax relief, including an increase in the basic personal exemption and the income threshold for the first two tax brackets, means you keep more of your hard-earned money to spend as you see fit. Seniors on fixed incomes will benefit from our Government’s second $1000-increase to the Age credit since coming to office.
This plan will stimulate the economy, protect jobs today and create jobs tomorrow. If you want to learn more about what Budget 2009 means for you, your family and your community, go to www.fin.gc.ca