MP Report by Jay Hill, M.P.
“Speed of Conservative’s Economic Injection Unprecedented”
The continued focus of our Conservative Government’s attention is swift, concrete action to stimulate our economy and get Canadian families and businesses back onto secure financing footing as soon as possible. This week, Finance Minister Jim Flaherty tabled his first official report to Canadians on the progress of Canada’s Economic Action Plan.
In the 42 days since we tabled that plan in Budget 2009, extraordinary, unprecedented progress has been realized in delivering that stimulus. We are six to twelve months ahead of the usual budget timetable.
In past years, the numerous and lengthy steps required to implement budget measures under Canada’s parliamentary system were not welcome delays, but in the face of today’s economic challenges, they’re a recipe for disaster.
And so, our government has been working diligently to cut red tape where possible without compromising parliamentary oversight and public scrutiny.
Cabinet and Treasury Board approval processes have been cut by up to six months. A new special fund was created to enable Treasury Board Ministers (including me) to allocate up to $3-billion to departments immediately and get it to the people who need it as soon as possible.
These funds can only be allocated as “bridge” funding until money is available through regular budgetary processes. All requirements for accountability and reporting must be met so that the public can scrutinize all spending.
What’s important now is that we move quickly to help Canadian families, communities, and businesses weather the current economic storm. Fortunately, Canada was ahead of the curve on stimulus.
We anticipated the prospect of a weaker global economy in 2007, putting in place a long-term plan that included broad-based tax reductions, intensive debt reduction and investment in core infrastructure. In the end, Canada was the last advanced nation to fall into recession amidst a downturn that proved to be far more severe than anyone had predicted.
Our Government is continuing with our aggressive steps to ensure that Canada emerges from this global recession faster than other nations and stronger than ever.
By April 1st we will be able to pump $20-billion directly into the economy, representing close to 90 percent of the stimulus for 2009-10. And for those Canadians hardest hit, like those in the forest sector, enhanced Employment Insurance benefits, including an extra five weeks of regular benefits and new and extended work-sharing agreements, will be available by April 1st. Fortunately for forest companies in our region, this also applies to existing work-sharing agreements and those that expired in 2008.
Additional funding for training for unemployed Canadians will be available to the provinces by April, as will enhanced support for older workers in hard hit communities.
The Prime Minister has warned Liberals in the Senate against delaying final passage of the budget. “Too many jobs, too many families’ mortgage payments and too many seniors’ income security are at stake,“ he stressed.
You can keep tabs on the progress of the economic action plan on a new website our Conservative Government launched this week. www.ActionPlan.gc.ca will be updated regularly and will ensure that you can ultimately hold government and parliamentarians accountable.