This week I would like to clear up one of the major misconceptions surrounding our Conservative Government’s decision to prorogue Parliament until March 3rd.
Almost a year ago, our Government introduced Canada’s Economic Action Plan, it included one of the most comprehensive stimulus packages in the industrialized world. Today, all of the stimulus and budget measures have been adopted and implemented.
While the continued delivery of our Economic Action Plan remains a top priority, the fact is that the economic landscape has changed in the last twelve months. Now is the time to consult with Canadians, recalibrate our agenda and set new priorities.
That was the purpose of prorogation – a purpose entirely consistent with the past practice of all federal governments, having been used 104 times before. This does not mean that MPs get an extended Christmas vacation or that the business of governing has come to a sudden halt. In fact, nothing could be further from the truth.
The House of Commons is but one element of running a Government and representing constituents. Regardless of what the Opposition says, the business of governing continues. As Government House Leader, I will be working tirelessly with my Cabinet colleagues in preparation for the re-opening of Parliament.
Cabinet and Treasury Board meetings are still being held on a regular basis. We are preparing a comprehensive legislative agenda that reflects the economic changes we are witnessing. And we are ensuring that federal funding continues to flow to the organizations and individuals who need it.
I will also be spending this time meeting with stakeholders and business representatives to discuss the priorities they envision for the months and years ahead. In fact, I spent this past weekend meeting with provincial officials, power producers, mining industry representatives, and various stakeholders to discuss development in British Columbia.
As always, the doors to my constituency offices in Fort St. John and Prince George are open, providing the same level of service you have come to know and expect. My staff is always more than willing to help in any way they can with passport applications, ecoENERGY inquiries, and questions about Employment Insurance, Canada Pension Plan, and Immigration, just to name a few.
I am looking forward to having the opportunity to spend more time in the riding where I will be able to meet face to face with more of my constituents, whether through the day-to-day operations at the constituency office or through my travels in the riding. This will continue to include meeting with local mayors, councillors, and community leaders to identify key priorities for our region.
On another note, we have all watched in shock as the devastating images of Haiti have filled our television and newspapers over the past week. Our thoughts and prayers are with the Haitian people as they pick up the pieces that the earthquake has left behind.
For those of you who wish to help, our Government has created the Haiti Earthquake Relief Fund and will match individual donations to a registered Canadian charitable organization up to a total of $50 million.
More information can be found at www.cida.gc.ca.