For the majority of taxpayers in Prince George-Peace River, last week’s federal budget “got it right”… at the right time.
While it’s an opinion shared by many Canadians, responsible management of the nation’s finances has always been one of the very highest priorities among residents in our region. The need to ‘get a grip’ on the national debt is one of the reasons I entered politics.
Yet, the unprecedented global economic downturn that began in 2008 demanded equally unprecedented, urgent action. And in last year’s federal budget, our Conservative Government launched the Economic Action Plan, a two-year plan to stimulate our economy, protect Canadians hit hardest by the global recession and invest in our future growth.
Over the past year, we implemented the first phase of this stimulus plan, on schedule, as promised. That plan has helped protect existing jobs and create new jobs. It is stimulating economic growth now, while building the infrastructure Canada needs for long-term economic growth.
In the second phase of our Economic Action Plan we will invest almost $20 billion
this year to stimulate economy activity, create and protect jobs, and solidify the
economic recovery. We will complete thousands of stimulus projects, putting Canadians to work building roads, bridges, water and sewer systems across the country. We will continue to reduce taxes on businesses to encourage private sector investment and job creation. We will continue to invest in workers, training and youth employment.
Locally, forestry workers welcomed the Budget’s extension of current or recently-expired Worksharing Agreements by 26 weeks. Our area’s communities will benefit from an additional $14.7-million per year for Western Economic Diversification and $11-million per year for the Community Futures.
Single parent families will benefit from changes to Universal Child Care Benefit. The New Horizons for Seniors Program will receive $10-million over two years.
BUT…we know that the other extraordinary federal spending demanded by the recession cannot continue indefinitely. That’s why Budget 2010 includes a very detailed deficit-fighting three-point plan to return to the balanced budgets I know that my constituents and most Canadians want.
First, we will end stimulus spending as planned with the Economic Action Plan’s temporary measures winding down by March 31, 2011.
Second, we will restrain spending through targeted measures, such as freezing the salaries of the Prime Minister, Ministers, MPs and Senators and the budgets of Ministers’ offices. We will also freeze department’s operating budgets – the money government spends on wages and administration.
And third, we will undertake a comprehensive review of government administrative functions and overhead costs. Overall, this plan will cut the deficit nearly in half in just two years, and cut it by two-thirds in three years.
We will NOT raise taxes and we will NOT cut spending on essential public services such as health care, post-secondary education and other social services. Total federal transfers to British Columbia will hit $6.3-billion in 2010-11. That’s $1.3-million more than the old Liberal Government transferred to BC during their last year in office.
And there’s more good to this budget …the Liberals will allow it to pass, sparing election-weary Canadians another trip to the polls!