“Boosting Confidence in Our Justice System, Parliament and the Economy”
It has been far from a “slow summer” in terms of news from Ottawa. New initiatives and programs to benefit Canadians and enhance confidence in our justice and parliamentary systems, among others, continue to be rolled out by my Cabinet colleagues.
Justice Minister Rob Nicholson announced this week new regulations that will strengthen the ability of law enforcement agencies to fight organized crime. It is estimated that there are 750 organized crime groups operating across Canada and, through new legislation and regulations, our Conservative Government is working to close the legal loopholes these organizations use to escape prosecution.
As it currently stands, there are a number of criminal acts perpetrated by organized crime groups that are not legally considered “serious offences” under the Criminal Code. Minister Nicholson has acted to ensure that ‘signature’ activities by organized crime, such as large-scale illegal gambling, specific prostitution and drug-related crimes are clearly identified as “serious crimes”. Criminal gangs depend heavily on the revenue they receive from these crimes to fund their vast and violent criminal operations.
Offenders convicted of these specific organized crime offences must serve their sentences consecutively to any other punishment imposed. Supported by all provincial and territorial justice ministers, this new action will give police and prosecutors stronger tools to target organized crime activity, and help keep more dangerous criminals behind bars.
And later this week, my colleague, Treasury Board President Stockwell Day, announced our Government is taking further action to increase transparency and accountability of Canada’s Parliament by proposing to expand the scope of the Lobbying Act to ensure that MPs, Senators and exempt staff in the offices of the Leaders of the Opposition in the House and Senate are subject to the same requirements already placed on ministers, their exempt staff and senior public servants.
By broadening the definition of designated public office holders covered under the Lobbying Act, we are continuing our Government’s action to ensure Parliament is accountable to Canadians and not to special interest groups.
Minister Day, as Minister responsible for British Columbia, also announced the launch of the $100-million Investments in Forest Industry Transformation (IFIT) program in Vancouver and made a call for proposals that could receive IFIT funding.
IFIT was introduced in Canada’s Jobs and Growth Budget 2010 and is designed to demonstrate and deploy new and advanced technologies in the forest sector through investments in innovative processes. The goal is to encourage the development of a wider range of technologies that can help secure a more prosperous future for Canada’s forest industry and the communities, like many in Prince George-Peace River, that depend upon it.
And on a final note, Statistics Canada reported yet another increase in Canada’s GDP. This represents economic growth in ten of the past twelve months.
Our Conservative Government will continue to implement our Economic Action Plan to protect incomes, create jobs, ease credit markets, and help workers and communities get back on their feet while returning to balanced budgets and keeping a lid on overall government spending.
For the latest economic news go to www.actionplan.gc.ca.