A message to all interested candidates from the National Executive and the Leader
Today, Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced measures to protect jobs and support Canadian workers, particularly those in transition or in vulnerable sectors.
“Despite Canada’s relatively strong performance through this recession, the global economy is still fragile and too many Canadian workers are still looking for jobs,” Mr. Harper said. “Our plan will support workers and job-seekers in today’s job market, and will provide them with the immediate assistance they need.”
Prime Minister Harper outlined six separate initiatives under the Here for Workers plan:
- Extending for two years the Targeted Initiative for Older Workers program, which helps unemployed older workers in smaller communities affected by significant downsizing, closures or ongoing high unemployment.
- Extending the Work-Sharing Program for an additional 16 weeks to help avoid layoffs and protect local jobs during a temporary downturn.
- Expanding the Wage Earner Protection Program, introduced in 2008, to cover unpaid wages and vacation pay for employees who are negatively affected by a company’s unsuccessful attempt at restructuring.
- Extending two Employment Insurance pilot programs, Working While on Claim and Best 14 Weeks, to support seasonal workers in areas of high unemployment.
- Enhancing the Canada Student Loan Program to increase the income threshold for loans and grants to part-time students and reduce the in-study loan interest rate to zero, making it easier for individuals to study part-time while still working.
- Eliminating mandatory retirement for workers in the federally-regulated sector to give employees the option of continuing to work.
These measures are among the initiatives included in the federal budget tabled March 22. That low-tax plan for jobs and growth, the Next Phase of Canada’s Economic Action Plan, was opposed by Mr. Ignatieff and his Coalition partners, the NDP and Bloc Québécois.
“These initiatives will help workers access additional training, support their families during periods of unemployment and collect money they are entitled to if their employer goes bankrupt,” said Mr. Harper. “And eliminating mandatory retirement will give workers the flexibility they need to manage their working lives in ways that suit their individual circumstances.”
Mr. Harper noted that by choosing to force an unnecessary and opportunistic election while the world economy is still fragile, the Ignatieff-led Coalition with the NDP and Bloc Québécois have chosen their own political interests over those of Canadian workers. They have blocked the implementation of crucial measures designed to provide extra help to workers struggling to adjust and provide for their families.
“While Mr. Ignatieff muses philosophically about the ‘economy of tomorrow,’ our party has a concrete plan to protect jobs and support workers in dealing with the economic realities of today,” said Mr. Harper. “My focus is on helping workers and creating jobs for Canadians now.”
In response to the global economic recession, the Harper Government — through the Economic Action Plan — took strong action to protect and create jobs, support workers, and help Canadians who had lost their jobs find good, well-paying new positions. We:
- Helped keep Canadians working by enhancing the Work-Sharing program. Over the last two years, almost 280,000 Canadian jobs were protected as a result.
- Made major investments in skills upgrading and new opportunities for older workers, apprentices and youth.
- Helped create new jobs through the largest federal investment in infrastructure in more than 60 years, putting Canadians to work on more than 28,000 projects across the country.
- Encouraged businesses to keep hiring by freezing Employment Insurance (EI) premiums for two years.
And our measures have worked. Since July 2009, the Canadian economy has created more than 480,000 new jobs, more than were lost during the recession. Approximately 90 per cent of these are full-time jobs.
For the first time in more than 35 years, the unemployment rate in Canada is now substantially lower than in the United States.
However, unemployment in Canada, while lower than in other jurisdictions, is still higher than pre-recession levels, and too many Canadians are still looking for work. We need to keep protecting and creating jobs, supporting workers and laying the foundation for long-term prosperity and economic growth.
The global recovery remains fragile. In an interconnected world, difficulties arising from turmoil in the Middle East, the disaster in Japan, European debt, and the ability of struggling trading partners to buy our exports, can all put Canadian jobs at risk.
In this period of global economic uncertainty, Prime Minister Harper has focused on completing Canada’s economic recovery above all else.
The Ignatieff-led Coalition with the NDP and the Bloc Québécois has forced an unnecessary election to advance their personal political ambitions, despite the risks confronting Canada’s economic progress. In contrast, Prime Minister Stephen Harper is focused on a low-tax plan that, together with stable national leadership, will complete the economic recovery and put Canada on the path to sustained long-term growth.
In opposing the Budget tabled March 22 and forcing an election, the Ignatieff-led Coalition has denied significant new support for Canadian workers, families, seniors and veterans. And they stood against the Next Phase of Canada’s Economic Action Plan that promotes job creation, economic growth and the success of Canada’s industries.
Job creation remains the Harper Government’s top priority. A re-elected Conservative Government will continue to build upon our earlier initiatives to secure Canada’s economic recovery with our Here for Workers plan, consisting of targeted and temporary measures to support Canadian workers:
- Extending the Targeted Initiative for Older Workers (TIOW) program for two years
TIOW is a proven and successful program established by the Harper Government in 2006. It supports older workers in economically-vulnerable communities who face significant barriers to re-employment.
TIOW aims to re-integrate older workers into employment, or improve their employability through targeted skills training and work experience. Projects are coordinated by a community-based organization and are linked to local employment opportunities.
TIOW was introduced to help workers in smaller communities experiencing ongoing high unemployment, or single-industry communities with significant employer downsizing. In particular, TIOW supports communities affected by closures and downsizing in traditional sectors, such as forestry, fishing, textiles and mining, and remote communities with limited access to employment opportunities and training facilities. In many cases, displaced older workers in these communities found themselves with few employment options once they had exhausted their employment insurance benefits.
A recent evaluation conducted by Human Resources and Skills Development Canada found the outcomes for participants in the TIOW to be very positive: three-quarters of respondents (75 per cent) worked in paid employment after they left the TIOW program and most projects were successful in matching participants with local job opportunities in their area.
To date, approximately 14,000 unemployed older workers across Canada have been assisted through the Targeted Initiative for Older Workers.
2. Extending the Work-Sharing Program
The Work-Sharing Program is designed to help employers and employees avoid layoffs when there is a non-permanent reduction in the normal level of business activity beyond an employer’s control. The measure provides income support to employees eligible for EI benefits who work a temporarily reduced work week. By agreeing to work fewer days and receive EI benefits on off days, employees are able to keep their jobs and businesses are able to avoid laying workers off during a temporary downturn.
In response to the global recession, the Harper Government took action in 2009 to make the program eligibility criteria more flexible and to extend the maximum duration of Work-Sharing agreements from 14 to 52 weeks. In Budget 2010, the maximum duration was extended by a further 26 weeks.
The Work-Sharing Program has been an unequivocal success. To date, almost 280,000 jobs have been protected as a result of our enhancements to the program over the past two years. At the peak of the recession, over 165,000 employees were enrolled in Work-Sharing agreements.
As the economy recovers, fewer workers will need work-sharing assistance, but at present, program participation levels remain higher than they were pre-recession. To help complete Canada’s economic recovery and protect existing jobs, a Conservative government will extend active or recently-terminated Work-Sharing Agreements by another 16 weeks.
3. Expanding the Wage Earner Protection Program (WEPP)
The WEPP was introduced by the Harper Government in 2008 to provide compensation to workers for unpaid wages and vacation pay earned in the six months prior to an employer’s bankruptcy. In 2009, WEPP was expanded to cover unpaid severance and termination pay.
However, under current rules, if a company undergoes a failed restructuring attempt that takes longer than six months, employees are not eligible for WEPP. Approximately 1,400 workers lose their jobs each year in unsuccessful restructuring attempts that exceed six months. Expanding WEPP to include these employees will ensure that more workers receive the monies they are entitled to when a company goes out of business.
4. Extending Two EI Pilot Programs – Working While on Claim, and Best 14 Weeks
These two pilot programs are designed to provide enhanced support to seasonal workers by basing EI benefit levels on a claimant’s highest-earning 14 weeks over a 52-week period, and by allowing workers to earn income while receiving EI benefits.
By not penalizing workers with a lower benefit rate, Best 14 Weeks encourages workers in communities with seasonal or irregular work opportunities to accept lower-paying partial weeks of work prior to claiming EI benefits. Similarly, Working While on Claim provides incentives for workers to accept all available work by permitting EI claimants to earn more income and still continue to receive benefits. Working While on Claim results in a reduced duration of EI benefits overall, and strengthens worker attachment to the labour market.
Both pilots provide additional support to workers with seasonal jobs, or jobs of unpredictable duration, so that these workers are able to support their families and local communities.
5. Enhancing the Canada Student Loan Program
In order for workers to remain competitive in an increasingly knowledge-based economy, and in order for lower-income workers in particular to transition to better-paying careers, it is often necessary to upgrade existing skills and qualifications. However, most workers do not have the luxury of stopping work, even temporarily, to obtain additional qualifications.
While the current Canada Student Loan Program provides some assistance for part-time students, eligibility is extremely restrictive and in-study interest rates on loans are high. These barriers make it difficult for many willing and qualified Canadians to attend and complete post-secondary education.
Our plan will significantly increase the income thresholds for part-time loans and grants, which have not been updated since 1995, and reduce the in-study interest rate to zero. This will allow more workers to participate in post-secondary education programs while continuing to work and, in turn, will enhance their future career prospects and help respond to Canada’s demand for skilled workers.
These changes also build upon reforms announced by Prime Minister Harper’s Government in Budget 2008 to improve assistance to full-time students from low- and middle-income families, through the Canada Student Grants Program.
6. Eliminating Mandatory Retirement for Federally-Regulated Workers
Labour shortages in particular sectors in Canada will increase as our population ages, but many workers want and need to keep working. Making retirement mandatory at a certain age no longer makes sense and restricts the choices of many of Canada’s most-skilled and experienced workers.
Prohibiting mandatory retirement is consistent with the Harper Government’s goal of removing barriers to continued participation in the job market by older workers and supporting the financial security of working Canadians. Canadians should be given the choice when to retire without having the length of their working careers dictated by government.
Canadians have a choice between Prime Minister Harper, who is “Here for Workers” with his low-tax plan to protect and create jobs, and the Ignatieff-led Coalition’s high-tax agenda that will stall Canada’s economic recovery, kill jobs and set Canadian workers and their families back.
By forcing an unnecessary and opportunistic election while the world economy is still fragile, the Ignatieff-led Coalition with the NDP and Bloc Québécois have chosen their own political interests over those of Canadian workers. They have blocked the implementation of crucial measures designed to provide extra support to workers struggling to adjust and provide for their families.
The Ignatieff-led Coalition are musing about the “economy of tomorrow,” while Stephen Harper is focused on the immediate economic needs of Canadians. He is creating jobs and opportunity for Canadian workers now, while still investing in innovation for longer term economic growth without raising taxes.
LONDON – New Democrats in Elgin-Middlesex-London today confirmed their candidate for the upcoming federal election. Fred Sinclair, a local CAW member, announced his candidacy this morning.
“We’re ready to take the fight straight to the Conservatives,” said Sinclair. “Stephen Harper cannot be trusted and people know that Michael Ignatieff is not a real alternative. The NDP has great MPs like Irene Mathyssen and Malcolm Allen in Southern Ontario and I aim to join them.”
“Anyone who suggests that Michael Ignatieff is the best person to stand up to Harper is dead wrong,” said Sinclair, noting that Ignatieff supported the Conservative government on more than 100 confidence votes. “Ignatieff voted for the HST which has made life less affordable for the people in this riding. The people in this riding won’t be fooled by what he says now – they will look at his record.”
Sinclair said that he is ready to run a strong campaign and that he has the Elgin-Middlesex-London New Democrats firmly behind him. “We have a great group of volunteers and activists who are dedicated to standing up for this riding. They know that the best way to do that is elect another strong New Democrat voice to the House of Commons.”
On nous rabat dans les oreilles que seules deux formations politiques peuvent prendre le pouvoir à Ottawa, les libéraux et les conservateurs. Très bien. Alors, c’est à ces deux partis que je pose les questions, à savoir s’ils sont au courant qu’il y a des démunis au Québec et, si oui, que font-ils ou qu’entendent-ils faire pour leur venir en aide?
Stephen Harper ignore qu’il y a des démunis. Il sait que dans sa province d’origine il y a de riches pétrolières. C’est ainsi que de juillet 2008 à décembre 2010, lui, ses ministres et leurs personnels ont tenu plus de 1100 rencontres aux représentants des pétrolières. On voit où se situe son attention.
Michael Ignatieff est davantage conscient du sort des démunis. Mais il pense « Canada » et non pas « Québec ». Par exemple, il promet de bonifier le Régime des pensions fédéral, mais c’est comme s’il ignorait que le Québec possède déjà sa Régie des rentes. Il parle d’un programme de cotisation facultative à un régime de retraite auquel contribueraient les travailleurs. Là encore, il semble ignorer que le gouvernement du Québec, sous l’insistance du Parti Québécois, se prépare à mettre sur pied un tel programme.
Remarquez qu’il n’est pas le seul à oublier que le Québec existe. Ottawa donne aux parents un crédit d’impôt pour les services de garde. Les familles québécoises ne reçoivent qu’une fraction de ce crédit d’impôt puisque les frais de garde sont plus bas au Québec, vu le Programme québécois des garderies.
Au Bloc Québécois on a fait le choix de défendre les démunis. Nous ne rencontrons pas les représentants des pétrolières, mais nous rencontrons ceux des aînés, comme la FADOQ. Nous ne proposons pas des mesures fiscales avantageuses pour les banques ou les pétrolières mais, comme le rappelle aujourd’hui Gilles Duceppe, nous suggérons un plan pour protéger les régimes de retraite dans le secteur privé soumis à la juridiction fédérale, une réforme majeure de l’assurance-emploi, la mise en place d’un programme d’aide pour les travailleurs âgés, des mesures pour lutter contre l’itinérance et des mesures de soutien aux aidants naturels, un Supplément de revenu garanti (SRG) pour les aînés bonifié de 110 dollars par mois et un accès automatique au SRG pour tous les aînés y ayant droit.
Essayez de trouver ça chez les conservateurs et les libéraux. Vous m’en reparlerez. Nous sommes ouverts à vos commentaires, car nous, au Bloc Québécois, nous « Parlons Qc »!
Candidat dans Chambly–Borduas
MONTREAL – New Democrat leader Jack Layton announced his plan today to cancel Stephen Harper’s multi-billion-dollar fossil fuel subsidies and instead invest in clean energy sources.
“Stephen Harper is handing billions to oil companies developing Canada’s dirtiest energy sources, like the tar sands. As Prime Minister, I’ll cancel his dirty fuels subsidy and put that money into clean energy solutions instead,” Layton said.
“Stephen Harper’s subsidies are a $75 gift from every Canadian to big polluters. Quebecers have rejected that approach. It’s time to work together to defeat Stephen Harper and build a more sustainable economy,” Layton said.
Layton made his announcement after touring Technopole Angus, an ecologically-oriented business park in Montreal’s east end.
OTTAWA – For too long, Ottawa has been running in place without addressing the real priorities of Quebecers or Canadians. This is the premise of a new French language ad by Canada’s New Democrats released today throughout Quebec.
The fifteen second ad features a hamster running on a wheel with the message: “Politics is going nowhere in Ottawa. It is time that changes,” then cuts to the message: “Let’s Work together.”
“The ad is pretty straight forward,” said Karl Bélanger the NDP’s Principal Secretary for Quebec. “The choice in Quebec isn’t about stopping Stephen Harper, it’s about replacing him with a Prime Minister you can trust.”
Bélanger pointed out that Quebecers are beginning to realize that in order to replace Stephen Harper, they need to vote for a leader who embodies their values. That leader is Jack Layton.
The ad can be seen on ndp.ca
Today, Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced that a re-elected Conservative Government will consider financial support for major clean energy infrastructure projects that have regional or national significance, right across Canada.
“Our Government has a strong record of supporting clean energy projects in every region of the country,” the Prime Minister said. “As part of our low-tax plan for jobs and growth, we will consider financial support to projects that are of national or regional importance, have economic and financial merit and significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions. We will do this in a way that is equitable across every region of Canada.”
Prime Minister Harper noted that, with these criteria in mind, his Government will provide a loan guarantee or other financial support for the Lower Churchill hydro-electric project. The project will provide Atlantic Canada with a major new source of clean energy. Support for clean energy projects will be based on the principles of respect and equitable treatment for all regions of the country.
“Premier Dunderdale has made clear that this project will reduce carbon emissions by 4.5 million tonnes each year — the equivalent of taking 3.2 million cars off the road year,” the Prime Minister noted. “And it will result in clean energy benefits for the entire Atlantic region.”
In contrast, the Coalition would threaten the financial viability of these types of projects and hurt the economy recovery in general.
Prime Minister Harper observed that Michael Ignatieff authored a plan to impose a carbon tax on all Canadians. “The choice is clear,” Mr. Harper said. “Canadians can choose between our low-tax plan for jobs and growth and a high-tax agenda that will stall the recovery, kill jobs and set you and your family back.”
- Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s Government is strongly committed to the conservation of Canada’s magnificent natural heritage. In collaboration with the provinces and territories, Aboriginal peoples, civil society and private landowners, we have:
- Increased the size of our marine protected areas.
- Created eight new federal protected areas.
- Expanded Nahanni National Park Reserve to six times its original size — the greatest conservation achievement in a generation.
- These expansions have increased Canada’s protected areas by 130,000 square kilometres, an increase of 13 per cent. As a result, almost 10 per cent of Canada’s landmass is now protected, an area larger than British Columbia and roughly twice as large as Spain.
- Stephen Harper’s Government has also taken action on a number of fronts to protect our environment, recognizing that a healthy environment and a strong economy go hand-in-hand. We have:
- Introduced regulations to raise the renewable fuel content in gasoline, reduce tailpipe emissions and reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the production of electricity.
- Established the Clean Energy Dialogue between Canada and the United States to enhance collaboration on reducing greenhouse gases and combating climate change.
- Made substantial investments in clean energy projects in every region of the country, including a natural gas pipeline between Vallée-Jonction and Thetford Mines, Quebec.
- Stephen Harper’s Government will continue supporting clean energy initiatives to protect our environment and improve the quality of the air we breathe.
- We will consider economically viable clean energy projects of regional or national importance that help regions replace fossil fuels with renewable fuel sources. The criteria for our support of a project will be:
- National or regional significance.
- Economic and financial feasibility and merit.
- Significantly reduces carbon emissions.
- Our support for any clean energy project will be based on the principles of respect and equitable treatment for all regions of the country.
- A re-elected Conservative Government will provide a loan guarantee or other financial support to the Lower Churchill hydro-electric project on the basis of these criteria.
- The project will be a major regional environmental initiative.
- The Lower Churchill project will provide the Atlantic region of Canada something it lacks and is seeking, a major new source of clean energy.
- It is estimated the project would reduce carbon emissions by 4.5 million tonnes annually, the equivalent of removing 3.2 million cars from the road every year.
- Stephen Harper’s low-tax plan for jobs and growth is based on the belief that sound environmental policy and economic growth can go hand-in-hand.
- We believe that good environmental policy can create jobs, encourage growth, and position Canada’s economy for the future.
- In contrast, Michael Ignatieff admits to being the father of the Liberal carbon tax.
- And recently, Mr. Ignatieff’s Finance spokesperson, Scott Brison, called the carbon tax “sensible” and “courageous.”
- Higher taxes and higher prices. Michael Ignatieff’s high-tax agenda will stall our recovery, kill jobs and set families back.
The Conservative Party of Canada launched a new advertisement today in the wake of solid evidence about Michael Ignatieff’s coalition with the Bloc Québécois and NDP, said Conservative Campaign Manager Jenni Byrne.
Today’s National Post revealed evidence of Michael Ignatieff’s coalition agenda. In an interview with National Post columnist John Ivision, Michael Ignatieff said that even if he loses the election, he will oppose a Conservative budget and move to defeat the government. Rather than accepting the democratic will of the Canadian people, Michael Ignatieff instead said he would beging clearing the way for a reckless, unstable coalition with the Bloc Québécois and the NDP.
The Conservative ad sheds light on further evidence of Michael Ignatieff’s reckless coalition with the NDP and Bloc Québécois. Yesterday, an NDP candidate in southern Ontario resigned in order to support the Ignatieff Liberals. Former NDP candidate Ryan Dolby admitted he coordinated the move with MPs and officials from his fellow coalition partners, including the Ignatieff Liberals.
“This is exactly what the coalition did last time”, said Jason Lietaer, Campaign spokesman. “The coalition did it before and they will do it again.”
Today, Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced that a re-elected Conservative Government will aim to complete bilateral free trade negotiations with the European Union by 2012 and with India in 2013.
“Canada is a trading nation,” Harper said. “Canadian businesses and their workers succeed and prosper when they have stable and secure access to markets and customers around the world.”
“That’s why since taking office we have made expanding and improving access to foreign markets such a priority. New free trade agreements have been signed with eight countries and negotiations are underway with 50 more, including the European Union and India,” Prime Minister Harper added. “Deepening our trading relationships is key to the Next Phase of Canada’s Economic Action Plan in order to complete our recovery, create jobs and strengthen families’ financial security.”
The completion of these two historic free trade agreements will build on Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s strong record of standing up for Canadian businesses and their workers by obtaining secure and stable access to important emerging export markets. Free trade agreements with the European Union and India will provide improved access to over 1.7 billion new customers for Canadian businesses.
The Ignatieff Coalition partners, the NDP and Bloc Québécois, would derail these negotiations and threaten Canadian businesses’ access to these large markets. Given that the NDP opposed every free trade agreement concluded by Stephen Harper’s Government, their role in the Coalition constitutes a critical risk to these negotiations unless Canadians return a stable national majority Conservative Government.
Prime Minister Harper noted that the Ignatieff-led Coalition has the wrong priorities, with their agenda to raise taxes on Canadian businesses and to turn back the progress on international trade. “The choice is clear,” Harper said. “Canadians can choose between a stable national government with a low-tax plan that will create jobs by expanding trade, and Michael Ignatieff’s high-tax agenda that will put our businesses and workers at a severe disadvantage relative to our international competitors.”
- Prime Minister Harper’s Conservative Government is focused on creating jobs and completing the economic recovery.
- Canada is a trading nation. Canadian businesses and their workers require secure access to foreign markets to sell their goods and services.
- Canadian businesses’ need for secure and stable access to export markets became even more apparent during the recent global economic recession when a number of other countries considered protectionist measures.
- That’s why our Government has made securing access to traditional markets — like the United States — and expanding access to new markets — like the European Union and India — key parts of Canada’s economic agenda.
- We are strengthening our access to the United States market through the Border Vision agreement that Prime Minister Harper signed with President Obama in February. This agreement will reduce barriers to cross-border trade and cut red tape for businesses operating on both sides of the border.
- We are also seeking improved access to other markets that are growing in importance for Canadian businesses. Since taking office, we have signed free-trade deals with eight countries and are in negotiations with 50 others.
- At present we are negotiating historic free trade agreements with the European Union and India. Combined, these two markets represent over 1.7 billion consumers for Canadian exporters. Improved access would be of significant benefit.
- These two agreements are vital for Canadian businesses and workers so that they can benefit from a level playing field with other countries when exporting their goods and services abroad. Participation in sales to these growing economies will lead them to invest and create jobs in Canada.
- These agreements are key ingredients for creating and protecting jobs in the years to come.
Here are the facts:
Existing trade between Canada and the European Union (EU):
- The EU is currently Canada’s second-largest trading partner. In 2009, over $44 billion in Canadian goods and services were exported to the EU and over $54 billion in EU goods were imported into Canada.
- In 2009, the EU invested over $163 billion in Canada, making it Canada’s second-largest source of foreign direct investment. In 2009, a little more than a quarter of Canada’s total foreign direct investment, representing over $148 billion, was made into the European Union, making Canada the EU’s fourth-largest source of foreign direct investment.
Benefits of a Free-Trade Agreement:
The benefits of a free trade agreement with Europe would include:
- A 20 per cent increase in bilateral trade.
- A $12-billion boost to Canada’s economy (GDP).
- Preferential market access for Canadian businesses to the world’s largest single common market, foreign investor and trader.
- Increased access to the EU’s government procurement market, worth approximately $2.3 trillion.
- Increased access for Canadian products in many sectors, including fish and seafood, forestry products, aerospace, chemicals, plastics, aluminum, cars and car parts, and agricultural products.
- Greater opportunities for service providers, including making it easier for Canadians to work in Europe.
- And increased predictability for both Canadian and European investors.
Existing trade between Canada and India:
- India is a vital trade partner for Canada. Last year, bilateral merchandise trade totalled $4.1 billion. Despite a slight decline due to the global economic recession, Canada’s trade with India has grown steadily since the Conservative Government took office in 2006, and direct investment between Canada and India has quadrupled. In 2009, at the invitation of the Indian Prime Minister, Canada’s Prime Minister Stephen Harper made an official visit to India. Both leaders paid tribute to the strength and importance of the large Indo-Canadian population and committed to stronger ties between the two countries.
- A $6-billion boost to Canada’s economy (GDP).
- Preferential access to one of the world’s largest and fastest-growing economies.
- Increased access for Canadian products in many sectors including agriculture, fish and seafood, forestry, mining and natural resources, services, and manufacturing.
- Despite the Ignatieff-led Coalition’s actions to put their interests ahead of those of Canadian families, a re-elected Conservative Government will aim to complete the negotiations with the European Union by 2012 and with India in 2013, so that Canadian businesses and workers can benefit from secure access to these two important markets.
- The benefits for Canadian businesses and workers and to the Canadian economy are critical. We will see these negotiations through and continue to expand and improve access to new and emerging markets so that Canada’s economy remains strong.
- Stephen Harper’s Government will continue to put Canadian businesses and workers in a competitive position in the global economy.
- We will continue to secure improved access to traditional export markets and expand access to new and emerging markets so that Canadian businesses can hire and invest.
- This stands in strong contrast to the approach taken by the previous Liberal government.
- The Liberals’ inaction on free trade hurt Canadian businesses by putting them at a disadvantage relative to their international competitors.
- While other countries were signing new free trade agreements to give their businesses and workers an advantage in the global economy, the Liberals did virtually nothing.
- They negotiated only three free trade agreements during their 13-year term.
- And an Ignatieff-led Coalition with the NDP — who remain ideologically opposed to free trade, despite its benefits for Canadian businesses and workers — would jeopardize the trade-dependent sectors of the Canadian economy. The NDP has opposed every free trade agreement concluded by Stephen Harper’s Government.
- When it comes to standing up for Canadian businesses and workers, improving access to important export markets for their goods and services and creating jobs, Canadians have a clear choice.
- Canadians can choose between Stephen Harper’s low-tax plan for jobs and growth that makes free trade and access to new markets a priority, and the Ignatieff-led Coalition’s high-tax agenda that will stall the recovery, kill jobs and hurt Canadian businesses and workers.
 Panama, Jordan, Colombia, Peru, Iceland, Liechenstein, Norway and Switzerland.
Comment peut-on expliquer un tel entêtement chez Stephen Harper à vouloir de manière quasi malsaine (il n’y a pas d’autres mots pour décrire son attitude) abolir le registre des armes à feu?
En effet, qu’est-ce que les conservateurs n’ont pas inventé pour dénigrer le registre des armes à feu? Qu’il coûtait trop cher à opérer, que c’était un monstre bureaucratique, qu’on mettait sur le même pied de considération les chasseurs et les criminels, qu’on voulait brimer les principes mêmes de la liberté et du droit à posséder des armes à feu.
Dans les faits, depuis 2002, les coûts d’opération du programme sont sous contrôle. Le gros des dépenses pour sa mise en place est effectivement derrière nous. D’ailleurs, le Bloc Québécois avait à l’époque dénoncé ces coûts exorbitants. Le Bloc Québécois va maintenant plus loin en demandant d’instaurer la gratuité permanente de l’enregistrement au registre. À ce chapitre le budget fédéral ne s’en porterait pas plus mal – en tous les cas, il n’en serait pas affecté tout autant que par la dépense pour l’achat des F-35, pour laquelle Stephen Harper a de manière éhontée menti aux Québécois et aux Canadiens quant aux coûts réels d’achat de ces avions de guerre.
Je reviens sur le point du respect des libertés individuelles. L’automobiliste a-t-il l’impression que sa liberté individuelle est mise à mal parce qu’il doit détenir un permis et parce que son véhicule doit être immatriculé? Depuis de nombreuses décennies déjà, les chasseurs doivent obtenir un permis de chasse pour chaque type de gibier. Leur liberté a-t-elle été menacée pour autant? Il y a quelque chose ici qui relève de la perception que les opposants au registre des armes à feu veulent faire entendre aux chasseurs et aux détenteurs d’armes. J’y reviendrai.
Toujours au chapitre du respect des libertés, à quatre occasions toute la députation de l’Assemblée nationale du Québec s’est prononcée unanimement en faveur du registre des armes à feu, doit-on comprendre que ces élus – tous partis confondus – veulent brimer la liberté des chasseurs québécois? Bien sûr que non. Et dans les faits, tout ce qu’ils font, c’est de respecter les valeurs qui sont propres aux Québécoises et aux Québécois et qui s’expriment par leur désir consensuel de vouloir mettre de l’ordre dans le commerce des armes à feu et leur usage à des fins récréatives. À ce sujet, il est intéressant de constater le fossé qui sépare les Québécois et les Canadiens.
Il y a des vraies questions qu’il faut se poser. À savoir, notamment : le registre des armes à feu est-il utile? La réponse est oui. Point à la ligne.
Tous les corps policiers du Québec et du Canada approuvaient sa création et tous réclament son maintien. Les policières et les policiers se sentent plus en sécurité au moment d’intervenir afin de sauver des vies lorsqu’ils savent à l’avance si un forcené possède légalement une arme à feu. D’ailleurs, le registre est consulté plus de 10000 fois par jour au Canada. Ce n’est pas rien. Il en va donc de la sécurité de toutes celles et de ceux qui sont en première ligne afin d’assurer la loi et l’ordre.
De plus, dans la seule année de 2009, 7000 enregistrements d’armes d’épaule ont été suspendus pour des raisons de sécurité publique. Ça aussi, c’est significatif de l’importance du registre. Pour un fervent de la loi et l’ordre, et de la sécurité publique, Stephen Harper devrait pourtant se ranger du côté des policiers.
Et ici je fais un aparté à propos du candidat conservateur Jean-Guy Dagenais. C’est l’ancien président de l’Association des policières et des policiers du Québec. À ce titre, il se présentait comme un fervent promoteur et défenseur du registre des armes à feu. Aujourd’hui qu’il est candidat conservateur, il fait volte-face et désormais il se dit en faveur de l’abolition du registre. Quel cynisme de sa part! À quel moment renie-t-il sa parole?
J’ai mentionné que les armes à feu légalement en usage au Québec et au Canada ont une vocation récréative. Effectivement, elles servent à la chasse, au tir sportif où elles sont des objets de collections pour les amateurs avérés. Donc, entendons-nous, ce sont des équipements de loisir et rien d’autre. Cependant, il serait puéril de vouloir comparer l’usage inapproprié d’une raquette de tennis avec celui d’une arme de chasse. Et le gros bon sens nous dicte qu’il faille tenir un registre des armes à feu.
J’ai écrit que je reviendrais sur la question de la perception que certains veulent induire dans l’esprit des chasseurs et des détenteurs d’armes. Et ici je me pose une autre question : quelle est donc la perception que Stephen Harper a de la possession des armes à feu? Se range-t-il du côté de la National Riffle Association américaine? Si c’est le cas, cela donne froid dans le dos.
Le 13 janvier dernier, à l’émission The Tonight Show, le commentateur politique américain Bill Maher dénonçait ceux de ses concitoyens qui se réfugiaient derrière le 2e amendement de la Constitution pour justifier posséder des armes de poings – comme celle qui avait servi, quelques jours plus tôt, soit le 8 janvier, à Jared Lee Loughner, le tueur de Tucson en Arizona, qui s’en était pris à la sénatrice démocrate Gabrielle Giffords et qui avait abattu la jeune Christina-Taylor Green, âgée de 9 ans. Bill Maher concluait en affirmant que personne n’avait besoin d’une arme capable de tirer en rafale 31 projectiles.
L’analyse de Bill Maher est à l’effet que posséder des armes à feu, ne pas devoir les enregistrer, ne pas devoir s’inscrire dans un registre de détenteurs d’armes à feu, n’a rien à voir avec la liberté civile, la liberté individuelle, la liberté constitutionnelle, ni la liberté fondamentale d’un individu.
C’est une fausse perception du débat que veut nous vendre Stephen Harper. Et c’est là que je m’interroge sur le bonhomme, sur son entêtement quasi malsain de vouloir abolir le registre des armes à feu.
Nous devons toutes et tous nous poser ce questionnement à propos de celui qui veut obtenir un gouvernement majoritaire à Ottawa et qui défend des valeurs tellement à l’opposé de celles que partagent les Québécoises et les Québécois.
Et nous devons surtout nous demander si nous voulons donner les pleins pouvoirs à cet homme.
Moi j’ai pris ma décision et c’est non!
Candidate du Bloc Québécois dans Ahuntsic
OSHAWA – Jack Layton today announced his job creation plan focused on targeted, affordable investments in small businesses and Canadian job creators.
“Stephen Harper’s jobs policy is across-the-board tax breaks, even to large profitable companies shipping Canadian jobs overseas,” Layton said. “It doesn’t work”.
“My plan will give small businesses a break and provide incentives to companies investing in job creation at home.”
Jack Layton’s plan will:
- Drop the small business tax rate from 11% to 9% – a 2 percentage point tax break that will help create jobs.
- Create a Job Creation Tax Credit for employers of up to $4,500 per new hire.
- Extend the Accelerated Capital Costs Allowance for the next four years.
- Restore the current Corporate Income Tax rate to 2008 levels and ensure Canada’s corporate tax rate always remains below the tax rate in the USA.
“Blind, across-the-board corporate tax giveaways are not a job creation plan. After 10 consecutive corporate tax cuts, Mr. Harper’s strategy has resulted in layoffs, jobs moving overseas and full-time work replaced with part-time work,” said Layton. “Our plan will reward businesses that create jobs in our communities.”
We are now entering our first election, and it seems we are running candidates in Manitoba, British Columbia, Alberta, Ontario, and Québec. In order to run effective campaigns, our candidates are going to need all of the help that they can get. If you live near a candidate, it would be just swell if you could help them out. We have started an election 2011 subforum to ease the process.
Since the writ has dropped, we’ve had a number of candidates come out of the woodwork looking to represent the Pirate Party. I’m excited about our expanding coverage, but I would like to request that anyone considering running for with us to apply in the candidate forum by the end of the week. Candidates must have their application (complete with signature and deposit) into Elections Canada by the 10th of April, so we are somewhat pressed for time. If you or someone you know is considering running, please apply right away. We’d love to help you run a successful campaign.
We are also preparing an advertisement for the CBC, and we need participants. If you have a webcam or video camera, and want to help the Pirate Party, please send an e-mail to email@example.com and we will get back to you shortly on how to participate.
If you are an a volunteer, a potential candidate, or potential voter, I would also like to sincerely thank you for helping us to bring these ideas to Canadians across the country. Our information policy system is outdated, and by doing your part, you are helping us move forward.
Pirate Party of Canada
Today, Prime Minister Stephen Harper visited a Brampton-based manufacturing company to highlight the importance of his low-tax plan for jobs and growth and to announce the extension of accelerated business write-offs for investment.
“We’re rounding the corner, entering the home stretch at the front of the pack,” Harper said of Canada’s economic position. “But work remains to be done to complete our recovery.”
Since taking office in 2006, Stephen Harper’s Government has implemented a plan to encourage businesses to invest, grow and hire more Canadians. Last week’s budget, the Next Phase of Canada’s Economic Action Plan, outlined a low-tax plan for jobs and growth to complete the recovery and create jobs.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper pointed out that among the new measures is a two-year extension of the accelerated capital cost allowance treatment for investment in machinery and equipment by Canadian manufacturers. This will help Canadian companies make the necessary investments in machinery and equipment to improve their productivity and create new and better jobs.
“If you want people to invest, you need to make it easy for them,” the Prime Minister observed. “Lowering taxes on investments will create and protect jobs for Canadians.”
According to the Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters, the accelerated capital cost allowance boosted investment by more than 11 per cent between 2006 and 2009. Manufacturing companies employ 1.8 million Canadians.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper also highlighted an $80-million increase in funding to increase collaboration between the factory floor and Canada’s colleges — the Industrial Research Assistance Program (IRAP). He concluded by pointing out that our commitment to low taxes was a key reason why Canada is the envy of the world as it emerges from the economic downturn.
The Ignatieff-led Coalition opposed the extension of the accelerated capital cost allowance and new funding for IRAP. In its place, the Coalition is proposing a high-tax agenda would put these investments and the jobs that they support at risk.
Prime Minister Harper noted that the choice for Canadians is clear. “Canadians can choose between a low-tax plan for jobs and growth and a high-tax agenda that will stall the recovery, kill jobs and set Canada’s financial security back.”
- Prime Minister Stephen Harper is focused on a low-tax plan to complete the recovery and protect and create jobs.
- Accelerated capital cost allowance is sometimes used to promote investment in new machinery and equipment by Canadian businesses.
- By accelerating the timing of capital cost deductions, this measure lowers the cost of investment by deferring taxation and improving the financial return from investments.
- In the 2007 Budget, Prime Minister Stephen Harper introduced an accelerated capital cost allowance to help Canadian manufacturers purchase new equipment and machinery to make their operations more efficient and promote job creation.
- By allowing businesses to accelerate the capital cost allowance at a rate of 50 per cent on a straight-line basis, the Government helped businesses to write off critical, new investments four times faster than was previously allowed.
- This measure supported critical investments in manufacturing businesses in the lead-up to the global economic downturn.
- According to the Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters, the accelerated capital cost allowance boosted investment by more than 11 per cent above levels that would have otherwise been experienced been 2006 and 2009.
- Manufacturing companies employ 1.8 million Canadians and create high-paying jobs across all sectors of the economy.
- The accelerated capital cost allowance for manufacturing investments is set to expire at the end of 2011.
- Stephen Harper’s Government increased funding to the Industrial Research Assistance Program through Canada’s Economic Action Plan. The Program helps small- and medium-sized enterprises in Canada grow bigger and faster through innovation and technology, and helps them expand their technical expertise.
- The Program helps small- and medium-sized firms develop technologies and successfully commercialize them in a global marketplace by providing technical and business advisory services and financial assistance.
- The Next Phase of Canada’s Economic Action — a low-tax plan for jobs and growth — extends the accelerated capital cost allowance for Canadian manufacturers for two additional years.
- Extending this measure will save Canadian manufacturers more than $600 million in 2012-2013, and an estimated $2.5 billion over the next five years.
- The two-year write-off will promote investment in critical new machinery and equipment to complete the Canadian recovery and create jobs.
- Support for these investments will translate directly into more and better jobs for Canadian workers.
- Stakeholders strongly supported the inclusion of this measure in the next phase of Canada’s Economic Action Plan.
- Over 50 national organizations, including the Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters, the Chemistry Industry Association of Canada, and even the Canadian Labour Congress, endorsed the extension of the accelerated capital cost allowance.
- In addition, Stephen Harper’s government will allocate $80 million in new funding over three years for a pilot initiative, delivered through the Industrial Research Assistance Program, to support collaborative projects between colleges and small- and medium-sized businesses.
- These projects will be a unique partnership between Canada’s colleges and Canadian businesses, and will help Canadian businesses adopt new information and communications technologies so that they are more competitive in a global marketplace.
- In addition, the next phase of Canada’s Economic Action Plan sets the stage for Canada to become a leader in the creation, adoption and use of digital technologies and content; in other words, to become a leader in innovation and production.
- The Ignatieff-led Coalition opposed these low-tax measures when they provoked an unnecessary and opportunistic election.
- Michael Ignatieff’s high-tax agenda would threaten investments by Canadian manufacturers as well as the jobs that these measures support.
- Canadians have a clear choice.
- Canadians can choose between Stephen Harper’s low-tax plan for jobs and growth and Michael Ignatieff’s high-tax agenda that will stall the recovery, kill jobs and set Canada’s financial security back.
OTTAWA—New Democrats are taking Stephen Harper to task for his broken promises on health care in their first ad of the campaign. In the ad, Jack Layton highlights how Stephen Harper’s band-aid approach to health care has left millions of Canadians without a family doctor.
“We’ve got to improve our frontline health services,” said Layton. “We need more family doctors, better homecare and affordable prescription drugs. Stephen Harper cannot betrusted to fix our health care system.”
The “Not So Great Canadian Moments” TV ad, that begins airing today, mixes a bit of humour with fact to highlight Harper’s absence on file that only five years ago he made a top priority.
“Canada marks five years of Stephen Harper ignoring health care. How? Well an overcrowded hospital has to use a donut shop as an emergency ward and five million Canadians don’t have a doctor,” the ad points out. “Harper’s bandage is to train 100 doctors—one for every 50,000 who need one.”
This commercial is part of the largest ad buy in New Democrat campaign history. It’s part of a New Democrat strategy to put pressure on Stephen Harper and focus this campaign on the priorities of middle-class families.
The ad can be seen on ndp.ca at http://www.ndp.ca/hhuNY