PMO – PM highlights Government’s 2011 Achievements

PM highlights Government’s 2011 Achievements

 

Ottawa, Ontario
Prime Minister Stephen Harper today issued the following statement highlighting some of the Government’s significant accomplishments in 2011:
“2011 was a momentous year for Canada both at home and abroad.“Global economic uncertainty continued to create challenging conditions in 2011. Our Government remained focused on jobs and growth and continued to implement our Economic Action Plan.”

The results have truly been impressive. Canada is posting the highest number of jobs created in the G-7 this year; Forbes magazine ranked Canada the number one country to conduct business; we’ve been praised as a country with the soundest banking system; and our economic growth is forecasted to be the strongest of the G-7 countries in 2012. All this has been accomplished while reducing the country’s deficit.

“Our Government has also taken important steps over the past year to help hard-working families. This includes an increase to the Guaranteed Income Supplement announced in Budget 2011 to help hundreds of thousands of seniors make ends meet, additional support for Canadians taking care of infirm dependent relatives, and a tax break that will make it more affordable for children to pursue artistic, cultural, recreational and developmental activities.

“Important strides were also taken in 2011 to make neighbourhoods and streets across our country safer. We introduced or passed bills to reduce crime and terrorism, provide greater support and protection for victims of crime, get tougher on murderers and those who would sexually exploit children, and allow Canadians to more easily defend themselves and their property against criminals. And we are delivering on our promise to pass the Safe Streets and Communities Act during the first 100 sitting days of Parliament.

“Our Government has followed through on our commitments by ending the wasteful and ineffective long-gun registry, ending the Canadian Wheat Board monopoly, and giving western farmers the freedom to sell wheat and barley on the open market. We have introduced Bills to ensure fair representation in the House of Commons and make the Senate more democratic, accountable and representative.

“Internationally we have also accomplished much this past year towards making the world – including Canada – a better place. Building on its important experience and investments in Afghanistan, Canada, along with other NATO allies, continued to make important contributions towards making that country more secure, stable, and self-sufficient. We also played a significant role in defending civilians in Libya against the now defeated Gaddafi regime. Along with other members of the international community, Canada imposed sanctions on North Korea, Syria, Libya and Iran to encourage their adherence to international laws.

“Ambitious agreements were also concluded with the U.S. on perimeter security and economic competitiveness, as well as on regulatory cooperation. These agreements create a new, modern border, and represent the most significant steps forward in Canada-U.S. cooperation since the North American Free Trade Agreement.

“Here at home, Canada was delighted to host the Their Royal Highnesses The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge this past summer. And in the coming year, Canadians will have the opportunity to celebrate our proud heritage by participating in celebrations across the country marking both The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee and the 200th anniversary of the War of 1812.”

“Our Government was deeply honoured to be given a Parliamentary majority by Canadians in the May federal elections and will do its utmost to make Canada as prosperous, united and strong.”

Government’s 2011 achievements

 

Over the past year, the Government of Canada has delivered on its commitments to:

Support jobs and growth by:
•Investing billions of dollars through the Economic Action Plan and other programs for a wide variety of infrastructure projects across the country, from maintenance and extensions of roads and highways to enhancements of facilities at universities and colleges.
•Reducing the federal corporate income tax rate from 18 per cent to 16.5 per cent in January 2011 and preparing to cut federal corporate income taxes to 15 per cent in 2012.
•Promoting a stable, low-tax environment for individuals and businesses by signing an agreement on sales tax harmonization with the Province of Quebec and by announcing a tax credit for small business to encourage hiring by this vital sector.
•Expanding our access to markets abroad by announcing the implementation of two action plans with the United States on Perimeter Security and Economic Competiveness and on Regulatory Cooperation that will transform the border and create jobs and growth in Canada by improving the flow of goods and people between the two countries, and by continuing to negotiate free-trade and economic cooperation agreements with some 50 countries.
•Establishing the Red Tape Reduction Commission, which will find ways to reduce the regulatory burden on small businesses so that they can focus their attention on growing their business and creating jobs.
•Leveraging Canada’s exceptional economic record at home through leadership on the international stage on global economic issues. The Government led, with India, the development of the G-20 Cannes Action Plan for Jobs and Growth – a set of commitments among G-20 countries that will create more opportunities for growth and help avoid the crises of the past.

As a result of these and other actions, almost 580,000 more Canadians are working today than when the recession ended, the strongest rate of employment growth by far among G-7 countries.

Eliminate the deficit by:
•Continuing to make responsible choices and undertaking a comprehensive review of government spending, with a view to restraining the growth of program spending, and delivering programs and services that are efficient and effective, aligned with the priorities of Canadians, and sustainable over the long term. The Government created Shared Services Canada, a new Government of Canada agency that will save money by making the delivery of information technology, infrastructure and network services to many departments of the federal government more effective.

Through these and other actions, the federal deficit has been reduced by $22.2 billion in 2011, a 40 per cent reduction from 2009-10.Support hard-working families by:
•Helping seniors make ends meet through the largest increase to the Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS) in a quarter century as part of Budget 2011. The increase was included in Bill C-3, the Supporting Vulnerable Seniors and Strengthening Canada’s Economy Act, which was passed by Parliament in June. It will benefit more than 680,000 of Canada’s lowest-income seniors, and represents a $300 million investment per year. Budget 2011 also provides an additional $10 million over two years to the New Horizons for Seniors Program, bringing the program’s 2011-2012 budget to $45 million.
•Introducing legislation (Bill C-25) to implement the federal portion of the Pooled Registered Pension Plan (PRPP) framework. The changes to Canada’s pension landscape will make saving for retirement easier for millions of Canadians.
•Passing legislation (Bill C-13) that will introduce a new $2,000 Family Caregiver Tax Credit to assist caregivers of infirm
dependent relatives, and remove the $10,000 limit on eligible expenses that can be claimed under the Medical Expense Tax Credit in respect of a dependent relative. Bill C-13 will also introduce a new Children’s Arts Tax Credit of up to $500 per child for eligible fees associated with children’s artistic, cultural, recreational and developmental activities. This legislation received Royal Assent on December 15, 2011.

Stand on guard for Canada by:
•Continuing to defend our national sovereignty in the Arctic by strengthening the capabilities of our armed forces and by implementing Canada’s northern strategy.
•Continuing to protect Canada’s national interests on the world stage. Members of the Canadian Armed Forces will continue to fight international terrorism, through Operation ATTENTION, by building a more secure, stable and self-sufficient Afghanistan and transfer the responsibility for their own national security to Afghans by 2014. Our diplomacy and development efforts will continue to support Afghan-developed priorities and sustain progress in key areas essential to Afghanistan’s future.
•Helping to achieve success in Libya by providing humanitarian assistance, establishing and maintaining a no-fly zone, flying over 1,500 military missions, and taking a leadership role with our allies to topple the oppressive Gaddafi regime – without incurring any combat losses.
•Enforcing international norms and laws by imposing economic sanctions against a number of foreign states including North Korea, Syria, Libya and Iran.
•Advancing our values by co-chairing with President Kikwete of Tanzania the UN Commission on Information and Accountability for Women’s and Children’s Health and championing the importance of tracking resources and measuring results for global health and international development more generally.
•Providing $189 million over five years in support of veterans who are seriously ill and injured, as well as flexible new payment options for recipients of a disability award.
•Re-introducing on June 16, 2011, legislation (Bill C-49) to prevent human smugglers from abusing Canada’s immigration system.
•Announcing on June 24, 2011, changes to economic immigration programs to help reduce backlogs and improve wait times while meeting Canada’s labour market needs. The changes came into effect on July 1, 2011.
•Honouring our military heritage by restoring the historic designations of the Army, the Royal Canadian Navy and the Royal Canadian Air Force and launching the commemoration of the 200th anniversary of the War of 1812, in October 2011 through the investment of $28 million over the next four years in local events, activities and legacy projects.
•Hosting the successful Royal Tour of Their Royal Highnesses The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge from June 30 to July 8, 2011.

Support law-abiding Canadians by:
•Introducing on September 20, 2011, comprehensive legislation entitled the Safe Streets and Communities Act (Bill C-10), which will target crime and terrorism and provide greater support and protection to victims of crime.
•Bringing into force of “Mega Trials” legislation (Bill C-2) on August 15, 2011. The legislation will help ensure that so-called “mega trials”, large and complex cases involving illegal activities, can be heard more swiftly and effectively.
•Bringing into force, on November 1, 2011, legislation (Bill C-21) to stand up for victims of white-collar crime, which includes a mandatory minimum penalty of at least two years for fraud over $1 million.
•Re-introducing, on November 22, 2011, legislation (Bill C-26) that proposes to expand and simplify the laws with respect to self-defence and defence of property, and expand the circumstances in which a law-abiding Canadian can make a citizen’s arrest.
•Bringing into force, on December 2, 2011, two pieces of legislation (Bills C-36 and C-48) that will provide tougher sentences for murderers by ensuring that they cannot obtain early parole and permitting the courts to require that those convicted of multiple murders serve their parole ineligibility periods one after the other.
•Bringing into force, on December 8, 2011, legislation (Bill C-22) on mandatory reporting of online child pornography. The legislation will assist police in tracking down Internet sexual predators, and rescuing children from sexual exploitation.
•Reintroducing copyright legislation that balances the needs of creators and users. This legislation will ensure that Canada’s copyright laws are modern, flexible, and in line with current international standards.
•Introducing legislation (Bill C-19) to abolish the wasteful long-gun registry to stop harassing law-abiding gun owners and instead focus on criminals who use guns to commit crimes.

Helping communities and industries by:
•Introducing legislation (Bill C-19), on October 25, 2011, to end the ineffective long-gun registry. The introduction of this legislation is consistent with the Government’s efforts to ensure firearms laws target real criminals and protect the safety of the public.
•Passing legislation (Bill C-18) that will give western farmers the freedom to sell wheat and barley on the open market. This legislation, introduced on October 18, 2011, will put an end to the Canadian Wheat Board’s 60-year monopoly on western wheat and barley sales. Bill C-18 received Royal Assent on December 15, 2011.
•Releasing a Canada–First Nation Joint Action Plan on June 9, 2011, that expresses a joint commitment to work together to improve the long-term prosperity of First Nation people and all Canadians in four shared priority areas: education; accountability, transparency, capacity and good governance; economic development; and negotiation and implementation.
•Providing continued support for First Nations, including new investments in First Nations Land Management, launching the National Panel on First Nation Elementary and Secondary Education, and introducing legislation (Bill S-2) to ensure that people living on reserves have similar rights and protections as other Canadians with regard to matrimonial property and interests.
•Supporting the Agricultural Innovation Program (AIP) which will boost the development and commercialization of innovative new products, technologies and processes in the agricultural sector.
•Announcing $280.06 million in support of AgriRecovery initiatives to help Canadian farmers recover from a variety of natural disasters, and get their farm operations back into business and generating economic activity.
•Enforcing the Tobacco Products Labelling Regulations (Cigarettes and Little Cigars), which came into force on September 22, 2011. Following a transition period for industry, all cigarette and little cigar packages sold in Canada will include the new labels, featuring new, larger health warnings, testimonials from individuals affected by tobacco use, and a pan-Canadian toll-free quitting number and web address.
•Implementing the new Canada Consumer Product Safety Act (Bill C-36). The Act will replace 40-year old legislation with modern laws and heightens industry’s responsibility to ensure that they are not marketing potentially dangerous consumer products.
•Supporting the Canadian marine industry by announcing the largest procurement in Canada’s shipbuilding history through the National Shipbuilding Procurement Strategy. Valued at $33 billion, the packages awarded to shipyards in Vancouver and Halifax will create thousands of high-value jobs across the country, and build ships for the Royal Canadian Navy and Coast Guard.
•Launching the Federal Tourism Strategy in October 2011 to help position Canada’s tourism sector for long-term growth and global competitiveness.

Promoting integrity and accountability by:
•Introducing, on June 21, 2011, the Senate Reform Act (Bill C-7) to make the Senate more democratic, accountable, and representative of Canadians. This Act limits Senate terms to one nine-year term, and provides a framework for provinces and territories to implement a democratic process for selecting Senate nominees.
•Passing the Fair Representation Act (Bill C-20). This legislation, which received Royal Assent on December 16, 2011, will provide fairer representation in the House of Commons for the faster-growing provinces of Ontario, Alberta and British Columbia, while protecting the seat counts of the slower-growing provinces and protecting the proportional representation of Quebec according to population.
•Respecting taxpayer dollars by introducing legislation (Bill C-13), on October 4, 2011, which includes provisions to phase out direct subsidies for political parties by 2015-16.
•Supporting democratic, transparent and accountable First Nations governments by introducing, on November 23, 2011, the proposed First Nations Financial Transparency Act (Bill C-27) which would require that chiefs and councilors publish their salaries and expenses, and on December 6, 2011, the First Nations Elections Act (Bill S-6), which proposes improvements to their election processes.

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