The security of jobs and economic growth remains at the forefront of the minds of many Canadians. A few months ago, Jim Flaherty, Minister of Finance, presented our Conservative Government’s Economic and Fiscal Update. The update showed that despite worldwide economic troubles, our Government is committed to returning Canada to balanced budgets in the medium term. We’ll also continue to help create jobs and economic growth for hard-working Canadian families through our Economic Action Plan.
To date, that plan has helped create over 922,000 net new jobs since the summer of 2009. In December, we passed the Jobs and Growth Act 2012, which implements key measures from our Economic Action Plan to help grow Canada’s economy, fuel job creation and secure Canada’s long-term prosperity.
Included in the Act was the extension, by one year, of the job-creating Hiring Credit for Small Business – the benefit that helped nearly 534,000 employers hire more workers last year. The Act also improved Registered Disability Savings Plan (RDSPs), and implemented some tax rules for Pooled Registered Pension Plans (PRPPs) which will help many Canadians, who don’t have access to a workplace pension, save for retirement.
Besides remaining focused on the economy, our Government delivered results in a number of other areas to benefit Canadians. In November 2012, we passed the Safe Food for Canadians Act which gives the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) stronger tools to better protect families and enhance industry compliance. Meanwhile, Prime Minister Stephen Harper and other Government representatives visited India, the Philippines and Hong Kong to strengthen our countries’ trade relationships, working to open new markets for Canadian businesses.
Our Government is also continuing to better align Canada’s immigration system with the needs of Canada’s economy. We announced that Canada will maintain record levels of immigration to support economic growth in 2013, including highly-skilled immigrants, through the Canadian Experience Class – a category we created in 2008.
Finally, our Government has also overseen a number of elements from our Safe Streets and Communities Act become law over the course of 2012. Conditional sentencing – or house arrest – is no longer a sentencing option for dangerous crimes such as breaking and entering, and theft of a motor vehicle. Tougher penalties are now in place for the production and possession of illegal drugs for the purpose of trafficking. And violent and repeat young offenders are now held fully accountable for their actions.
Canadians can count on the Harper Government to remain focused on jobs and growth. We will control what we can – our spending – while also taking action to invest in the needs of Canadians and their families. We’ll stand up against the NDP plan for a massive, $21 billion job-killing carbon tax, and continue to help create jobs, growth and long-term prosperity for Canada.