That's what Minister of Finance
Now, that's just old-fashioned English for old-fashioned common sense. And it is that solid, Canadian common sense that has guided our Government through good times and bad.
This prudent plan builds on our record of strong, sound and consistent fiscal management. It is a low-tax plan to promote jobs and economic growth and support Canadian families. And it is a common sense plan that will see Canada return to a balanced budget in 2015.
Economic Action Plan 2014 sticks to the principles that we adopted when I rose to deliver our Government's first budget in 2006 during good times. What did our Government do then, when our budget was in surplus and when few could see dark clouds on the horizon?
_ We paid down our federal debt.
_ We lowered taxes for families and job creators.
_ We made sure our fiscal house was in order.
Why did we do this? Because it was the responsible way to a brighter future for Canadians.
Financial prudence now leads to financial prosperity in the future. It leads to opportunity. And so it was that when economic bad times came, our country was better prepared than most.
Since the depths of the recession Canada has led the
There are many reasons to be optimistic. There are signs of recovery around us. But there are also troubled waters.
The world economy is still fragile_one need look no further than
As my favourite Father of Confederation,
When governments run prolonged deficits, they are spending money that belongs to future generations. Deficit spending endangers social programs we benefit from and our children will soon depend on.
We also recognize that balanced budgets are important to the long-term prosperity of this country, inspiring confidence in investors and consumers, whose dollars grow the economy and create jobs, and ensuring interest rates stay low.
Canadians have trusted us with the economy and we have delivered. As we have promised, our Government remains committed to balancing the budget in 2015.
But I must be clear: we did not do this on the backs of ordinary Canadians or Canadians in need, or at the expense of our provinces and territories. We did not cut the programs Canadians rely on. We did not cut transfers to our provinces and territories_money they use for things like education and health care.
Rather, we did this by getting our own fiscal house in order. And,
Our Government continues to eliminate waste that will cut the cost of government without cutting programs Canadians depend on.
_ The Government will freeze the operating expenses of departments.
_ We will continue to divest government assets when in the best interest of Canadians to do so.
By doing these things, we will not only balance the budget in 2015, we will achieve a surplus. But let me be clear: a return to surplus is not a licence to spend recklessly. What we will do_what we have always done_is stay the course.
We will make sure Canada's fiscal position remains strong, strong enough to weather any future global economic storms. That starts with paying down the debt. And keeping taxes low.
Even in the toughest economic times, our Government has worked hard to reduce the tax burden for Canadian families and Canadian businesses. In fact, the federal tax burden is the lowest it has been in 50 years.
Since taking office we:
_ Delivered more than 160 tax relief measures.
_ Lowered the GST to 5 per cent from 7 per cent.
_ Introduced pension income splitting for seniors.
_ Created the Working Income Tax Benefit_WITB_to help ensure that low-income workers are better off by taking a job.
Now, an average family of four pays
We already have the best record for job creation among
We have invested in apprenticeship programs and measures to increase the numbers of people with disabilities, young people and Aboriginal Canadians in the workforce by helping them find the job training they need. But there is more we can and will do:
_ That's why today I am pleased to announce the Canada Apprentice Loan, which will give apprentices registered in Red Seal trades access to interest-free student loans millions of other Canadians have benefited from previously.
_ And that is why the Prime Minister announced more than
Canada has one of the best-educated workforces in the world. In fact, the number of Canadians under 25 with university degrees has gone up by more than 50 per cent since 2002.
Still, getting that first job after finishing college or university can be challenging. To help young people get the first, critical work experience they need, our Government will focus investment to support internships in high-demand fields and in small and medium-sized businesses.
As well, we will support two programs that will help people with disabilities find jobs and stay employed.
_ Ready, Willing & Able is an initiative to help Canadians with intellectual disabilities become part of the workforce.
_ We will also invest in a program to help young people with autism find rewarding jobs.
We will also implement an enhanced Job Matching Service to help unemployed Canadians get back to work by connecting them with employers looking to hire individuals with their skill set.
We will also introduce a new Expression of Interest system to ensure Canada has an efficient, flexible immigration system that matches the needs of employers.
That's why we have invested more than
This fund will support the strategic research priorities of Canada's post-secondary institutions and help them excel globally in research areas that create long-term economic advantages for Canada.
In Canada's very first budget speech Finance Minister
Minister Rose also said, "We must not neglect the means necessary to bring our products of all kinds to a profitable market."
That is also true today, especially when it comes to energy. Making sure that Canadian energy remains available to markets around the world is a priority for this Government.
That's why I am happy to announce today that Economic Action Plan 2014 sets aside funds for review of projects like the Energy East Pipeline proposal.
In addition, Canada has always been an exporting nation. Our investment in the new
Our Government is committed to protecting Canada's environment. And that commitment is evident in our ongoing investment in National Parks. In fact, since coming to office we have added more than 160,000 square kilometres to our National Parks and marine conservation system.
These priceless natural and historical places are a spectacular legacy for our children and we must ensure they remain pristine. I am pleased to announce that our Government is investing to maintain these national treasures for the next generation to enjoy.
We will make substantial investments through
We know partnering with committed citizen groups can make conservation dollars stretch farther. That's why we introduced the Recreational Fisheries Conservation Partnerships Program, which doubled the impact of every dollar invested in its first year.
Today we are increasing our commitment to protect even more sensitive fish habitat in the future.
Canada is blessed with a network of recreational trails that allow Canadians to connect with nature all year round. It pleases me to announce that our Government will partner with the
Families are the lifeblood of every community. Our Government is working hard to ensure that Canadian families are protected in their communities. As part of these efforts, we will create a DNA-based Missing Persons Index to help bring some peace to the families of missing persons. For that, I want to thank
That's why we are:
_ Taking steps to lower wholesale roaming rates within Canada; and
_ Giving the CRTC the power to impose financial penalties on companies that do not comply with the rules.
We will also:
_ Introduce legislation to address the price gap between identical goods sold in
_ Continue our investments in Canada's food safety system by hiring more inspectors to ensure the food destined for Canadian dinner tables is safe.
_ Prohibit the pay-to-pay practice that charges consumers for paper bills_ including printed credit card statements.
_ Reduce red tape for charities by enabling them to apply for registration and file their annual returns electronically.
_ Make major investments to improve broadband coverage in rural and northern communities.
And I know that I speak on behalf of all my colleagues when I say that we are truly grateful to all Canadians for putting their trust in us.
We have worked hard. And we will continue to work hard to, as
Most Popular Stories
- Koch Brothers Step up Anti-Obamacare Campaign
- FDIC Sues Big Banks Over Rate Manipulation
- SoCalGas Reaches Record Spend on Diversity Suppliers
- Stocks Close Lower Ahead of Crimea Vote
- Vybz Kartel Convicted of Murder
- U.S. Consumer Sentiment Falls in Early March
- Is Malaysian Airlines Flight 370 in Andaman Sea?
- Jittery Investors Dumping Russian Stocks
- Ulta Shares Look Good on Strong Q4
- FDIC Accuses Big Banks of Fraud, Conspiracy