As we enter this New Year, I wish to update you on Canada’s accomplishments during 2012. We have made steady strides forward as a nation, and thus we have much to be thankful for and proud of.
Through our Economic Action Plan 2012, our Government delivered on election promises by implementing formative measures to ensure that MP, Senator, and federal public sector employee pensions are sustainable, fiscally responsible, and consistent with pension options offered by the private sector.
In accordance with our election promises, the Honourable Steven Blaney, Minister of Veterans Affairs, has worked tirelessly to provide better services and effective support for Canada’s Veterans. He has worked to reduce red tape for our Veterans by introducing new technologies in the processing of applications for disability benefits. Minister Blaney also introduced the Veterans Transition Action Plan to put concrete measures in place to assist Veterans during their transition from military to civilian life. This legislation will help create new career opportunities for our Veterans and ensure that they and their families receive well-deserved, necessary support.
Though the global economic condition remains uncertain, our Government continues to stay focused on jobs and growth – carrying out our Economic Action Plan as promised. I am pleased to inform you that the implementation of our Economic Action Plan has already produced many positive outcomes for Canada, for example: by extending the Hiring Credit for Small Business we provided support for nearly 534,000 small business employers; by implementing the Community Infrastructure Improvement Fund we have been able to invest $150 million to improve the quality of community facilities and create more jobs in communities across the country. In addition, Canada currently has the lowest debt burden and the strongest job creation record in the G-7, with over 900,000 net new jobs since July 2009.
Looking forward, our Government will maintain focus on our economy and continue to build upon on the best job creation record of major developed countries. In addition, our Government will be supporting key pieces of legislation currently before Parliament, some of which include: the Enhancing Royal Canadian Mounted Police Accountability Act; the Faster Removal of Foreign Criminals Act; the First Nations Transparency Act; and the Northern Jobs and Growth Act.
As Minister of State (Finance), I have been busy meeting with my colleague, the Honourable Jim Flaherty, Minister of Finance, to help analyze and prepare components of the upcoming budget. Our Government believes that Canadian taxpayer dollars must be used in the most precise, efficient, and accountable manner possible, and we will ensure that Budget 2013 upholds this principle. As MP for Macleod, I wholeheartedly enjoyed my time in the riding during the past Christmas break, and was pleased to see and meet many of you at my constituency office open house in Claresholm.
I look forward to continuing to represent all of my Macleod constituents this year in Ottawa, and I hope to see many of you in the riding at the various upcoming events. Once again, thank you for your continued support. I wish you all a prosperous year ahead for 2013!