Ed Komarnicki, MP for Souris-Moose Mountain, described 2013 as a remarkably good year for Canada with respect to jobs, growth and economic prosperity, notwithstanding the problems in the Senate and its reverberations in the House of Commons.
There are still many questions and concerns to the Senate. Many residents believe that the Senate should be abolished, but Komarnicki is opposed to that idea. Instead, he would like to see more controls.
Komarnicki also doesn’t think the Supreme Court would approve abolishing the Senate. He would like to keep the Senate because he feels regional representation is important but thinks they should be elected and serve for limited terms.
Komarnicki said Canadians have much to be thankful for.
Canada’s overall job growth record since the depth of the global recession is the best among all the G7 countries, with over one million net new jobs having been created.
Nearly 90 per cent of those jobs were full-time positions and more than 80 per cent were in the private sector.
Komarnicki attributes some of the success to the Economic Action Plan of 2013, which provided tax breaks to help small businesses create more jobs; and the Canada Job Grant, which helped many Canadians train for skilled jobs and the largest-ever federal investment in job creating infrastructure.
Small business taxes were reduced and the government committed to a one-for-one rule where regulators or legislators will be required to remove a legislative or administrative burden each time a new or amended regulation with an administrative burden is put in place.
In 2013, $70 billion in federal infrastructure funding was allocated for provincial, territorial and municipal infrastructure over the next 10 years. Komarnicki said that is the largest long-term federal commitment to infrastructure in this nation’s history and something that all municipalities had been requesting. The infrastructure funding and the gas tax funds can be used for any municipal infrastructure that a community needs.
“A lot of communities are looking forward to receiving these funds,” said Komarnicki.
“Municipal infrastructure is not where it should be. In Saskatchewan, infrastructure is particularly important because the province continues to grow.”
Canada’s unemployment rate is at its lowest level and is significantly lower than that of the United States.
“I think it’s just general initiatives with keeping taxes low for business. It encourages investment,” said Komarnicki.
The 2013 budget had provisions to close tax loopholes, address aggressive tax planning, reduce international tax avoidance and tax evasion and improve fairness in the tax laws.
The government took steps to cut government operating costs and to increase efficiency in the government work force.
“At the same time, we are keeping taxes low, meaning more money is in the pockets of hard-working Canadians,” said Komarnicki who added that Canada is in the best fiscal position in the G7 and remains well on track to have a balanced budget in 2015-16 or sooner.
Agriculture in Canada has seen proactive investments in innovation and research and is taking steps to overturn Country of Origin Labelling legislation in the United States.
Canada also entered into the Canadian-European Trade Agreement and, once it comes into effect, many tariffs on grains, oils and processed goods will be eliminated. Canadian farmers will be able to tap into markets in 28 more EU states as a result.
Saskatchewan has received 41 per cent more money in Canada Health Transfers since 2006, for a total of $978 million, and $378 million in the Canada Social Transfer, which is a 26 per cent increase since 2006.
A number of law and order pieces of legislation were introduced or enacted in the last year.
One of those pieces of legislation is intended to keep children safe from online predators and online exploitation. It will make it an offence to distribute intimate images without the consent of the person depicted.
“I think most would agree the Internet has not been regulated like it should be,” said Komarnicki and pointed to the cyber-bullying problems and suicides of two girls in Canada as a result of cyberbullying. “This is an attempt to deal with it and give the police something to use.”
The Conservative government has also introduced or proposed a number of initiatives that they hope with benefit consumers and the general public.
“All of this is something Canadians want to see and can expect from a Conservative government. Let’s look forward to another exciting and productive year in 2014,” said Komarnicki.