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Cannan: Defeat of federal budget will derail many positive initiatives
The federal budget of 2011, tabled earlier this week, was designed as a low tax plan aimed at jobs and growth.
It contained targeted spending measures toward those who needed it, while maintaining the necessary fiscal restraint required during tough economic times.
But the Liberal Party, the New Democratic Party and the Bloc Quebecois have each said they will not support the budget, claiming it is out of touch with ordinary Canadians.
In Kelowna-Lake Country, had the Opposition parties supported it, the 2011 budget would have helped low income seniors and caregivers looking after aging parents or disabled family members.
It would have helped small business and local manufacturers create and maintain jobs.
It would have helped homeowners and local contractors through the extension of the Home Energy Retrofit program to reduce home heating costs.
It would have helped Canadian Armed Forces Veterans make the job transition to civil society and local volunteer firefighters with a much-needed tax break on their expenses.
Our colleges and university students would have received more breaks on tuition costs and funding for innovative research and development efforts which would have supported our forestry and agriculture sectors.
Local municipalities would have been able to count on more funds targeted for community infrastructure projects and a permanent gas tax fund which would have made long term infrastructure planning possible.
Moreover, the budget would have built on our efforts to protect the financial security of families and individuals including personal income tax savings of more than $3,000 for the average family of four, a $1,200 per year child care benefit and pension income splitting for seniors.
The tabled budget also renewed our commitment to eliminate the federal deficit in three years and to pay down the national debt, while protecting critical funding to the provinces for health care and social programs.
Far from being out of touch with ordinary Canadians, the initiatives contained in the budget were the direct result of the pre-budget consultations with ordinary Canadians including consultations here in Kelowna and Lake Country.
As with all previous federal budgets under the Conservative government, you came forward with your priorities and offered sensible, practical solutions to strengthen the economy.
By listening to you, our Conservative government has delivered a great deal for Kelowna-Lake Country constituents—the Highway 97 expansion, a passport office, support for our fruit growers, funding for seniors’ housing and senior community programs, affordable housing, funding for homelessness and youth at risk, small business support, local green initiatives, parks and pathways, transit expansion, arts and culture and support for community crime initiatives like the Organized Crime Task Force.
During the recession, important stimulus funding supported local infrastructure through a three-way federal/provincial/municipal partnership, resulting in significant investment in our community.
Not only did we create jobs we built roads, bridges, water quality systems, and community facilities that will support a thriving local economy for years to come.
Prior to being elected as the MP for Kelowna-Lake Country, I spent nine years working for the community as a Kelowna city councillor.
It is that experience that continues to guide me when I am in Ottawa.
As the next election looms, opposing parties will try to convince you that the federal government has failed you or that I have failed you.
I trust that you will consider what we have accomplished together and look forward as much as I do to the great future of our communities and the prosperity and success of the Okanagan.
As for me, it is an honour to have been given the opportunity to serve you these past five-plus years.
I hope I can continue to be your Kelowna-Lake Country voice in Ottawa.
Ron Cannan is the Conservative MP for Kelowna-Lake Country.