Harper sets out four priorities
Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced today that a re-elected Conservative Government will focus immediately on implementing four key priorities for Canadians.
These priorities are:
- Our low-tax plan for jobs and economic growth to complete the recovery and protect and create jobs now.
- Our low-tax plan for families that focuses on supporting Canadian seniors by enhancing the Guaranteed Income Supplement and cracking down on elder abuse.
- Our low-tax plan to eliminate the deficit while protecting Canada’s universal health-care system by maintaining 6 per cent annual increases in federal transfers to the provinces and territories.
- To bundle and pass within Parliament’s first 100 days the key crime reduction bills that the Ignatieff-led Coalition has obstructed.
“These four areas — implementing our low-tax plan to complete the economic recovery and create jobs, keeping taxes down on families and supporting and protecting Canada’s seniors, eliminating the deficit while helping the provinces and territories strengthen health care services, and keeping communities safe while holding criminals accountable — are shared priorities of Canadians and the Conservative Party,” the Prime Minister said. “A re-elected Conservative Government will deliver real benefits in these areas that are affordable without raising taxes on Canadian businesses or families.”
Now is not the time for instability, or for reckless, opportunistic experiments. The global economy remains fragile and Canadians remain concerned about their jobs, their communities and their children’s future. Stephen Harper has a plan to meet these challenges — a plan that is working — and we need to stay the course.
“Canadians face a clear choice in this election between, on one hand, the opportunistic and reckless Michael Ignatieff-led Coalition, with its high-tax agenda that would stall our recovery, kill jobs and set hard-working families back; and, on the other hand, principled leadership and stable national Government with our low-tax plan for jobs and growth,” Prime Minister Harper observed. “Conservatives are Here for Canada — a Canada strong and free, a country of opportunity for all, proud of its history and confident of its future. We ask Canadians to support and join us in taking the next steps forward in building this great country for our children and grandchildren.”
- Since coming to office in 2006, Stephen Harper’s Government has been focused on the priorities of Canadians.
- Our Conservative Government has lowered taxes on job-creating businesses, invested in training and education, kept taxes down on families and supported Canadian seniors, reduced the deficit while increasing support for health care, and stood up for victims and their families.
- In these critical areas, we have a strong record of delivering real benefits. Among other things, we have:
- Cut taxes nearly 120 times on businesses, families and individuals.
- Supported research and innovation through initiatives like the $2-billion Knowledge Infrastructure Program.
- Invested in job training and support for workers through programs like the Targeted Initiative for Older Workers.
- Established the Canada Student Grants Program to help low-income and disabled students attend post-secondary institutions.
- Lowered taxes on the average Canadian family by more than $3,000 per year.
- Established the Universal Child Care Benefit, providing $1,200 per year, per child, to support all parents and to respect their right to choose the form of child care that is best for their family.
- Created the Children’s Fitness Tax Credit, a $500 credit per child, to help cover the costs of putting children in sports or physical activities.
- Lowered taxes on Canadian seniors, including introducing income sharing for pensioners, resulting in 85,000 seniors being removed from the tax rolls entirely.
- Increased funding for the New Horizons for Seniors Program, which supports projects led or inspired by seniors that promote volunteerism, mentorship and social participation by seniors.
- Reduced the federal deficit by 25 per cent in 2010-11. It is projected to shrink by almost 25 per cent again in 2011-12 and be eliminated altogether in 2014-15.
- Made new investments in medical research and training, including the Canadian Partnership against Cancer, the Canada Gairdner International Awards to recognize important contributions to medical research, the Heart and Stroke Foundation Centre for Stroke Recovery and further support for Alzheimer’s disease research;
- Increased health transfers to the provinces by more than 30 per cent since taking office in 2006.
- Passed justice legislation to toughen sentencing and bail for serious gun crimes; abolished the faint-hope clause that allowed early parole for murders; cracked down on street racing and drug-impaired driving; strengthened measures to protect children from online sexual exploitation; ended the practice of giving 2-for-1 credit for time served in pre-trial custody; ended the practice of granting early parole to white-collar criminals and other similar offenders; and ensured tougher sentences for fraud to help fight white-collar crime.
- Established the National Anti-Drug Strategy to help prevent illicit drug use and to support access to treatment for those with drug dependencies.
- Funded the Youth Gang Prevention Fund, providing support for successful community programs to help at-risk youth to avoid involvement in gangs and criminal activity.
- These four areas —– implementing our low-tax plan to complete our economic recovery and protect and create jobs now, keeping taxes down on Canadian families and supporting and protecting Canada’s seniors, eliminating the deficit while helping the provinces and territories strengthen health care services, and keeping communities safe while holding criminals accountable — are shared priorities of Canadians and the Conservative Party.
- We have delivered in all four areas.
- And a re-elected Stephen Harper Government will continue to deliver on them.
- A re-elected Conservative Government will focus on four key priorities.
1) Our Low-Tax Plan for Jobs and Economic Growth
- Stephen Harper’s steady economic leadership is steering the country through the worst global recession since the 1930s.
- Canada’s Economic Action Plan is helping the country emerge from the global recession as one of the world’s top-performing advanced economies.
- But there is more to be done. The global recovery remains fragile.
- That’s why last month, the Minister of Finance tabled the Next Phase of Canada’s Economic Action Plan — a low-tax plan for jobs and growth — to complete the recovery, create jobs now and lay a strong foundation for long-term economic growth.
- Our budget includes prudent, low-tax measures to help small businesses hire new employees; incentives to encourage manufacturers to invest in new machinery; extension of the Work-Sharing program to protect Canadian jobs; a loan program to help new Canadians get their foreign credentials recognized in Canada; and support for research and development, including commercialization initiatives between businesses, colleges, and universities.
- The Next Phase of Canada’s Economic Action Plan received praise from a diverse group of stakeholders, ranging from the Canadian Federation of Independent Business, the Federation of Canadian Municipalities and even the Canadian Labour Congress.
- However, the Ignatieff-led Coalition, backed by the NDP and the Bloc Québécois, opportunistically opposed our budget, choosing instead to force this unnecessary election.
- A re-elected Conservative Government will implement our low-tax plan for jobs and economic growth to complete the recovery and protect and create jobs now.
- And we will do this without raising taxes.
2) Our Low-Tax Plan for Families and Canada’s Seniors
- Stephen Harper’s Government has a strong record of lowering taxes on Canadian families and supporting our seniors.
- A re-elected Conservative Government will continue to keep taxes down for Canadian families so that they can keep more of their hard-earned money to spend according to their own needs and priorities. As a result of Stephen Harper’s low-tax plan, the average Canadian family is already paying $3,000 less in federal taxes each and every year.
- We will follow the same low-tax approach to help Canada’s seniors by:
- Increasing the Guaranteed Income Supplement for the poorest and most vulnerable seniors, providing an additional annual benefit of up to $600 for single seniors and $840 for couples. This measure represents an investment of more than $300 million per year, and will further improve the financial security and well-being of more than 680,000 seniors across Canada. It also represents the single biggest increase to the Guaranteed Income Supplement in over 25 years.
- Establishing a new Family Caregiver Tax Credit to help families cover the cost of caring for a sick or aging relative.
- Providing an additional $10 million over two years for the New Horizons for Seniors Program in order to keep seniors active in their communities and raise awareness of important issues such as elder abuse.
- Amending section 718.2 of the Criminal Code to add vulnerability due to age to the list of aggravating factors to be considered by courts when sentencing criminals who commit offences against seniors.
- These important measures will ensure that families get to keep more of their hard-earned money and that seniors are able to live in comfort and dignity.
- And we will do this without raising taxes.
3) Our Low-Tax Plan to Eliminate the Deficit While Protecting Canada’s Health-Care System
- Stephen Harper has a plan to eliminate the federal deficit without raising taxes or reducing transfer payments to the provinces and territories for health care, education and other social services.
- Our plan is working. We have significantly reduced the deficit while maintaining record high transfer payments to the provinces.
- We are on track to eliminate the deficit by 2014-15. Unlike the previous Liberal Government, we are doing so by finding efficiencies in government, not cutting health-care transfers.
- Stephen Harper’s Government has kept its commitment to provide long-term, predictable health care funding to provinces and territories.
- Since taking office in 2006, our Conservative Government has increased the Canada Health Transfer by over 30 per cent.
- This stands in stark contrast with the record of the previous Liberal Government. They have a dismal record, cutting transfers to the provinces by $25 billion, or nearly 30 per cent, in the 1990s.
- Our stable, predictable funding has given the provinces and territories the growing resources with which to address their health care system needs.
- Our approach respects the provincial jurisdiction over health care, and is starting to show real results.
- The latest evidence shows improved wait times in a number of priority areas and the largest yearly increase in new doctors since the 1980s.
- A re-elected Conservative Government will build on our strong record of protecting Canada’s universal health-care system by increasing funding for health care by 6 per cent per year and making sure that Canadians see better treatment from the new money.
- Maintaining our funding at record levels will ensure that all Canadians have access to high-quality health care regardless of their ability to pay.
- And we will do this without raising taxes.
4) Keeping Canada’s Communities and Streets Safe
- Stephen Harper’s Government has succeeded in passing a number of important new laws to tackle crime. But the Ignatieff-NDP-Bloc Québécois Coalition has fought us every step of the way. As a result, many urgently-needed measures have been blocked or delayed in Parliament for years.
- Prior to this unnecessary election, we were attempting to pass other pieces of legislation to protect society and hold criminals accountable, including bills to:
- Crack down on organized drug crime.
- End house arrest for serious and violent criminals.
- Eliminate pardons for serious criminals.
- Establish tougher sentences and mandatory jail time for sexual offences against children.
- Strengthen the handling of violent and repeat young offenders (Sébastien’s Law).
- Give law enforcement and national security agencies up-to-date tools to fight crime in today’s high-tech telecommunications environment.
- Put public safety first, when considering requests to transfer prisoners back to Canada.
- Give police and courts the tools they need to investigate and prevent acts of terrorism.
- Allow victims of terrorism to sue perpetrators and supporters of terrorism in Canadian courts.
- Streamline long and complex trials to ensure justice is delivered swiftly.
- We believe that the justice and corrections systems must put victims and public safety first — and Canadians agree. But the Ignatieff-NDP-Bloc Québécois Coalition has obstructed these necessary reforms for the sake of their out-of-touch, soft-on-crime ideology that makes apologies for criminals.
- Enough is enough. A Stephen Harper-led majority Government will bundle the key crime reduction bills into comprehensive legislation, and pass them within the new Parliament’s first 100 days.
- These will be the priorities of a re-elected Conservative Government. Four priorities for Canada:
- Implementing our low-tax plan for jobs and economic growth to complete the recovery and protect and create jobs now.
- Keeping taxes down for Canadian families and providing support to Canada’s seniors by increasing the Guaranteed Income Supplement and cracking down on elder abuse.
- Eliminating the deficit while protecting Canada’s universal health-care system by increasing federal funding by 6 per cent per year.
- Keeping our communities and streets safe by passing our important justice legislation;
- All of these important initiatives are affordable and can be done without raising taxes.
- Michael Ignatieff and his Coalition partners, the NDP and the Bloc Québécois, have a fundamentally different agenda.
- An Ignatieff-led Coalition would lead to higher spending, higher taxes and instability for the economy and the country.
- They would increase taxes on businesses, families, students and workers.
- The choice for Canadians is clear: Stephen Harper’s low-tax plan for jobs and growth to complete the economic recovery, create jobs now and keep taxes down for Canadian families. Or Michael Ignatieff as Prime Minister, pursuing — with the support of the NDP and Bloc Québécois — a high-tax agenda that will stall the recovery, kill jobs and set back the financial security of Canadian families.