Speech From the Throne
On April 3, 2006 Parliament resumed since the election was called last November. As the Minister of National Defence I am extremely honoured to be part of this new Government, as this last month through various government announcements we have started to demonstrate to Canadians that we are committed to keeping our election promises. At the beginning of April, the Speech from the Throne was delivered – the first step forward in demonstrating that we are committed to revitalizing the way the federal government operates.
The Throne Speech, delivered on April 4th by the Governor General outlined five priorities that Canadians from every part of the country supported during the recent federal election. This Government sets out to:
- Clean up government by passing the Federal Accountability Act;
- Provide real tax relief to working families by cutting the GST;
- Make our streets and communities safer by cracking down on crime;
- Help parents with the cost of raising their children; and
- Work with the provinces to establish a Patient Wait Times Guarantee.
As your Member of Parliament and a Cabinet Minister I assure you that this government will work hard to deliver on these promises made to all Canadians.
Recently, the Treasury Board President, John Baird, announced The Federal Accountability Act – a top priority stipulated by this new government. With this plan, our government is delivering on its commitment to stand up for accountability. We are taking action to earn back the trust of Canadians. Concrete changes for Canadians include:
- Reducing the opportunity to exert influence with money by banning corporate union, and large personal political donations;
- Giving Canadians confidence that lobbying is done ethically with a five-year lobbying ban on former Ministers, their aids and senior public servants;
- Ensuring people who see problems in government know they can speak up by providing real protection for whistleblowers; and
- Ensuring Canadians know how their money is spent by enhancing the power for the Auditor General to follow the money.
Provisions under the Act will come into effect at different times – most will come into effect on Royal Assent while other will come into force later since they require significant work to develop new guidelines and regulations (for example, measures related to elections and lobbying).
The measures in this Act are about accountability for everyone – from the Prime Minister to parliamentarians, from public-sector employees to Canadians who receive government funding. The bottom line is making government work better for Canadians.
New Veteran’s Charter
The Government of Canada on April 1st, 2006, brought into force the New Veterans Charter to better meet the needs of modern-day Canadian Forces members, Veterans and their families as they transition from military to civilian life. The New Veterans Charter is the most significant piece of legislation government has introduced in 60 years, in reference to veterans affairs. Each of its programs are focused on wellness, independence and the successful transition to civilian life. It offers:
- Financial benefits;
- Group health insurance;
- Job placement assistance;
- The lump-sum Disability Award and certain allowances; and
- Support to families.
All of these services will be supported by individualized case management. For more information visit the Veterans Affairs Canada web site at www.vac-acc.gc.ca
For more information on any of the above or assistance with federal government problem resolutions please contact my Constituency office at 592-3469 or email email@example.com
Gordon O’Connor, P.C., M.P.
Carleton – Mississippi Mills