Canada’s Economic Action Plan
On January 27, 2009, Minister of Finance Jim Flaherty and Prime Minister Stephen Harper introduced our government’s latest budget, Canada’s Economic Action Plan, which is our plan to stimulate the economy in this period of global economic downturns and is designed to pump money directly into the hands of Canadians. We believe that this will provide Canadians with the tools necessary to cope with the changing economic times and get through it. Minister Flaherty and our government undertook an unprecedented consultative effort to put together this budget. The Government of Canada consulted with the provinces and territories, with private sector economists, academics, business leaders, thousands of individual Canadians, Members of Parliament from all parties, and the Minister’s Economic Advisory Council.
In homes throughout Carleton-Mississippi Mills in the next month or so, you will be receiving my Spring 2009 Householder which will go through the details of this plan in-depth. I have outlined just a few of the aspects of Canada’s Economic Action Plan further in this article for you in the meantime.
Investing in Infrastructure
Our government has met with the Provinces and territories, municipal leaders, businesses and community groups – and one common theme is clear – investments in roads bridges and other infrastructure has to be part of our economic recovery plan.
When we put shovels in the ground and invest in these kinds of projects, we are first and foremost helping create jobs and economic activity today. We also improve our quality of life and long-term competitiveness for decades to come.
Over the next few months, we will be busy making announcements with respect to specific funding commitments locally and across the country.
Support for Business
The world is currently fighting a global economic downturn and this is having a serious effect on high technology and other businesses in this area.
Our government is responding to this challenge by:
- Investing $1.5 billion to support Canada’s Science and Technology sector
- Spending $4 billion on Scientific Research & Experimental Development (SR&ED) each year
- Providing economic stimulus through $31 billion of permanent business tax relief
- Increasing the borrowing authority of Export Development Canada to keep credit flowing
- Increasing the Business Development Bank’s loan portfolio by nearly $1 billion
And in terms of the employees by:
- Providing $1.5 billion in funding to increase the availability of training for both EI eligible and non EI eligible Canadians
- Offering additional supports for apprentices in the skilled trades programs
- Investing $500 million over two years in a Strategic Training and Transition Fund to support the particular needs of individuals who do not qualify for EI training, such as the self-employed or those who have been out of work for a prolonged period of time. Additional resources to help skilled new Canadians obtain the certification they need to work in Canada.
- Providing $500 million nationally in new funding to provinces and territories for labour market training
- Investing $200 million for the extension of work-sharing agreements by 14 weeks
The largest high technology company in our area is Nortel. Unfortunately, it is facing a very grave financial situation during this global economic downturn. It is and has been a training ground for many technology workers who have gone on to create their own companies and thus its continued existence is important to our area.
Nortel has filed for court-supervised restructuring under the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act (CCAA). This is a court-administered process that allows corporations the opportunity to restructure their business so that they can continue to be a viable and sustainable entity contributing to Canada’s economy. Export Development Canada has agreed to provide $30 million in secured short-term financing for their restructuring through CCAA. EDC is exploring other options with Nortel on commercial terms. Nortel states that it has every intention of emerging from the CCAA as a viable business.
Supporting our Farmers
Farming is a vital part of our riding and of the Canadian economy. In this Economic Action Plan, our government has introduced:
- A $500 million dollar Agricultural Flexibility Plan. This program will help farmers cope with costs of production pressures, promote innovation, ensure environmental sustainability and respond to the market challenges and opportunities important to each province and territory.
- A new investment to expand slaughterhouse capacity, in the neighbourhood of $50 million. This is a key commitment our government is making to support our beef and dairy industries and other livestock producers.