Since the federal election campaign ended the newly elected Conservative government has been working diligently in its transition to office. As it has been close to three months since the election I'd like to offer a bit of a re-cap of that time, and extend my sincere thanks to all who supported me.
During the election the issues I heard about most often from constituents involved concerns about long health care wait times, the need for flexible child care options, and the desire for tax relief. Often people wanted to offer opinions about specific proposals presented by the respective political parties in their campaigns. The feedback was important and much appreciated. Now that the election is over, I will continue to work on behalf of my constituents to advance these issues, and implement sound policies and programming.
This election Conservatives won with one hundred and twenty-four seats but in a minority government situation the government needs to be conscientious of the opposition, consulting them on legislation and our policy plans. We have the full intent of implementing the platform on which we were elected. As outlined during the election the top five priorities of this Conservative government are 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.
The only things that could divert us from our commitments would be a sharp down turn in the economy or defeat of some of our measures in parliament by the opposition. We told Canadians during the election that a Conservative government would be decisive and show leadership and we intend to do it!
On the Agricultural file, the first act carried out by the Honourable Chuck Strahl was the decision to immediately accelerate the distribution of the $755-million Grains and Oilseeds Payment Program. Farm families are now receiving these funds. We also promised to add another $500 million to the agriculture budget every year in the campaign and we will keep that commitment, as it is vital to addressing the significant challenges facing the agriculture industry. In addition, the existing Canadian Agriculture Income Stabilization Program (CAIS) will be completely overhauled to include a component for disaster relief.
I am honoured to be appointed as the Minister of National Defence. I look forward to the challenges ahead. I want to thank everyone who has contacted me personally or sent messages through the constituency and parliamentary offices to offer congratulations on my Ministerial appointment. I truly appreciate your thoughtfulness and will work hard in my new role to positively impact the lives of Canadians as head of this department and as a member of the government caucus.
My first priority will continue to be the people of Carleton-Mississippi Mills and my commitment to all of you will not change with my new responsibilities. During the next parliament I intend to maintain my practice of “In your area days‿, helping constituents in their affairs with the federal government, and will continue being active in communities across the riding. I believe that as an MP I must be answerable to constituents and be aware of their concerns. I look forward to continuing to serve you within the Conservative government and, now, as a Minister of the Crown. Thank you for your continued support.
Gordon O’Connor, MP
Carleton – Mississippi Mills