On track to a balanced budget

This week the House of Commons is on a five day break  as Members of Parliament return home and have the opportunity to participate in Remembrance Day ceremonies and gatherings. This year I was at Summerland Memorial park and later joined in gatherings that followed in Penticton, Peachland and Westbank Legion halls respectively. Honouring our veterans is a privilege of public office and it was very rewarding to join with so many Canadians who came out to show our sincere appreciation and respect for those brave men and women who gave so courageously to serve. I believe it is important when we remember our veterans that we are also mindful of those families who have lost a loved one in service to our country.

May we never forget the sacrifices of so many Canadians who have served or continue to serve in our armed forces.

Also occurring this week is the fiscal update from the Minister of Finance– currently Canada’s federal deficit for the 2012-2013 fiscal period stands at $18.9 billion– an amount that it is less than half of what existed in the 2009-2010 fiscal period and at the current rate of decline is expected to amount to a $ 3.7 billion budget surplus in the 2015-2016 fiscal period. These figures also take into account close to $3 billion in expected federal disaster assistance for Lac-Megantic and the province of Alberta related to flood damage. Canada’s employment also continues to improve; between July of 2009 and October of 2013 over one million more Canadians are now employed. This is roughly a 6.3% improvement in our national employment rate– other G7 countries over the same period of time range from Germany at 4%, the UK at 3.4% and Japan at 1%. Canada’s net debt to GDP ratio is currently just over 36%- this compares well to other G-7 countries such as the UK, France and the United States who are currently between 80-90% or Italy & Japan that are now over 100% net debt to GDP.

One other aspect of the federal government budget update that is often overlooked pertains to funding transfers to the Provinces. While previous Governments have made efforts to achieve a surplus federal budget this was in part realized by reducing funding transfers to the Provinces that in many respects is simply a form of downloading fiscal problems. The most recent fiscal updates confirms that key provincial transfer funds such as the Canada Health transfer, Canada social transfer, gas tax and other transfer programs are all increasing to the Provinces over the next six fiscal periods. Providing set funding increases over a defined period of time can better help provincial governments budget and partner with local governments to provide critical services that citizens depend on. Ultimately there is only one taxpayer and it is important for all levels of Government to not avoid making difficult decisions by downloading fiscal challenges onto others.

Over the course of this week I will be in many communities throughout Okanagan-Coquihalla before the House of Commons resumes session next week. If there is an issue of concern, a comment or question that you have please do not hesitate to contact my office.

I can be reached at 1-800-665-8711 or via email at [email protected]l.gc.ca

Dan Albas is the Member of Parliament for Okanagan-Coquihalla. His blog is DaninOttawa.com <http://danalbas.us4.list-manage1.com/track/click?u=5fb21c684a6f7994d6e2422d5&id=6cfbf5aaa2&e=21aa3a682f>  and previous MP reports can be read at the www.danalbas.com <http://danalbas.us4.list-manage.com/track/click?u=5fb21c684a6f7994d6e2422d5&id=070bf1e170&e=21aa3a682f>  website.

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About the Author

Dan Albas, Conservative member of Parliament for the riding of Central Okanagan-Similkameen-Nicola, is the shadow minister of innovation, science, economic development and internal trade, and sits on the standing committee on finance.

Before entering public life, Dan was the owner of Kick City Martial Arts, responsible for training hundreds of men, women and youth to bring out their best.

In British Columbia, Dan has been consistently one of the lowest spending MPs on office and administration related costs despite operating two offices to better serve local constituents.

Dan is consistently recognized as one of Canada’s top 10 most active members of Parliament on Twitter (@danalbas) and continues to write a weekly column published in many local newspapers and on this website.

He can be reached at [email protected] or call toll free at 1-800-665-8711.

The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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