Advantage For Canadians

Creating an Advantage for Canadians

On November 23rd, Finance Minister Jim Flaherty laid out the government’s economic plan, Advantage Canada. The advantage is that after years of fiscal mismanagement, the government is determined to provide Canadians with an economic plan that will lower the debt and reduce the tax burden on Canadians even further.

We have some pressing deficiencies facing our economy including healthcare, the environment, developing a skilled and educated workforce, and building modern infrastructure like roads, bridges and public transit. Labour and infrastructure in particular are key drivers of our economy and if we don’t address the deficiencies, our economy will falter.

When reviewing the country’s expenses, the first place the Finance Minister looked was the country’s debt load and then the interest Canadians are paying just to service that debt. What he found was that Canadians paid $55 billion in interest this year, $34 billion by the Government of Canada and $21 billion by the provinces. That's as much money as all the governments in Canada pay for primary, secondary and post-secondary education in this country.

What he also found was that Canada will be running surpluses for the foreseeable future. In the past, surpluses have been used by previous governments to pay for a slew of pre-election goodies designed to win votes. Not this government.

Minister Flaherty and the Government have committed from now on to use surpluses to pay down the debt. Such a move will free up the money we now pay on interest. Not only will we have more funds to build and improve infrastructure, address skills and labour shortages and other priorities, we’ll be able to reduce the tax burden for Canadians.

Committing to using surpluses solely for the purposes of paying down the debt is unprecedented - as was the $13.2 billion dollars paid on the debt earlier this year for a savings in interest of $660 million. And while some might accuse the government of being too frugal, it’s the same reasoning many of us use when balancing our family budgets at the kitchen table.

Canadians work hard, pay their taxes, abide by the laws of the land and set aside a few dollars for retirement. We know the importance of balancing the books, living within our means and planning ahead. So does the government.

By paying down our debt and reducing interest payments the government has rejected short term gains in favour of long term stability and has created savings that we can invest in the priorities of Canadians. The advantage is a brighter economic future for Canada, one that ensures our hard work will pay off.

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About the Author

The Honourable Ron Cannan was first elected as Member of Parliament for Kelowna-Lake Country in January, 2006. He was subsequently elected in the 2008 and 2011 federal elections. He is a member of the Conservative Caucus.

On September 13th, 2012 Ron was summoned to be a member of the Queen’s Privy Council for Canada and will provide advice to the Government as a member of the Priorities and Planning Sub-Committee on Government Administration.

Ron successfully uses his experience and knowledge as a long-time Kelowna City Councillor and regional government representative to be an effective and enthusiastic champion for his riding and his constituents.

His greatest satisfaction comes from helping local organizations and citizens obtain the support they require from Ottawa. 

He is also dedicated to doing what it takes to ensure that the growing and vibrant communities in his riding continue to thrive and prosper.

He is proud of the partnership and cooperation between federal, provincial and municipal governments which have resulted in significant infrastructure projects including upgrades to Highway 97, expansion of the Kelowna International Airport, a new horticulture strategy for fruit growers, obtaining a full service passport office for Kelowna and addressing critical economic issues such as labour skills shortages.

He works closely with the local Chambers of Commerce and once a year arranges meetings for the Chamber with Cabinet Ministers and senior policy staff in Ottawa to move forward important local issues such as crime prevention and labour skills shortages.

He is also an ardent champion for important community initiatives including homelessness, mental health, women’s resources, and support of arts and culture.

On Parliament Hill, Ron has been a member of the Standing Committee on International Trade since 2006 supporting initiatives which will broaden the economic opportunities for local businesses and businesses Canada-wide.

In previous parliamentary sessions Ron has been a member of the Standing Committee for Government Operations and Estimates, Veteran’s Affairs, Human Resources and Social Development, the Scrutiny of Regulations Committee, and the Standing Committee for Fisheries and Oceans.

Ron is also involved in a variety of inter-parliamentary organizations: he is Vice Chair of the Canada-US Inter-Parliamentary Group, and a member of the Canada-Taiwan Friendship group.

As Chair of the Conservative Wine Caucus, Ron works with his colleagues across the country to promote the wine regions of Canada.  Ron tabled Motion 218(formerly Motion 601) which supports direct to consumer purchasing of Canadian wine. His motion became Bill C-311, sponsored by MP Dan Albas, seconded by Ron, which was passed into law on June 28th, 2012.

Prior to entering politics, Ron developed a diverse business background as a small business owner and had several years experience in marketing and sales management working with corporations including Coca-Cola, Costco and Corus Entertainment.

Very active in his community, Ron has been a Director for both the Central Okanagan Regional District and the Central Okanagan Hospital Board. Ron also served on the Okanagan University College Access to Training Advisory Board, the Glenmore Elementary School Parents Advisory Council, and the Kelowna Christian School Fund Raising Committee. He was co-founder of the Okanagan Volunteer Festival. Currently Ron is a member of the Sunrise Rotary Club of Kelowna and, along with his wife Cindy, was the honorary Chair of the 2012 Canadian Cancer Society Daffodil Ball.

Ron lives a family-oriented and active lifestyle with his wife Cindy. He is the proud father of three daughters and grandfather to three grandsons. His hobbies include music and sports.

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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