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Weekly Commentary  

What starts well...

Before I start this week's column with some good news, a sad note.

Doreen Van Basten passed away. Many of you knew her. I too was one of the privileged. She was a mentor, an encourager and an angel, all in one.

She's with the other angels now. Rest in peace.

The year got off to a good start. Statscan published the job stats for the last month of 2010.

If you recall, and as Statscan explained in their report, economists had predicted there would be an overall drop in full time jobs.

The predictions were wrong again.

Statscan recorded an increase of 38,000 full time jobs!

Given the fact that we are still looking at a fragile global recovery this was an encouraging report. It shows we have seen an increase of approximately 480,000 jobs since July 2009. That means there are more Canadians working full time now than before the global downturn.

This does not mean we should back off on our economic plan. There are still many Canadians looking for work. There are still concerns about other international pressures.

However, be assured that we will continue our basic approach of keeping federal taxes down and staying on track to eliminate the federal deficit.

As you know, I am always seeking your advice, from all over the Okanagan, Nicola and Highland Valleys.

Throughout December, whether I was door knocking or meeting people around the coffee table I was getting your feedback on the things that matter most to you. Now I'm doing one more round of the constituency in January to get feedback before we finalize the federal budget.

A budget date has not yet been set, but it will probably be tabled sometime in February or March.

The Prime Minister has asked each of us to make sure each of you has had a chance to input your thoughts on what you think should be a priority in Budget 2011.

This Budget will be key for a number of reasons. Probably most significant is the fact that both the Liberals and the NDP have stated they will vote against it.

Now that is a somewhat intriguing position. You declare you will vote against something before you have even seen it.

I would expect that from the Bloc. They are not interested in supporting anything that is good for Canada.

At any rate, if all three opposition parties vote against the Budget that means we'll be heading for the polls.

As a government, we will not be pushing for an election. However, we will be ready if one is forced on us. Here at home, the message I'm hearing is that you want us to stay focused on the economy and jobs.

That's our plan.


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