This week I will be voting in full support of Bill C-38 the Jobs, Growth and Long-term Prosperity Act. My support for this Bill will be a disappointment for some citizens who for a variety of different reasons oppose the second phase of our Governments Economic Action Plan that is carried out in Budget 2012. When I ran to become a Member of Parliament I did so with the intent to support a platform that recognizes the importance of jobs and supporting our regional economies. In our region some of the largest employers in communities like Okanagan Falls, Princeton, Merritt and Logan Lake are supported through mining activities and responsible resource development. Many of the spin-off industries that also benefit from this industry are located in communities like West Kelowna, Penticton and Summerland. It is also the revenue from resource royalties that help fund the very services that we as Canadians depend upon.
When the US Housing market collapsed we all watched the resultant decline in our local forestry dependent communities. Mill closures and resulting unemployment in communities where well paying jobs are in short supply are very serious concerns. While we are fortunate to see our resource sector being revitalized, we must also recognize that it is important to diversify and expand our markets so that our Canadian economy can enjoy more stability. Likewise we must also recognize that in order to diversify to other trading partners we require efficient access, not just to the markets themselves but also to our resources. We also cannot ignore that today Canada is facing one of the greatest and most challenging global economic environments in modern day history. While our Government is criticized for attempting to do “too much” with Bill C-38 the opposition and supporters are suggesting that Canada should instead do nothing.
Obviously this is a point of disagreement and one we have debated about at length, in fact there has not been a budget bill for the past twenty years to receive as much study as Bill C38 has. It should also be noted that in spite of opposition claims to the contrary, Budget 2012 is actually a smaller budget document then the Bills were for budgets in 2009, 2010, 2011. Recently our Government actually voted to extend the House hours until midnight so that even more debate could occur. Although not widely reported in the media, it was the NDP who voted against increasing the debate time on Bill C-38. I am reasonably confident that regardless of the amount of bills or debate time allocated the Opposition and supporters would continue to remain opposed to Budget 2012.
Fortunately there are some facts that can be agreed upon. During our Government's economic action plan, Canada’s job creation record has been the best in the entire G7. Further, our consecutive budgets have also ensured that Canada’s net debt to GDP ratio is by far the lowest in the G7. More importantly both the International Monetary Fund and the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development have predicted that the Canadian economy will be amongst the very best performing in the industrialized world over the next 24 months. In summary, Budget 2012 continues to build upon the success of Budget 2011 in ensuring that Canada is a leading country in a challenging and fragile international economic environment. I do appreciate that there are those who oppose Bill C-38 and my support for this Bill will not be welcomed by them. I have heard from and met with many different citizens who disagree with this Bill much as I have met with a great many who are in full support. Often in any healthy democratic environment there will be disagreement on issues of importance and for elected individuals how we vote will invariably disappoint some much as it will meet the approval of others. In this instance I believe it is important for those disappointed by my vote to hear firsthand the reasons why I am supporting Bill C-38 and the jobs it will protect and enhance throughout the Okanagan-Coquihalla region.
This article is written by or on behalf of an outsourced columnist and does not necessarily reflect the views of Castanet.