Economic Action Plan 2013

If there is one thing I have learned in public office, both during my time at City Hall and now as a Member of Parliament, it’s that you will hear from critics and those who disagree with Government policies and direction far more frequently than from those who are supportive. However when reading the comments and reactions to our Government’s Economic Action Plan for 2013 announced last week I was pleasantly surprised to hear from well over thirty different national organizations all expressing support for measures contained with the 2013 Economic Action Plan. Critics have, in the past, suggested that our Economic Action Plan budgets are too comprehensive and should be simplified. However, when I review the comments in support of the 2013 Economic Action Plan from such a diverse national group of Canadian organizations there is recognition that the need to take action in a broadly based manner is clearly an important one. That is not to suggest there are none who are opposed, as healthy democratic societies will always have disagreement in debate and it is important to hear from all sides. Some of the measures in Budget 2013 do address some concerns that were raised in previous budgets.

For example, it was pointed out last year that funeral and burial benefits for Canadian veterans needed updating and improvement. In the Economic Action Plan for 2013 in response to these concerns this program has been simplified and the funeral service reimbursement rate has been doubled up to $7,376. This in turn prompted the Royal Canadian Legion to issue a statement, “The Legion’s national letter writing campaign is clearly working as we now have an increase in the funding for funeral costs and removal of restrictions around their use”. This is one of the 34 comments I read recently in response to the budget and demonstrates the importance of Government listening to the concerns of citizens and taking action. In addition I have also read positive comments from the Association of Canadian Community Colleges, the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, The Federation of Canadian Municipalities, Canadian Taxpayer’s Federation, the Canadian Federation of Small Business, CGA Association of Canada, Canadian Restaurant and Food-services Association, Canadian Home Builders Association, BMO Financial Group, Aerospace Industries of Canada, Funeral Service Association of Canada, Canadian Paralympics Committee, Habitat for Humanity and even popular TV Home renovations host Mike Holmes. These are just a random sampling of the number of diverse organizations that have identified measures in the 2013 Economic Action Plan that will be helpful to Canadians.

By the numbers, Canada remains in a position to balance the budget by 2015-16 – this is in large part due to lower Government operational spending, reduced by a further $2 billion over the next two years, and a strong national economy with a diversified, comprehensive and strategic approach towards job creation. Today there are currently 950,000 more jobs than in July of 2009- 90% of these are full time and 80% are in the wealth generating private sector. Canada’s debt to GDP ratio is 35.8%; this is the lowest in the G-7 where the average is over 80%. When you consider that Canada is currently paying $31 billion annually to service existing debt it is easy to appreciate why many countries with much higher debt levels continue to face very serious fiscal struggles. Also, Canada has continued to maintain an AAA credit rating which helps to ensure fiscal and investment stability. That in turn helps to increase employment and reduce borrowing charges. Although this is only a very brief overview of the Economic Action Plan Budget for 2013 I believe it is the right budget at the right time to keep Canada strong by following the same proven principles that have ensured our nation’s leading position within the G-7.

This article is written by or on behalf of an outsourced columnist and does not necessarily reflect the views of Castanet.

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About the Author

Dan Albas is the Member of Parliament for the riding of Central Okanagan-Similkameen-Nicola and the co-chair of the Standing Joint Committee for the Scrutiny of Regulations.

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.

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

Dan welcomes comments, questions and concerns from citizens and is often available to speak to groups and organizations on matters of federal concern. 

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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