Weekly Commentary  

What? More good reports?

It was good news, so you didn't see it in any national headlines.

Headline or not, there it was. The international organization which reports on the Corruption and Transparency levels of 190 nations gave Canada another boost in the right direction.

In 2005, before we formed government, Canada had dropped to 14th place. Then in 2006, after the election, we brought in the Federal Accountability Act and a number of other reforms. That moved us up to 8th position two years later.

This week, due to ongoing reforms related to increased transparency and anti-corruption protections, we moved up again. Now we're #6 in the world. While we feel good about this we are intent on moving towards the #1 spot.

On the economic front we also had a good report, another month of GDP growth for Canada. That means our economy has shown positive growth during 11 of the last 12 months.

The same day the GDP growth was announced the International Monetary Fund put out a statement on the economic health of nations. Once again, they have put Canada as number one for economic strength among the G-7 and industrial nations.

The global recovery is fragile, the US economy is worrisome, but Canada is the best positioned coming out of this downturn.

That doesn't mean we've got it all figured out. People are still looking for jobs. The good news is that the economy has now created more jobs (420,000) than were lost during the downturn.

On a local issue with national implications, I've been meeting with some constituents who have MS. I realize there are a significant number of people throughout the riding (and across Canada) who are dealing with this condition.

As you are aware, health care is the constitutional jurisdiction of the provinces. As a federal government we transfer an annual health care grant to the provinces. We have increased the amount of that transfer by 6%.

It is true that we have frozen all government operational spending for the next 3 years. We have also frozen all hospitality, travel and hosting expenses for the next 3 years at 2009 levels.

But we are not reducing support programs to people.

That's one of the reasons for the increase to the health care grant. We increase the overall amount the provinces make the decisions on which services should be funded.

Having said that I can tell you that we have been in discussions with the federal Minister of Health on the issue of research related to a new treatment for MS known as 'Liberation Therapy'.

A number of projects are now being funded which hopefully will bring more information to bear on the treatment itself.

I have met with constituents who have experienced improvement and relief after taking this therapy outside the country.

As I said, it is up to provinces to decide what services should be funded. Meanwhile, at the federal level, we are working with researchers and with those who are receiving treatment to determine what should be the future involvement of the federal government.

The information I am getting from constituents is invaluable to this process. As with other challenges, people working together make things happen.

I'll keep you posted.

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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