Full Text Political Transcripts February 20, 2014: Liberal Party Leader Justin Trudeau’s Speech at the Opening of the Liberal Biennial Convention

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Speech by Liberal Party of Canada Leader, Justin Trudeau, in Montréal, QC

Posted on February 21, 2014
February 20, 2014

Source: Liberal Party, 2-21-14

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Welcome to my hometown.

Welcome to your hometown.

I was born a Montrealer in Ottawa.

Ottawa was because of my dad’s job, where he served his country. My brothers and I grew up in a house that wasn’t ours. The family was simply passing through Ottawa.

However, when we used to come to Montreal with my father, we could see that he felt at home.

Montreal was his real world. It was our home.

The idea of Montreal made us dream, in our burgeoning imagination as children, it had become a magical place.

And not just because in those days the Habs won the Stanley Cup.

So here I am, a few decades later, a Member of Parliament from Montreal, and it’s my turn to see my children grow up in Ottawa.

This is why I’m so proud to welcome you here tonight.

Each of us has a place called home. Each of us knows that a political commitment and public service starts in his local community.

We are all proud of our homes. We are all ready to justify how it’s important and special.

Let me talk to you about Montreal.

Montreal, the francophone metropolis of the Americas, where people from different origins, different cultures, and different religions came to settle, and where they have lived up to their challenge of succeeding, by coming together.

Make no mistake about it, in Canada, all our big cities have a wonderful diversity. In the Prairies, there are even small towns where there are more cultural communities than found in many countries.

Diversity makes us strong because it requires us to be kind. It requires courtesy, generosity of spirit. It means we have to understand one another.

It has made of Canadians a fair people.

I want Canadians from outside Quebec to know something. I know you worry about how divisions are being stoked in the province these days. How identity politics are generating fear and intolerance.

Well, have faith.

This idea that diversity is strength has never been a foreign idea here.

We first talked about this diversity here, in the St-Lawrence valley, in the French of the New World. From Samuel de Champlain to Georges-Étienne Cartier, from Wilfrid-Laurier to Pierre Trudeau, we have developed it, and we have shared it.

And, together, all across this great land, we made it into the idea of Canada.

To my fellow Quebecers, I say this: we have spent too long in protest. No wonder. For a decade, we have had a federal government that has no answers for the economic problems that feed fear and anxiety.

When progress stalls, fear moves forward. And fear can only be beaten back with hope.

There’s a man in the audience tonight who has fought for that idea as much as anyone ever has. A friend, a colleague, a mentor, an inspiration, a fellow Montrealer (and soon, a full time volunteer for the Liberal Party of Canada).

This will be Irwin Cotler’s last convention as a Member of Parliament. Please join me in thanking him for all he has done for his community, for his country, and for our shared values.

My friends, a year and a half ago, in the riding next to Irwin’s — my riding, Papineau, I kicked off my campaign to lead our party.

I launched the campaign on a simple, important idea. The idea we just heard Chrystia and Larry Summers wrestle with.  The idea I need you to focus on all weekend; that if we do not give everyone a real and fair chance to succeed, than we are not living up to this country’s basic premise.

You see we have a real problem. The middle class is in trouble. People haven’t had a real raise in 30 years, while inequality has increased, and household debt has exploded.

Those who practice the politics of division see in this an opportunity to exploit. An opportunity to sow fear and mistrust. To point fingers and lay blame.

It’s much easier to distract people from this problem, than it is to solve it.

People are susceptible to fearful, divisive messages when they are worried. Worried about their jobs, their debts, their retirement, their kids’ future.

Let’s be perfectly clear, in a rich and prosper economy, to force someone to choose between their religious principles and their employment, would be not only unacceptable, but simply inconceivable.

In a growing and fair economy, the Parti Québécois’ divisive plan would not only be unrealistic, it would be unthinkable.

But in the absence of a real and fair chance, fear and division can take root anywhere.

My friends. I have no interest in joining Mr. Harper and Mr. Mulcair in a competition to see who can make Canadians angrier.

And neither should you.

Last year, during our leadership campaign, together with my colleagues, we got hundreds of thousands of our fellow citizens interested in politics.

Many of them, for the first time.

Contrast that with Mr. Harper’s party. This month his Government introduced an Act in Parliament that would make it harder for Canadians to vote.

For me, the legislation can be summed up as this: the government will let you vote, if you insist.

But really, they’d rather you didn’t.

Mr. Harper’s party thinks that Canadians don’t care. That we won’t bother.

Look around you. Look at the new faces in this room. Look at all the people you have never met. Find strength in each other. Have faith in each other.

Together, we are going to prove them wrong.

Millions of Canadians, some watching tonight, are counting on us.

Let’s let them know: we won’t let you down.

We are gathering at a critical moment for our country.

The conversation we will have this weekend is particularly important.

While some people are trying to distract us from the key issues, I am asking you to stay on course. Let’s leave our opponents to continue worrying about our success, and we will worry about the success of Canadians.

I would ask you to look down the road at the big picture that presents itself in front of us, and to reflect on the country that we will be leaving to our children.

We are here to hope. We are to work hard. We are here to build. We are here put together the team and the plan to make this country better.

That’s why this weekend, in this city (my city), matters so very much.

After 8 long years, Canadians are tired of Mr. Harper’s party and of their negative approach to politics. Canadians are tired of the politics of fear and division.

But they don’t just want a different government. They want a better government. They want a government that is focused on making sure each and every Canadian has a real and fair chance at success.

We Liberals are going to build the team and the plan, and provide the leadership Canada needs to make it happen. Let’s be ambitious, not for ourselves, or for our party, but for our country.

My friends, we all have personal reasons for being here. People who are dear to us. Places that matter to us.

For me, there are three people in particular. Well, three for now. But really, really close to four… In fact, Sophie could give birth at any moment. Which is why, even though she really wanted to, she couldn’t be with us tonight.

In fact, if you don’t mind, I thought it’d be nice to give her a call.

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Canadian Political Headlines February 20, 2014: Justin Trudeau kicks off Liberal convention with partisan speech

CANADIAN POLITICAL HEADLINES

POLITICAL HEADLINES

Justin Trudeau kicks off Liberal convention with partisan speech

Liberal leader says Canadians are tired of what he calls fear and division sown by Harper govenment

Source: CBC, 2-20-14

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As Liberals gathered in Montreal for a policy convention this weekend, Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau’s opening speech Thursday evening took shots at the Harper government, saying Canadians are tired of the tactics of fear and division practised by the Conservatives….READ MORE

Canadian Political Headlines February 20, 2014: Keystone XL gains no ground after Stephen Harper meets with Barack Obama

CANADIAN POLITICAL HEADLINES

POLITICAL HEADLINES

Keystone XL gains no ground after Stephen Harper meets with Barack Obama

Source: Financial Post, 2-20-14‎

President Barack Obama gave no ground on the Keystone XL pipeline after meeting with Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, who is pressuring the U.S. to get construction approved….READ MORE

Political Musings February 20, 2014: Obama owes Harper a pack of beer for Canada’s women’s hockey gold

CANADIAN POLITICAL MUSINGS

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POLITICAL MUSINGS

Obama owes Harper a pack of beer for Canada’s women’s hockey gold

By Bonnie K. Goodman

After waging a pack of beer for each of the US-Canada hockey match-ups at the Sochi Winter Olympic games United States President Barack Obama now owes Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper a pack of beer, after Canada’…READ MORE

Canadian Political Headlines February 20, 2014: Obama owes Harper a pack of beer for Canada women’s hockey gold

CANADIAN POLITICAL HEADLINES

POLITICAL HEADLINES

Obama owes Harper a pack of beer

Harper and Obama shake hands
US President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Stephen Harper in Toluca, Mexico during the Three Amigos Summit

After waging a pack of beer for each of the US-Canada hockey match-ups at the Sochi Winter Olympics US President Barack Obama now owes Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper a pack of beer, after Canada’s Women’s hockey team won gold beating Team USA 3-2 in overtime on Thursday, Feb. 20, 2014.

Another pack of beer is up in the air when the US and Canada’s men’s hockey teams meet in the semi-final on Friday, Feb. 21. Obama and Harper made the bet during the Three Amigo’s Summit in Mexico this past week. Canada is the defending champions in both Women’s and Men’s hockey.

   I’m betting @barackobama one case of Canadian beer per hockey game this week. #teamusa is good, but #WeAreWinter. #GoCanadaGo @WhiteHouse

— Stephen Harper (@pmharper) February 20, 2014

.@pmharper and I bet on the women’s and men’s US-Canada hockey games. Winner gets a case of beer for each game. #GoTeamUSA! -bo

— The White House (@WhiteHouse) February 20, 2014

Full Text Political Transcripts February 19, 2014: Joint Statement by President Obama, President Peña Nieto, and Prime Minister Harper at Three Amigos Summit

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Joint Statement by North American Leaders

Source: PMO, 2-19-14

21st Century North America: Building the Most Competitive and Dynamic Region in the World

Toluca, Mexico
19 February 2014

We, the Leaders of North America, met today in Toluca, Mexico, to recognize the strength of our relationship and open a new chapter in our partnership. We are determined to promote inclusive broad-based economic growth for the well-being of our citizens, so that 21st century North America sets new global standards for trade, education, sustainable growth, and innovation. Our region is among the most competitive and dynamic in the world. We have a shared vision for its future, and a strong political, legal, and institutional framework to build upon.

Our countries are established democracies and share values and aspirations. Countless contacts among our societies bring us together. We generate close to 30 per cent of global goods and services. Our trade is at least 265 per cent larger than twenty years ago, when the North American Free Trade Agreement came into force, and is now worth more than one trillion dollars per year, while investment within the region has been multiplied by six. Our three economies benefit from each other’s stability and complementarities, and a shared commitment to creating good jobs and opportunities for all of our citizens. Private investment is increasingly directed towards North America, in recognition of the competitive advantage of our integrated production and supply chains, and our highly skilled workforce.

Shared and Inclusive Prosperity

Our engagement as a region with the rest of the world has a direct impact on the competitiveness of our economies and the prosperity of our societies. We will continue to work closely on matters related to international trade, so that our integrated supply chains are deepened and strengthened. We will jointly promote trade and investment in those sectors in which the integration of our production chains serves as a distinct global advantage, and work together to highlight those advantages.

Our governments are committed to developing a North American Competitiveness work plan, focused on investment, innovation and increased private sector engagement. We seek to set new standards for global trade through the prompt conclusion of a high standard, ambitious, and comprehensive Trans-Pacific Partnership, as we promote further trade liberalization in the Asia-Pacific region.

We will develop a North American Transportation Plan, beginning with a regional freight plan and building on existing initiatives. We will also streamline procedures and harmonize customs data requirements for traders and visitors. We will facilitate the movement of people through the establishment in 2014 of a North American Trusted Traveller Program, starting with the mutual recognition of the NEXUS, Global Entry, SENTRI and Viajero Confiable programs.

Our governments will leverage the existing bilateral border mechanisms to enhance the secure movement of goods across North America, and promote trilateral exchanges on logistics corridors and regional development. Our governments will designate observers to attend meetings of the border management executive committees already in place. This approach will also be followed within the existing bilateral processes on regulatory cooperation. We will continue to protect and enforce intellectual property rights.

New Areas of Opportunity

The future success and competitiveness of our region depends on our ability to foster innovation, provide our citizens access to high quality educational opportunities and to technology, and promote a workforce with the skills necessary for success in the 21st century global economy. To help guide these efforts, our governments will engage stakeholders and academics to better assess and plan for the needs of North America’s future workforce. We will promote joint research in national laboratories and universities, building connections between North American businesses, particularly entrepreneurs, and technology accelerators. We will first focus on entrepreneurship and innovation exchanges, and actions to advance the economic empowerment of women. Authorities responsible for these efforts will meet in an informal working group to seek greater coordination and collaboration among them.

Academic exchange and educational mobility have long contributed to the mutual understanding of our societies and of the promise of North America. We commit to increase the number of student exchanges from within the region in our respective higher education systems, in line with the United States’ 100,000 Strong in the Americas Initiative, Mexico’s Proyecta 100,000, and Canada’s International Education Strategy. We will explore opportunities for further cooperation in this area.

Energy is a trilateral priority. Developing and securing affordable, clean and reliable energy supplies can drive economic growth and support sustainable development, as we shift towards a low carbon energy future. To build on recent progress in this area, our Energy Ministers will meet later in 2014 to discuss opportunities to promote common strategies on energy efficiency, infrastructure, innovation, renewable energy, unconventional energy sources, energy trade, and responsible resource development, including the development of relevant technical studies.

Our countries will continue to work together to address climate change in pursuit of an ambitious and inclusive global agreement within the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change, while also collaborating through complementary mechanisms like the Major Economies Forum, the Climate and Clean Air Coalition, and the Energy and Climate Partnership of the Americas. In addition, we will intensify our efforts to promote an amendment to the Montreal Protocol to phase-down production and consumption of climate-damaging hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs).

We will continue to collaborate in the protection of our region’s biodiversity and to address other environmental challenges, such as wildlife trafficking and ecosystems at risk. Our governments will establish a working group to ensure the conservation of the Monarch butterfly, a species that symbolizes our association.

Citizen Security and Global Issues

We reaffirm our commitment to the principles of shared responsibility, mutual trust, and respect, in support of our domestic priorities, as we face together the challenges posed by transnational organized crime and other threats to the security of our citizens. As increasingly integrated neighbors, we recognize the need to collaborate effectively to counter global threats, such as international terrorism, and to protect our shared critical infrastructure.

The effective exchange of information and coordination among law-enforcement authorities will remain essential. We will continue to coordinate and pursue new areas of cooperation to counter drug trafficking, arms trafficking and other illicit trade, consistent with our laws and constitutions. To more effectively counter money laundering and illicit financial flows while ensuring the efficient interconnection of our systems, our authorities will enhance their dialogue on financial sector regulation and supervision. Our governments share a commitment to combating human trafficking in all its forms and will work toward improving services for the victims of this crime.

To strengthen regional security, we will continue to cooperate with our partners in Central America and the Caribbean, and with other countries in the hemisphere to promote development, economic growth and citizen security. We will provide capacity building support, and seek closer collaboration on financial inclusion and social safety nets, among other areas. We will broaden the scope of our efforts by including actions on disaster risk prevention and insurance, wildfire management, and access to affordable and clean energy, and will promote sustainable social development.

North America’s response to the H1N1 pandemic in 2009 remains an example of timely and effective cooperation. We will build upon the North American Plan for Animal and Pandemic Influenza (NAPAPI) to strengthen our preparedness and response to future public health events.

North America will continue to develop collective solutions to global challenges. Our three countries will increase our already robust cooperation across the United Nations and other multilateral bodies. We will engage in the definition of the post-2015 development agenda with an inclusive approach that addresses inequalities and seeks to ensure that global objectives are pursued according to national standards of accountability. We support the Open Government Partnership, and we are committed to transparency and open government across the world. We will also continue to promote democracy, human rights and the respect of international law throughout the world and in the Americas, consistent with the values enumerated in the Inter American Democratic Charter.

Delivering on our Agenda

The success of this vision will hinge on its follow up. Our governments will carry out periodic consultations on the implementation of our agreements, reporting to leaders on the progress of our efforts before each upcoming North American Leaders’ Summit. Our countries will also develop a new outreach mechanism in 2014, through which experts and stakeholders will be able to share their perspectives on our agenda and propose new lines of action.

The collaboration between our governments, civil societies, academics, entrepreneurs, and other actors, has a direct and positive impact in the lives and wellbeing of our peoples. The future of North America is even more brilliant than its past and together we can make it the most competitive and dynamic region in the world.

President Obama and President Peña Nieto welcome Prime Minister Harper’s offer for Canada to host the next North American Leaders’ Summit in 2015.

Full Text Political Transcripts February 11, 2014: Finance Minister Jim Flaherty’s 2014 budget speech in the House of Commons ‘The Road to Balance’

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Full text of Finance Minister Jim Flaherty’s budget speech in the House of Commons

Minister of Finance Jim Flaherty tables the federal budget in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Tuesday, February 11, 2014.

THE CANADIAN PRESS/Fred ChartrandMinister of Finance Jim Flaherty tables the federal budget in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Tuesday, February 11, 2014.

Federal budget: Full text of ‘The Road to Balance’

OTTAWA — Mr. Speaker, nearly 150 years ago, Canada was founded with fiscal responsibility as its cornerstone. The men and women who carved this great country out of the wilderness simply called it “good government.”

That’s what Minister of Finance John Rose was talking about when he stood before this assembly to deliver Canada’s first budget speech in 1868. He said, “I say that we ought to be most careful in our outlay, and consider well every shilling we expend.”

Now, that’s just old-fashioned English for old-fashioned common sense. And it is that solid, Canadian common sense that has guided our Government through good times and bad.

Mr. Speaker, I am proud to rise today to present Canada’s Economic Action Plan 2014.

This prudent plan builds on our record of strong, sound and consistent fiscal management. It is a low-tax plan to promote jobs and economic growth and support Canadian families. And it is a common sense plan that will see Canada return to a balanced budget in 2015.

Economic Action Plan 2014 sticks to the principles that we adopted when I rose to deliver our Government’s first budget in 2006 during good times. What did our Government do then, when our budget was in surplus and when few could see dark clouds on the horizon?

— We paid down our federal debt.

— We lowered taxes for families and job creators.

— We made sure our fiscal house was in order.

Why did we do this? Because it was the responsible way to a brighter future for Canadians.

Financial prudence now leads to financial prosperity in the future. It leads to opportunity. And so it was that when economic bad times came, our country was better prepared than most.

Since the depths of the recession Canada has led the G-7 in job creation. Coming out of the recession Canada had a triple-A credit rating with a stable outlook—which was and still is virtually unmatched among our peers. We have the best net debt-to-GDP ratio among G-7 nations.

There are many reasons to be optimistic. There are signs of recovery around us. But there are also troubled waters.
The world economy is still fragile—one need look no further than Europe and the emerging economies to see that.

Here at home, household debt is still higher than we’d like to see. And there are still too many Canadians looking for work, and too many employers looking for workers. There is still work to be done.

As my favourite Father of Confederation, Thomas D’Arcy McGee, once said, “We are in the rapids and must go on.” And so, even as the times get better again, we will stay the course that has worked so well.

Mr. Speaker, Sir John A. Macdonald—my other favourite Father of Confederation—could have been talking about our Economic Action Plan when he said, “the Government are merely trustees for the public.” And that is why we are so committed to balancing the budget and returning Canada to a position of fiscal strength.

When governments run prolonged deficits, they are spending money that belongs to future generations. Deficit spending endangers social programs we benefit from and our children will soon depend on.

We also recognize that balanced budgets are important to the long-term prosperity of this country, inspiring confidence in investors and consumers, whose dollars grow the economy and create jobs, and ensuring interest rates stay low.

Canadians have trusted us with the economy and we have delivered. As we have promised, our Government remains committed to balancing the budget in 2015.

But I must be clear: we did not do this on the backs of ordinary Canadians or Canadians in need, or at the expense of our provinces and territories. We did not cut the programs Canadians rely on. We did not cut transfers to our provinces and territories—money they use for things like education and health care.

Rather, we did this by getting our own fiscal house in order. And, Mr. Speaker, that is exactly how our Government will continue. Our Government has reduced direct program spending for the third year in a row in 2012—13. That is something no other government has done in decades.

Our Government continues to eliminate waste that will cut the cost of government without cutting programs Canadians
depend on.

Going forward:

— The Government will freeze the operating expenses of departments.

— We will continue to divest government assets when in the best interest of Canadians to do so.

By doing these things, we will not only balance the budget in 2015, we will achieve a surplus. But let me be clear: a return to surplus is not a licence to spend recklessly. What we will do—what we have always done—is stay the course.

We will make sure Canada’s fiscal position remains strong, strong enough to weather any future global economic storms. That starts with paying down the debt. And keeping taxes low.

Even in the toughest economic times, our Government has worked hard to reduce the tax burden for Canadian families and Canadian businesses. In fact, the federal tax burden is the lowest it has been in 50 years.

Since taking office we:

— Delivered more than 160 tax relief measures.

— Lowered the GST to 5 per cent from 7 per cent.

— Introduced pension income splitting for seniors.

— Created the Working Income Tax Benefit—WITB—to help ensure that low-income workers are better off by taking a job.

Now, an average family of four pays $3,400 less in tax in a year. But we also know that taxes help fund programs and services Canadians rely on. And we will keep closing tax loopholes so every Canadian pays their fair share.

Mr. Speaker, by keeping taxes low we have created the best environment for business investment in the G-7. And those businesses create jobs for Canadians. Creating jobs and opportunities remains our Government’s top priority.

We already have the best record for job creation among G-7 nations. Since the depths of the economic recession, employment has increased by more than 1 million. These jobs are overwhelmingly full-time and in the private sector.
And we’re making sure that opportunities are there for everyone.

We have invested in apprenticeship programs and measures to increase the numbers of people with disabilities, young people and Aboriginal Canadians in the workforce by helping them find the job training they need. But there is more we can and will do:

— That’s why today I am pleased to announce the Canada Apprentice Loan, which will give apprentices registered in Red Seal trades access to interest-free student loans millions of other Canadians have benefited from previously.

— And that is why the Prime Minister announced more than $1.9 billion in new funding to implement the First Nations Control of First Nations Education Act.

Canada has one of the best-educated workforces in the world. In fact, the number of Canadians under 25 with university degrees has gone up by more than 50 per cent since 2002.

Still, getting that first job after finishing college or university can be challenging. To help young people get the first, critical work experience they need, our Government will focus investment to support internships in high-demand fields and in small and medium-sized businesses.

As well, we will support two programs that will help people with disabilities find jobs and stay employed.

— Ready, Willing & Able is an initiative to help Canadians with intellectual disabilities become part of the workforce.

— We will also invest in a program to help young people with autism find rewarding jobs.

We will also implement an enhanced Job Matching Service to help unemployed Canadians get back to work by connecting them with employers looking to hire individuals with their skill set.

We will also introduce a new Expression of Interest system to ensure Canada has an efficient, flexible immigration system that matches the needs of employers.

Mr. Speaker, Canada leads the G-7 when it comes to investing in post-secondary research. And we know that investments in science and technology help Canadian business remain competitive while creating high-paying jobs.

That’s why we have invested more than $11 billion in new resources since 2006 to support science, technology and innovative companies that are opening new frontiers for Canada. And that’s why I am very pleased today to announce our Government’s investment in the Canada First Research Excellence Fund.

This fund will support the strategic research priorities of Canada’s post-secondary institutions and help them excel globally in research areas that create long-term economic advantages for Canada.

In addition, Mr. Speaker, Budget 2014 will result in the largest annual increase in funding for research through the granting councils in over a decade.

In Canada’s very first budget speech Finance Minister John Rose said, “What this country wants is care and judgement in the development of its resources.” Those words still ring true today. That’s why our Government is promoting safe, responsible resource development that is not bogged down by unnecessary red tape.

Minister Rose also said, “We must not neglect the means necessary to bring our products of all kinds to a profitable market.”

That is also true today, especially when it comes to energy. Making sure that Canadian energy remains available to markets around the world is a priority for this Government.

That’s why I am happy to announce today that Economic Action Plan 2014 sets aside funds for review of projects like the Energy East Pipeline proposal.

In addition, Canada has always been an exporting nation. Our investment in the new Windsor-Detroit crossing means Canadian goods will get to market faster, allowing businesses to grow, expand trade and help to secure a prosperous future.

Our Government is committed to protecting Canada’s environment. And that commitment is evident in our ongoing investment in National Parks. In fact, since coming to office we have added more than 160,000 square kilometres to our National Parks and marine conservation system.

These priceless natural and historical places are a spectacular legacy for our children and we must ensure they remain pristine. I am pleased to announce that our Government is investing to maintain these national treasures for the next generation to enjoy.

We will make substantial investments through Parks Canada to improve the highways, bridges and dams located in our National Parks and along our historic canals.

We know partnering with committed citizen groups can make conservation dollars stretch farther. That’s why we introduced the Recreational Fisheries Conservation Partnerships Program, which doubled the impact of every dollar invested in its first year.

Today we are increasing our commitment to protect even more sensitive fish habitat in the future.
Canada is blessed with a network of recreational trails that allow Canadians to connect with nature all year round.

It pleases me to announce that our Government will partner with the National Trails Coalition to make this recreational experience even better, fulfilling another of our 2011 platform commitments.

Families are the lifeblood of every community. Our Government is working hard to ensure that Canadian families are protected in their communities. As part of these efforts, we will create a DNA-based Missing Persons Index to help bring some peace to the families of missing persons. For that, I want to thank Judy Peterson.

Mr. Speaker, we are also standing up for hard-working families trying to make ends meet. Our Consumers First agenda will help ensure Canadians are also protected in the marketplace. When Canadian families spend their hard-earned money, they should be confident that they are being treated fairly in a competitive marketplace. That’s why we took steps to increase competition in the wireless sector, which has reduced wireless rates by 20 per cent.

That’s why we are:

— Taking steps to lower wholesale roaming rates within Canada; and

— Giving the CRTC the power to impose financial penalties on companies that do not comply with the rules.
We will also:

— Introduce legislation to address the price gap between identical goods sold in Canada and the United States.

— Continue our investments in Canada’s food safety system by hiring more inspectors to ensure the food destined for
Canadian dinner tables is safe.

— Prohibit the pay-to-pay practice that charges consumers for paper bills— including printed credit card statements.

— Reduce red tape for charities by enabling them to apply for registration and file their annual returns electronically.

— Make major investments to improve broadband coverage in rural and northern communities.

Mr. Speaker, I am proud of our Government’s record of fiscal restraint and good management. This record has been the envy of the world. I believe we have been, as Sir John A. wanted us to be, “trustees for the public.”

And I know that I speak on behalf of all my colleagues when I say that we are truly grateful to all Canadians for putting their trust in us.

We have worked hard. And we will continue to work hard to, as Thomas D’Arcy McGee said, “strengthen the faith of our people in their own future, the faith of every Canadian in Canada.”

Mr. Speaker, the plan unveiled today is another prudent step toward that brighter future.

Thank you.