Getting the Job Done for Canadians
June 22, 2012
House Rises After Session Focuses on Economy and Jobs
June 22, 2012
OTTAWA – Since commencing the fall session in the House of Commons, Parry Sound-Muskoka MP Tony Clement and his Conservative colleagues have remained steadfast and committed to one goal – keeping our economy moving forward.
As the House of Commons rises for the summer, the last week of the current session saw a productive and hectic pace. It included the passage of the next phase of Canada’s Economic Action Plan and the Copyright Modernization Act. Both pieces of legislation support the Conservative Government’s unrelenting focus on growing our economy, helping entrepreneurs succeed and creating jobs.
“We were elected with a promise to keep taxes low, tackle our deficit and do everything in our power to keep Canada’s economy on the track to complete recovery,” said MP Clement. “When you look back on what was accomplished during this past session, you see we have stayed true to our word. We’ve not allowed pointless partisanship and ill-conceived opposition tactics to get in the way of making progress.”
Economic Action Plan 2012, passed on Monday night, came after a a marathon voting session to strike down frivolous opposition attempts to thwart its passage. The plan takes significant steps to:
- Encourage entrepreneurship, innovation, and world-class research with over $1.1 billion in significant investments for research and development, $500 million for venture capital, support for increased public and private research collaboration, and much more.
- Improve conditions for business investments with responsible resource development streamlined for ‘one project, one review’; expanding trade to open new markets; keeping taxes low, and more.
- Invest in training, infrastructure and opportunity for Canadians by extending the Hiring Credit for Small Business; investing in programs to help youth, Canadians with disabilities, aboriginals, and workers over 50 get into the workforce; reforming the EI system to better promote job creation and remove disincentives to work; investing millions in renewing local community infrastructure; and more.
- Help families and communities by increasing food safety monitoring; better protecting species at risk; assisting victims of crime, improving water quality for First Nations communities; helping Canadians with disabilities save for their future, and more.
- Ensure vital social programs and services will be there for Canadians over the next generation by making gradual, responsible adjustments to Old Age Security; bringing pension plans for public sector employees and Parliamentarians in line with those Canadians working in the private sector; closing tax loopholes; and more.
Economic Action Plan 2012 also demonstrates the Conservative government’s strong support for Ontario through record federal transfer support for hospitals, schools, and other critical services. Totaling $19.2 billion in 2012-13, the transfer support represents an increase of nearly $8.4 billion (or 77%) from the former Liberal government.
“While the Liberals gutted transfers for health care and education when in power, our Conservative government is protecting and growing them to help support the services that families need,” said MP Clement.
Other accomplishments of the session include:
Passage by the House of Commons of the Copyright Modernization Act, Bill C-11. The passage of Bill C-11 by the House of Commons represents the culmination of extensive consultations by the Harper Government. These began in 2009 with a highly successful online forum and town hall meetings held across the country, followed by a legislative review conducted through two sessions of Parliament, 31 days of committee meetings and over 110 witnesses.
The Bill represents a balanced approach, respecting the everyday activities of Canadians while giving creators and copyright owners the tools they need to protect their work and to grow their business using new and innovative business models. It also ensures that Canada’s copyright laws are forward-looking, flexible and in line with international standards.
Abolishing the wasteful long-gun registry. Parry Sound-Muskoka MP Tony Clement proudly voted with his Conservative colleagues to abolish the wasteful and ineffective long-gun registry, keeping his long-standing promise to law-abiding hunters and farmers.
With supporters from across the country filling the House of Commons’ galleries for the historic vote, the Ending the Long-Gun Registry Act passed its third and final reading early in the new year.
“That was a moment that I and many Parry Sounders and Muskokans have long waited to see,” said MP Clement. “After doing nothing to reduce crime, wasting taxpayers’ dollars, and unfairly targeting law-abiding citizens, the registry is now headed for the scrap heap.”
The legislation includes:
• Repeal the requirement to register non-restricted firearms (long-guns);
• Provide for the destruction of all records pertaining to the registration of long-guns currently contained in the Canadian Firearms Registry and under the control of the chief firearms officers; and
• Maintain controls over restricted and prohibited firearms.
Under the reforms, firearms owners will still require a valid firearm licence to purchase or possess firearms and to purchase ammunition. They will also be required to undergo police background checks, pass a firearms safety training course and comply with firearms safe storage and transportation requirements. In addition, individuals will continue to be required to register prohibited and restricted firearms, such as handguns.
The introduction of this legislation is consistent with the Government’s efforts to ensure our firearms laws target real criminals and protect the safety of the public.
Protecting Canada’s Immigration System Act. This bill will further improve Canada’s asylum system, following the passage of the Balanced Refugee Reform Act in the last Parliament. It includes measures to crack down on human smuggling, which had previously been introduced and debated in Bill C-4, the Preventing Human Smugglers from Abusing Canada’s Immigration Act.
This bill will also enable the introduction of biometric technology into Canada’s immigration system, which will prevent known criminals, failed and deported refugee claimants and other deportees using fake identity from obtaining visas. In doing so, Bill C-31 will facilitate legitimate travel to Canada by bona fide visitors, students, businesspeople and others.
Canada’s refugee system is amongst the most generous in the world. It is internationally recognized for its fairness. In fact, Canada welcomes one out of every ten resettled UN Convention refugees worldwide. We already welcome more resettled refugees per capita than any other country, the second most in absolute terms after the United States, and we’re in the process of increasing the number of convention refugees who we resettle by 20 percent.
The Safe Streets and Communities Act returned to the House of Commons after minor amendments were approved by the Senate. The Conservative Government delivered on a key campaign commitment to Canadians and victims of crime by passing the Safe Streets and Communities Act within the first 100 days of Parliament.
The Safe Streets and Communities Act re-introduces the following reforms:
- The Protecting Children from Sexual Predators Act (former Bill C-54), which will increase penalties for sexual offences against children, as well as create two new offences aimed at conduct that could facilitate or enable the commission of a sexual offence against a child;
- The Penalties for Organized Drug Crime Act (former Bill S-10), which targets serious drug crimes, including those committed by organized crime, by imposing tougher sentences for the production and trafficking of illicit drugs;
- Sébastien’s Law (Protecting the Public from Violent Young Offenders) (former Bill C-4), which will better protect Canadians from violent and repeat young offenders and make the protection of society a paramount consideration in the management of young offenders by the justice system;
- The Ending House Arrest for Property and Other Serious Crimes by Serious and Violent Offenders Act (former Bill C-16), which will eliminate the use of conditional sentences, or house arrest, for serious and violent crimes;
- The Increasing Offender Accountability Act (former Bill C-39), which will enshrine a victim’s right to participate in parole hearings and address inmate accountability, responsibility, and management under the Corrections and Conditional Release Act;
- The Eliminating Pardons for Serious Crimes Act (former Bill C-23B), which will extend the ineligibility periods for applications for a record suspension (currently called a “pardon”) to five years for summary conviction offences and to ten years for indictable offences;
- The Keeping Canadians Safe (International Transfer of Offenders) Act (former Bill C-5), which will add additional criteria that the Minister of Public Safety could consider when deciding whether or not to allow the transfer of a Canadian offender back to Canada to serve their sentence;
- The Justice for Victims of Terrorism Act and related amendments to the State Immunity Act (former Bill S-7), which will allow victims of terrorism to sue perpetrators and supporters of terrorism, including listed foreign states, for loss or damage that occurred as a result of an act of terrorism committed anywhere in the world; and
- The Preventing the Trafficking, Abuse and Exploitation of Vulnerable Immigrants Act (former Bill C-56), which will authorize immigration officers to refuse work permits to vulnerable foreign nationals when it is determined that they are at risk of humiliating or degrading treatment, including sexual exploitation or human trafficking.
New Federal Income Support for Parents of Murdered or Missing Children. The Government of Canada is committed to supporting victims of crime and their families. To this end, on April 20, 2012, Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced a new federal income support program that will help ease the financial hardship of parents struggling to cope with the death or disappearance of a child which occurred as a result of a crime.
Beginning on January 1, 2013, this new income support benefit – which is expected to support an estimated 1,000 families annually – will provide $350 per week for up to 35 weeks to parents of murdered or missing children (less than 18 years of age) whose death or disappearance is the result of a Criminal Code offence. Support for this new income benefit is being provided through the Federal Income Support for Parents of Murdered or Missing Children.
To receive this new benefit, affected parents will need to have earned a minimal level of income in the previous calendar year ($6,500) and take leave from their employment. The government will propose amendments to the Canada Labour Code to allow for unpaid leave for employees under federal jurisdiction to ensure that their jobs are protected while they are receiving the new benefit.
If the missing child is found while the benefit is being paid, the benefits will continue for two weeks after the child is found to allow the parents to spend time with their child. This will be contingent on meeting other entitlement criteria (that is, they have not resumed working, they have not exhausted their benefits, and it has not been more than one year since the disappearance). Parents can apply for this program through Service Canada.
Amending the Telecommunications Act. Parry Sound-Muskoka MP Tony Clement has high praise for an announcement from Industry Minister Christian Paradis taking action to provide Canadian families with more choices at low prices for wireless services, including specific measures to support rural areas.
“I have advocated on behalf of the people of Parry Sound-Muskoka for improved broadband and wireless services, and while we have made significant strides, this announcement marks another step toward improving services, particularly for those in rural areas,” said MP Clement.
What was announced this spring:
The Telecommunications Act will be amended to lift foreign investment restrictions for telecom companies that hold less than a 10 percent share of the total Canadian telecommunications market. This will help telecom companies with a smaller market share access the capital they need to grow and compete.
The government will be applying caps in the upcoming spectrum auctions to enable both new wireless competitors and incumbent carriers to have access to the spectrum up for auction.
The government will apply specific measures in the 700 MHz auction to see that rural Canadians will have access to the same advanced services as everyone else.
The government will improve and extend the government’s policy on roaming and tower sharing to further support competition and improve transparency and information sharing to facilitate agreements between companies to slow the proliferation of new cellphone towers.
We also announced that a portion of spectrum will be reserved for public safety users such as police and firefighters across Canada.