Greg Rickford – FEDNOR will actually see an increase in program resources

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Greg RickfordOTTAWA – “Yesterday, our government introduced the Economic Action Plan 2012 – a positive plan to grow Canada’s economy for today and into the future,” states Greg Rickford, the Member of Parliament for Kenora. “To ensure Canada remains competitive, the Economic Action Plan 2012 will make major new investments in advanced research, science and technology, and more. These investments will encourage innovation and position Canada to succeed in the knowledge economy of the 21st century”.

Rickford stated, with respect to FedNor, “The Federal Economic Development initiative for Northern Ontario is alive and well and will not receive any office consolidation or program cuts. Cost savings in the range of 7 to 10% will be realized through improving operational efficiencies but program spending will not be affected. In fact FEDNOR will actually see an increase in program resources with its allocation of the implementation of the Community Infrastructure Improvement Fund, a $150 million commitment over two years nationally”.

“This budget focuses on growth and prosperity. We’re taking an approach that will not raise taxes or sacrifice our health care, education or social transfers to the provinces, as previous Liberal governments had done, nor does it affect in any significant way our programs that are delivered to Canadians directly,” said Rickford.

The budget outlines what Rickford stated in an interview with NNL, a fair and responsible approach on the issue of education on First Nations. “No one is saying we won’t meet all of the Assembly of First Nations program proposals,” commented Rickford. The MP outlined that the goal is working toward a 2014 goal of intergration of standards on First Nations schools that will mean there will be equal quality of education to schools anywhere.

Notable changes to the budget include amendments to the Old Age Security, which will not affect anyone 54 years of age or older as of March 31, 2012 and will not take full effect until 2029. At the time the retirement age will change from 65 to 67. This reflects the fact that Canadians are living longer healthier lives, it is consistent with more than a dozen other G20 countries who have or will be changing their retirement age, and, it will ensure the sustainability of our retirement income system so that it is there when Canadians need it. A deferral program has also been implemented, starting July 1, 2013. Canadians who wish to work beyond 65 will be able to defer their benefits and collect them as additions to their OAS once they officially retire and start collecting OAS. As well, a proactive enrolment process will be put in place that will remove the application process for seniors.

Rickford says he is also happy to announce that forestry saw an important increase of $105 million over two years specifically geared towards FP and wood fibre innovations; a project jointly brought forward with Domtar to expand market opportunities. “We all know we have some of the best wood fibre in the world and the challenge moving forward is to continue to discover new applications. We are committed to take steps to see that the wood fibre has broader applications so we can do more with it.”

More good news for the region, the 15 per cent Mining Exploration Tax Credit has been extended to encourage further mining exploration and deal with regulatory gaps for greater certainty for mining. “Our Plan also lays a strong foundation for continued job creation and economic growth with more support for training, extending the Hiring Credit for Small Business, and providing new opportunities for Canadians to gain access to the labour market. It also keeps taxes low for small- and medium-sized business, and facilitates the responsible development of Canada’s energy and natural resource sectors”.

“These are the things that people in Northwestern Ontario see as important both in the region as well as Canada as a whole,” said Rickford.

Rickford adds, Since taking office in 2006, the Government has been lowering taxing (over 140 tax cuts all together), helping hard-working families get ahead (average family is paying $3,100 less in taxes under out Government), supporting entrepreneurs (lowering taxes on job-creating businesses), and creating an environment to help create long-term jobs (Forbes magazine ranks Canada as the best place in the world for businesses to grow and create jobs).

“Another key part of the Plan is making sure to secure Canada’s strong fiscal position,” comments the MP. “Watching the situation in many European countries, Canadians know the importance of responsible spending by governments. That’s why we’re streamlining government operations, ending wasteful spending, and more to move Canada to balanced budgets over the medium term”.

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