Wednesday, February 12, 2014


Federal Politics

Volunteers to Veterans 

Budget package reflective of Chilliwack concerns

Released by Robert Pearsall, PA to MP Mark Strahl/Voice file photo


hilliwack-Fraser Canyon MP, Mark Strahl highlighted four items in Economic Action Plan 2014 that he says responds directly to concerns raised by his constituents.


The budget items Strahl referred to are: conserving recreational fisheries habitat; introducing a tax credit to recognize the role played by search and rescue volunteers; bringing greater accountability to Parliament; and a further expanding of benefits for Veterans.


"I am very pleased to see issues of concern raised to me by local voters addressed in this budget. This is a good budget for Canada and a good budget for our local area," said Strahl.

The Conservative Government has proposed a doubling of the annual funding for the Recreational Fisheries Conservation Partnerships program by providing an additional $15 million over two years.

Established in June 2013, the program support projects aimed at improving the conservation of recreational fisheries habitat. The Program brings partners together and pools their resources to support the common goal of conserving and protecting Canada's recreational fisheries.

In the first round of funding 28 projects were approved in British Columbia including local projects on Cheam Lake and the Vedder River.

Building on the Volunteer Firefighters Tax Credit which recognized the important role played by volunteer firefighters, the Conservative Government is proposing a new Search and Rescue Volunteers Tax to recognize Canada's other quite heroes ground, air and marine search and rescue volunteers.

Economic Action Plan 2014 announces a 15 per cent non-refundable Search and Rescue Volunteers Tax Credit on an amount of $3,000 for ground, air and marine search and rescue volunteers. This credit will be available to search and rescue volunteers who perform at least 200 hours of service during a year.

The Government will introduce legislation to prohibit Members of the Senate and the House of Commons from accruing pensionable service as a result of having been suspended from Parliament through a majority vote by their peers.

"Canadians expect their Senators and Parliamentarians to carry out their responsibilities with the utmost integrity. We are taking action to ensure those who abuse the system do not profit from it," said Strahl.

The Government wants to ensure that the men and women who fought for our country have access to the programs and services they need. This includes a commitment to providing a dignified funeral and burial for veterans of modest financial means.

Economic Action Plan 2013 invested $65 million over two years to simplify the Funeral and Burial Program for veterans' estates and to increase the funeral services reimbursement rate from $3,600 to $7,376.

Economic Action Plan 2014 proposes a further investment of $108.2 million over three years, starting in 2013-14, to expand eligibility of the program to ensure that modern-day veterans of modest means have access to a dignified funeral and burial.

"By controlling department spending, we can deliver on these initiatives while keeping taxes low and staying on course to a balanced budget," said Strahl.



Federal budget focused on creating jobs and growing the economy

Released February 11, 2014

Chilliwack-Fraser Canyon MP, Mark Strahl welcomed Economic Plan 2014, the Conservative Government's 2014 budget for its focus on creating jobs, growing the economy and projecting a return to balanced budgets in 2015.

"Our Government remains squarely focussed on the economy with a plan that will keep Canada's economy growing and build on our enviable job creation record," said Strahl.

Economic Action Plan 2014 keeps taxes low on families and businesses rejecting calls from both the Liberals and the NDP to hike taxes. The Plan also continues measures to contain departmental spending allowing the Government to remain on track to a balanced budget while spending for benefits for seniors and support for health care and education continue to grow.

Strahl highlighted the Government's commitment to invest $222 million over five years in British Columbia's TRIUMF facility as example of how the Plan will help create jobs and strengthen the province's economy. TRIUMF is Canada's premier physics laboratory that has helped launch several spin-off companies and accelerate the growth of existing firms.

Economic Action Plan also proposes to provide $90.4 million over four years to continue to support the Investments in Forest Industry Transformation (IFIT) program. The IFIT has helped enable Canadian forestry companies create high-value products from Canada's forest resources.

To recognize Canadians who put their lives at risk in service to their community the Government is proposing a new Search and Rescue Volunteer Tax Credit -a 15 per cent non-refundable credit on an amount of $3,000 for ground, air and marine search and rescue volunteers who perform at least 200 hours of combined eligible search and rescue services.

Other key measures in Economic Action Plan 2014 include:

* Launching the Canada Job Grant: so that Canadians can get the skills training they need to get in-demand jobs.

* Creating the Canada Apprentice Loan: which will provide apprentices in Red Seal trades access to over $100 million in interest-free loans each year.

* Launching a Job Matching Service: this new service will automatically match Canadians looking for work with employers looking to hire them.

* Increasing Paid Internships for Young Canadians: investing $55 million to create paid internships for recent graduates in small and medium-sized businesses and in high-demand fields.

* Helping Older Workers Get Back to Work: investing $75 million in the Targeted Initiative for Older Workers to support older workers who want to participate in the job market.

* Cutting Red Tape for Small Business: cutting 800,000 payroll remittances for 50,000 small businesses.

* Making Landmark Investments in Research & Innovation: $1.5 billion over the next decade for research at universities through the Canada First Research Excellence Fund.

* Conserving Canada's Natural Heritage: investing in Canada's national parks and historic canals, conserving recreational fisheries, expanding tax relief for the environmental conservation of lands, encouraging clean energy generation with tax relief to new green technologies, and more.

* Supporting Families: enhancing tax relief for families adopting a child, expanding tax relief for health-related services, capping wholesale wireless rates to make service more affordable, cracking down on cross-border price discrimination, and more.

* Strengthening Communities: improving broadband in rural and remote communities, establishing a $200 million National Disaster Mitigation Program to help communities prepare for natural disasters, introducing a Search and Rescue Volunteers Tax Credit, and more.

* Standing Up for Victims of Crime: implementing the Victim's Bill of Rights and proving funding for a DNA-based Missing Persons Index.

Under the Conservative Government, transfer payments to British Columbia have grown 27 per cent to a record $5.8 billion in 2014-15.

"Unlike the previous Liberal government, we will not decimate health care to balance the budget," said Strahl. "We will stick to our low-tax plan which is creating jobs and opportunities for Canadians."

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