Ms. Candice Hoeppner (Portage—Lisgar, CPC): Madam Speaker, I will be sharing my time today with the member for West Vancouver—Sunshine Coast—Sea to Sky Country.
I rise today in the House to speak in support of the Speech from the Throne and to speak about the positive and lasting impact it will have on all Canadians.
This government has been clear: our priorities are creating jobs, growing the economy and reducing the deficit when our recovery from the global recession is apparent. The Speech from the Throne shows that we know where we are going and we have a plan to get there.
Last year at this time Canadians were faced with uncertainty: businesses were struggling to make a profit; layoffs were increasing; investments were strained; and credit was more difficult to get.
We spoke with our constituents; we consulted the experts; we rolled up our sleeves and we went to work on our economic action plan, a plan that would include among other things a $62 billion shot in the arm for the economy to get our country back to work and protect those hardest hit by the downturn.
The mayors, reeves and councillors throughout my riding have continued to express their gratitude for our government's investment in many of their infrastructure projects, and they have told me that we were right on the mark with our economic action plan.
The stimulus measures of our plan have made an enormous difference in their communities, in communities like the village of Clearwater in my riding, where an infrastructure stimulus fund award is helping to build a new water treatment centre to supply clean water to residents who have ironically been living on a boil water advisory for the past several years, and in the village of Notre-Dame, which received a RInC award to provide a new concrete surface and artificial ice plant system, making sure that the local arena continues to be the heart of the community and to be a gathering place for children and for families.
I am very proud to serve the region of Portage--Lisgar. I am very proud of my constituents' determination, their will and of what communities have been accomplishing with our assistance, project by project.
It is my firm belief that as this government continues with determination and commitment to return to balanced budgets, to cut spending and to promote a more innovative and competitive economy, this nation will come into a period of prosperity and growth that will make us the envy of our international neighbours. That is why I support this government's strategy outlined in the Speech from the Throne.
At the same time, the Speech from the Throne acknowledges and invites all Canadians to take their rightful place.
This plan respects women, their diverse viewpoints and their right to express them. Today women in Canada are some of the most successful in the world. Canadian women are business owners, farmers, students, professionals, stay at home moms, teachers and leaders in every sector. They are diverse in interest and occupation. They are diverse in background and belief. They care about the economy, the deficit and the ability of Canada to compete on the world stage.
Canadian women do not see themselves as victims who need to be taken care of by government. They see themselves as strong and capable and with greater capacity to prosper and to succeed than ever before.
These are the women of Canada, and I am very proud to be one of them and to have a government that respects us.
I recently invited the chambers of commerce from my riding to consult with their members and then to meet with me and let me know the challenges that they are facing and what they thought was the right path toward a speedy economic recovery. I received a very clear and consistent message: the economy is certainly the top priority. While we are starting to see signs of a recovery in Canada's economy, it is still fragile. My community leaders and chambers of commerce encouraged us. They said it is time to cut back, but with caution.
Our government feels the same way. So many businesses right now are experiencing cutbacks. So many Canadians are earning less than they did prior to the global economic recession.
That is why this government is looking first in its own backyard to improve efficiency, to lower costs and reduce the size of government and the public service. We are leading by example, comprehensively reviewing government administrative functions and looking for ways to reduce overhead and cut costs.
Especially important in my riding and outlined in the Speech from the Throne is the government's new direction to eliminate tariffs. By eliminating tariffs on inputs and machinery, we are fundamentally improving Canadians businesses. We are allowing Canadian industry to lower production costs and invest in the equipment they need. We are enabling Canadian businesses to reduce administration and customs cost, which will attract investors, create jobs and result in lower consumer prices. We are sending out a very clear message that Canada is an investment and trade friendly country and we are open for business.
I was also so pleased to hear in the Speech from the Throne that we are continuing to work with international neighbours to open new doors between our countries and provide a gateway to the broader markets in place, like the Middle East, Europe, Asia and North Africa. This is helping create duty-free aspects to markets for Canadian exporters, like livestock producers, a sector that has been so hard hit by market challenges and the global economic downturn. Farmers can know that our government is working hard around the world for Canadian farm families so that they can sell more products to more customers.
I believe that crime continues to be a serious issue for Canadians and it demands the full attention of citizens and legislators. Canadians deserve to live in safe communities. The government is unwavering in our pledge to champion public safety issues in order to make Canadians safer in their homes, in their communities and on their streets. We are continuing to target crime through new measures like strengthening the national DNA database, cracking down on white collar crime and taking further action to investigate the disturbing number of unsolved cases of murdered and missing aboriginal women, including some in my own riding of Portage—Lisgar.
My private member's Bill C-391 to repeal the long gun registry is consistent with our government's approach to public safety and focusing resources where they can yield the most and the best results. I will continue to work hard to get the message out and to see my bill pass to end the long gun registry, which has been ineffective, irresponsible, expensive and wasteful, and it needs to end.
I also applaud the government for its decision to coordinate a new national strategy on childhood injury prevention. Working in partnership with non-government organizations like the Manitoba Farmers with Disabilities which is located in my riding and where people like Jill Stafford and Neil Enns work to make farms safer and provide support when injury occurs. That organization recently produced a new interactive farm safety DVD to help parents teach their children how to be safe on the farm. The government shares their concern in keeping Canadian children safe, and I commend that group for the excellent work they are doing in our region.
Our message is clear. The government will continue to help families and stand up for families. We will continue to stand up for taxpayers and for communities. We will continue to work hard for small businesses. We will continue to help the unemployed and those who need a job. We will keep focus on the future and where we want to be.
I encourage all members of the House to support the upcoming vote on the Speech from the Throne. Together this plan will help us build a stronger and a more united Canada.