Budget delivers on promisesJuly 18, 2011
In May, Canadians re-elected our government and gave us a mandate on economy recovery.
We are listening to Canadians, and several weeks ago, Parliament passed the federal budget for 2011-12 (fiscal year of April 1-March 31). The budget responds to the thousands of constituents I heard from during the election who voiced concerns about jobs and economic growth. It builds on the successful first phase of our Economic Action Plan, by rolling out the second phase. This second phase is a prudent plan to create jobs and economic growth, all the while eliminating the deficit without raising personal income taxes.
The budget delivers on our recent election commitments. We are implementing our commitment to support small business job creation by introducing the Hiring Credit for Small Businesses. This credit will waive Employment Insurance (EI) premiums for small businesses who hire new workers. We are also extending the EI work-sharing program, a successful program that saved 277,000 jobs during the recession.
The budget also fulfills our promise to help seniors, by increasing the Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS) by $300 million. This new money will provide an additional benefit of up to $600 a year for single seniors and up to $840 a year for senior couples. This will help more than 680,000 low-income seniors, especially with the rising cost of food and fuel.
We are also extending the ecoENERGY Retrofit-Homes program, which assists homeowners in making their homes more energy efficient by providing grants of up to $5,000. This will help meet the challenge of climate change by reducing greenhouse gas emissions. It will also help households with the rising cost of energy.
As promised, we are strengthening public health care in Canada by attracting doctors and nurses to under-served rural communities. Doctors can have up to $40,000 in federal student loans forgiven, nurses up to $20,000, if they move to work in under-served rural communities.
Finally, we are strengthening the accountability of the federal political system. The budget gradually reduces the publicly-funded subsidy paid to political parties, completely eliminating it by 2015-16. Currently, parties receive an annual subsidy of $2.04 per vote received in the previous federal election. By eliminating this subsidy we will generate annual savings of $30 million. The ban on all corporate and union donations will remain in place, as will the federal tax credit for personal political donations.
Budget 2011-12 delivers on our commitment to continue Canada’s job creation and economic recovery. Our Economic Action Plan is working and since the recession ended two years ago 540,000 jobs have been created, the vast majority full-time. Last election, Canadians told us they want prudent economic management. That is what we are delivering.