20 November 2008
In his official reply to the Speech from the Throne, Prime Minister Stephen Harper today served notice that he would use his new strengthened mandate to act quickly to protect Canadians in a time of global economic instability.
"All Members of Parliament should resolve to put aside clearly partisan considerations and try, wherever possible, to work co-operatively for the benefit of Canada," said the Prime Minister. "This will help us deal with the enormous challenges that confront Canada as part of the global economy – challenges which have only grown since our election concluded just five weeks ago."
In his official reply, the Prime Minister provided additional details about the priorities outlined by the Governor General in yesterday’s Speech from the Throne including:
The Harper Government will conduct a thorough strategic review of all program spending to streamline operations and save taxpayers money and this review will also include all Crown corporations and assets. As part of this review, all Departments and agencies will be required to produce detailed quarterly financial statements accessible to the public.
The Harper Government will encourage investment in the uranium mining and airline sectors by raising the threshold for foreign investment while retaining the right to block foreign investment if it jeopardizes national security.
The Harper Government will provided targeted supports to industries by reducing tariffs on imported machinery and equipment, extending the mineral exploration tax credit, extending support for international marketing of forestry products and providing incentives for energy-from-biomass.
The Harper Government will restore funding to Canada’s regional economic development agencies, make regional economic development funding available in high-unemployment Southern Ontario for the first time ever and create a new agency dedicated to the economic development in Canada’s North.
The Harper Government will support small businesses by further raising the small business tax threshold, indexing the Lifetime Capital Gains Exemption to Inflation and establishing a new venture capital fund for entrepreneurs.
The Harper Government will push for an agreement on a Canadian internal economic union that would reduce interprovincial trade barriers, improve labour mobility and increase investment.
"Canada’s economy, like Canada’s people, is durable and resilient," concluded the Prime Minister. "If we pledge ourselves to work together in the service of Canada, I have no doubt that we will emerge from these troubled times, stronger, better and more united than ever before."