Prime Minister Stephen Harper today issued the following statement highlighting some of the government's significant accomplishments in 2012:
"Throughout 2012, our Government continued to generate results for Canadians both at home and abroad.
"First and foremost, we continued to successfully navigate the turbulent global economy in 2012, emerging with some of the strongest job growth numbers among G-7 countries. This was accomplished while reducing the country's deficit and creating a leaner, more efficient public service.
"The international community has taken note of our success this year: Forbes magazine has ranked Canada as number one in its annual review of the best countries for business; for the fifth year in a row, the World Economic Forum has rated Canada's banking system as the world's soundest; and both the IMF and OECD expect Canada to be among the strongest growing economies in the G-7 next year.
"In 2012 we continued to aggressively pursue trade and investment agreements that will benefit Canadian businesses and families. Canada significantly increased its engagement in Asia, joining the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade negotiations; becoming an observer to the Pacific Alliance; concluding foreign investment promotion and protection agreements (FIPA) with China, Senegal and Tanzania; concluding negotiations for the Administrative Arrangement between Canada and India that will allow the implementation of the Nuclear Cooperation Agreement (NCA); launching free trade negotiations with Japan; announcing exploratory free trade talks with Thailand; and expanding the Canada-China Air Transport Agreement.
"We also made solid progress on modernizing Canada's immigration system to make it more proactive, targeted, fast and efficient in a way that will sustain Canada's economic growth and deliver prosperity for the future.
"Our Government also began implementing a plan for Responsible Resource Development that will streamline the review process for major economic projects. This is expected to facilitate more than 600 projects worth as much as $650 billion over the next 10 years.
"Additionally, we made significant progress on putting in place infrastructure and other measures across the country, laying the foundation for future growth and prosperity. This includes: supporting projects at Lower Churchill Falls that will generate enormous benefits for the people of Newfoundland and Labrador and Nova Scotia; signing an agreement for the construction of the new Detroit River International Crossing; rolling out the Community Infrastructure Improvement Fund, which will help improve existing community infrastructure across the country; and making real and substantive progress on the Beyond the Border Action Plan and on Regulatory Cooperation with the United States.
"We also continued to strengthen our relationship with First Nations, including through commitments made at the historic Crown-First Nations Gathering; announcing support for First Nation Education to improve school infrastructure and address literacy; and introducing legislation to protect drinking water in First Nation communities.
"On the security front, we have taken numerous steps at home to target crime and terrorism and to provide greater support and protection for victims of crime, including new income support for parents of murdered or missing children. Internationally, we continued to work with the United States to enhance border security, and we established a new initiative to support police training and border security in the Americas. With respect to counter-terrorism, we witnessed the adoption of Canada's first Counter-Terrorism Strategy and committed to renewing Canada's Global Partnership Program to reduce the threat from weapons of mass destruction and to combat nuclear terrorism.
"The Government of Canada also promoted Canadian unity, heritage and sovereignty by: supporting our Olympic and Paralympic athletes, who won a total of 49 medals at the London Games; commemorating The Queen's Diamond Jubilee by welcoming The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall, and awarding deserving Canadians with Diamond Jubilee medals; and honouring the many battalions and First Nations groups who fought in the War of 1812, a pivotal event in Canada's history. We also made progress on ensuring that the Royal Canadian Navy and Canadian Coast Guard have the equipment they need to be a capable and flexible force for good with the awarding of shipbuilding contracts to both Vancouver Shipyards Co. and Irving Shipbuilding Inc., which will also generate economic benefits on both coasts.
"In the coming year, we will work hard to achieve progress on priority issues for Canadians. We are deeply honoured to have been given a majority mandate, and we will continue to meet the needs and expectations of all Canadians, with a focus on promoting jobs, growth and long-term prosperity and the well-being of our citizens."