CENTRAL NOVA REPORT BY PETER MACKAY
As 2013 draws to a close, it is a fitting time to reflect on the year that was. As the Member of Parliament for Central Nova, I have had a busy and productive year implementing the measures promised to Canadians in the 2011 federal election.
Locally, I am pleased to report that we have secured a number of important federal investments. In total nearly $20 million has been invested in more than two dozen different projects which will help to improve local infrastructure, support businesses, and help community groups deliver important services. These targeted investments will have a real impact on our communities and help create economic prosperity here at home.
This has also been a year of transition, moving from the Department of National Defence to serve as the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada. Since assuming the role in July, I have been busy implementing our government’s comprehensive justice agenda.
This included a cross country series of consultations focused on our proposed Victims’ Bill of Rights, which will ensure that victims’ rights are upheld and are the primary focus of our justice system. We have also introduced legislation to combat cyberbullying by making it a criminal offence to distribute intimate images without consent, and our Not Criminally Responsible Reform Act will ensure public safety and victims’ rights are protected in the decision-making process.
These measures, along with the introduction of mandatory minimum sentences for the most violent repeat offenders, and tougher sentences for those who abuse children, are part of our government’s goal to make our streets and communities safer and restore faith in our Justice system.
In 2013, the economy remained a top focus of our Conservative government. Since taking office our government has made 140 different tax reductions; introduced a series of tax credits; and are on track to balance the budget by 2015. This makes life more affordable for Canadian families, allows businesses to grow and compete more effectively, and has Canada leading the G-7 in economic growth.
In addition, the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement with the European Union will open new markets for our fish, agriculture, and forestry products. The elimination of 98 per cent of tariffs between Canada and the EU will give Canadian entrepreneurs and businesses open access to this massive, 500 million person, $15 trillion economy. Our region stands to benefit due to its strategic position in this emerging trade route.
While 2013 was an important and productive year, much work lies ahead in 2014 to continue to grow our economy and create opportunities for Canadians. It remains a great privilege to serve you in Canada’s Parliament, and I look forward to a busy and productive 2014!
Peter MacKay is MP for Central Nova and federal Justice Minister.