New NAFTA, Pay Equity, Fall Economic Statement, Trent University investments and Remembrance Day highlight action-packed October and November in Peterborough-Kawartha
As we race towards what is sure to be a busy holiday season, it’s important we reflect on the flurry of developments that have taken place over the past two months.
- The Canada Child Benefit (CCB) continues to support the families of more than 17,000 children in Peterborough-Kawartha, and has lifted more than 300,000 children out of poverty across the country.
- We paid tribute to our Veterans on the 100th anniversary of the armistice signing to end World War 1 during Remembrance Day.
- Our Fall Economic Statement showed that our plan is working. It also detailed reforms to reduce red tape for businesses, improve competitiveness, introduced the Accelerated Investment Incentive to support investment by businesses of all sizes and across all sectors of the economy including agriculture, manufacturing and clean tech, and the creation of a $755 million Social Finance Fund that gives charitable, non-profit and social purpose organizations access to new financing, and connects them with non-government investors to support innovative solutions.
- After 13 months of intense negotiations, a new free trade agreement with the United States and Mexico will provide much-needed stability to Canada’s largest trading partner allowing for continued economic growth.
- Bill C-86 was introduced, historic proactive pay equity legislation that would see all federal government employees paid equally for equal work, regardless of gender, and the transformation of Status of Women Canada from an agency to an official department in the Government of Canada called Wage and Gender Equality (WAGE).
- Trent University received more than $2.4 million to support researchers who are driving innovation, and in turn, our economy.
- Trent University also held its grand opening of the new Bata Library, helped along with a $7 million investment by our federal government.
- Women’s History Month celebrated the achievements and contributions of women and girls across the country and throughout our history, culminating in the first ever Peterborough-Kawartha Women’s Leadership Awards where 55 local women were honoured for their contributions to our community.
- The one-year anniversary marking the announcement our federal government’s National Housing Strategy provided an opportunity to reflect on the work that has already been done in the housing sector. That includes federal investments that have put a roof over the head of nearly 1 million Canadian families, including $7.4 million being invested to provide 1,432 families in Peterborough-Kawartha with a safe and affordable place to live.
Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement a good deal for Canadians
A roundtable discussion was held with business leaders at the Greater Peterborough Chamber of Commerce to discuss the benefits of the Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement on November 16, 2018.
Thanks to the leadership of Minister Chrystia Freeland, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, and the support of all Canadians, the Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement (CUSMA) was agreed to on September 30 and signed on November 30. The CUSMA provides stability and access to a trade market that will support good, well paying, middle class jobs, continued economic growth and competitiveness, and expand Canada’s trade in North America.
Some 70 percent of Canadian exports go to the United States. And Canada is by far the United States’ biggest customer. In fact, the United States sells more to us than to China, Japan and the United Kingdom combined.
With the CUSMA, CETA and the CPTPP trade deals in place, Canada has free trade access to a market of well over a billion people with a combined GDP of over $40 trillion. We are also the only G7 country that has free trade with all other G7 countries.
These trade deals pave the way to ensuring the Canadian economy continues to flourish. Unemployment is at a 40-year low, and we have created more than 550,000 full time jobs since assuming office.
In Peterborough-Kawartha, the estimated impact of job growth since our government took office is anywhere between $135 million to $250 million. Yearly wage growth was 1.4% in the fall of 2015; this past summer it was 2.9%.
This is all to say that our plan to grow the economy and strengthen the middle class is working.
Fall Economic Statement reaffirms that our plan is working
When Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and I hosted a townhall in Peterborough on Jan. 13, 2017 we talked about investing in the middle class and creating good, well-paying jobs. Our plan is working.
Canada’s economy is strong and growing. At 3%, Canada had the strongest economic growth of all the Group of Seven (G7) countries in 2017, and is expected to remain among the fastest-growing economies this year and next.
Canadians’ wages are growing. For the average Canadian worker, wage growth is outpacing inflation. If current trends continue, 2018 could mark the strongest year of wage growth in close to a decade.
Consumer confidence is strong. With more money, more jobs, rising wages, and lower taxes, Canadians are feeling confident about their own financial positions. This is reflected in consumer confidence, which remains elevated by historical standards.
Business profits are up. After-tax profitability of businesses in Canada is elevated compared to its historical average, adding to positive conditions for further investment, including in good, well-paying jobs for Canadians.
To help ensure this growth continues, the Fall Economic Statement detailed reforms to reduce red tape for businesses, improve competitiveness by allowing the full cost of machinery and equipment used in the manufacturing and processing of goods to be written off immediately for tax purposes, introduced the Accelerated Investment Incentive to support investment by businesses of all sizes and across all sectors of the economy including agriculture, manufacturing and clean tech, and the creation of a $755 million Social Finance Fund that gives charitable, non-profit and social purpose organizations access to new financing, and connects them with non-government investors to support innovative solutions.
We are also advancing pay equity by ensuring that women and men in federally regulated sectors receive equal pay for work of equal value, for the reasons outlined below…
Historic Pay Equity and Gender Equality legislation tabled
Trent University students in gender and political studies programs joined me to discuss the gender equality measures being taken by our federal government during a roundtable on November 14, 2018.
Our government understands that gender equality creates economic growth. In fact, according to McKinsey Global Institute, we could add $150 billion to our economy in less than a decade if we implement polices of fairness and equality. That is why, earlier this year, we tabled Canada’s first gender budget, Budget 2018 – Equality + Growth: A Strong Middle Class. It recognized gender equality as a driver of economic growth, and as a result included a commitment to bring in legislation to transform Status of Women Canada from an agency to an official department in the Government of Canada.
On October 29, we followed through on that commitment with the introduction of the Budget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 2, which includes legislation to create the Department for Women and Gender Equality (WAGE):
When the legislation is passed, we will strengthen our capacity to advance gender equality and grow the middle class through policy, programming and support for equality-seeking organizations and community partners. It will preserve WAGE’s place as a centre of gender expertise, and expand its mandate for gender equality to include sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, and promoting a greater understanding of the gender and diversity lens often known as Gender-based Analysis Plus (GBA+).
Budget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 2, also includes making gender budgeting a permanent part of the federal budget-making process, ensuring equal pay for work of equal value through proactive pay equity, and implementing the EI Parental Sharing Benefit, which supports a more equitable division of childcare in the home.
These things are not just the right things to do, they are the smart things to do because advancing gender equality benefits everyone.
Federal investments into Trent University support science and innovation and their importance to growing the economy
Touring a science lab at Trent University before the announcement of a $2.4 million federal investment to support fundamental research at the university on October 9, 2018.
What an exciting couple of months it has been at Trent University.
In October, our government doubled-down on our commitment to support science and our talented researchers by delivering historic investments of $558 million in research and the next generation of scientists. That includes $2.4 million to researchers at Trent including Dr. Christina Davy, who is studying the ecological effects of resource development on threatened wildlife, and Dr. Ian Power, who is researching carbon dioxide capture and storage in mining operations. Investments in science are essential to innovation and to the economic strength of Canada.
Our government values the economic, social and environmental impact of Trent University. With that in mind, it was an exciting evening as I joined the university in celebrating its Bata Library transformation with a formal grand opening on November 16.
By investing in people and places like the library, we help grow the middle class in Peterborough-Kawartha and support those working hard to join it. A $7 million investment through our government’s Post-Secondary Institutions Strategic Investment Fund for the Bata transformation is helping provide students with the resources and space they need to excel as Canada’s current and future leaders.
Young and old come together in Peterborough-Kawartha to pay tribute to veterans on Remembrance Day
Standing alongside Royal Canadian Sea Cadet Corps 112 Howe division prior to laying a wreath on behalf of the Government of Canada at the Cenotaph in Confederation Square at the annual Remembrance Day Service on November 11, 2018.
One of the things that stood out for me during the City of Peterborough’s Remembrance Day ceremony this year were the youth, battling the cold, saluting throughout the entire ceremony. That dedication and respect warms my heart as it shows our younger generations truly understand and appreciate the tremendous sacrifices made by our Veterans.
Remembrance Day is a time for reflection; a time to pause and honour the men and women who have sacrificed everything so that we as Canadians can live with peace and freedom.
This year marks several important anniversaries—the 100th anniversary of Canada’s Hundred Days and the Armistice, the 65th anniversary of the Korean War Armistice, the 10th anniversary of National Peacekeepers’ Day, and the 75th anniversary of the invasion of Sicily and the beginning of the Italian Campaign in the Second World War.
It was no surprise that large crowds were in attendance to pay tribute to all those who have served throughout our history, those who are currently serving, and their families.
Learn more about how the Government of Canada continues to improve the services and benefits for Veterans, their caregivers and their families at veterans.gc.ca/eng/services.
Women’s History Month highlights the past, present, and future of women in Peterborough-Kawartha and across Canada
54 women received the inaugural Peterborough-Kawartha Women’s Leadership Award and Sister Ruth Hennessey a Lifetime Achievement Award during a Gala at the Showplace Performance Centre on October 27, 2018.
Throughout October, Canadians celebrated the achievements and contributions of women and girls across the country and throughout our history with National Women’s History Month.
Locally, we culminated the month-long celebration with the first-ever Peterborough-Kawartha Women’s Leadership Awards. Fifty-four remarkable community leaders, whose biographies are online, were nominated for a number of different contributions; whether it be volunteering, public service, professional achievements, advocacy, or being a remarkable friend or family member, it was an honour to be able to celebrate these exceptional women.
Sister Ruth Hennessey was also recognized with a Lifetime Achievement Award for her decades of work serving the Peterborough-Kawartha community. The standing ovation she received on the night of the awards was powerful, and just a glimmer of how much she is appreciated by so many.
The awards were one of the many ways our community says to women, we value your leadership, we value your work, and we value you. Please make sure to say thank you the next time you see one of these women, or anyone in your life who could use a hug or a little praise for their efforts.
Wishing you and yours a safe and Happy Holiday!
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I want to wish everyone a Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Joyous Kwanzaa, beautiful Winter Solstice, and a prosperous New Year. All the best for this holiday season!