On February 11th I was pleased with the budget that Finance Minister Jim Flaherty delivered.
Canada has weathered the worst of the global recession and we are leading growth recovery in the G-7 countries since 2006, generating close to 1.6 million new jobs. However, the fragility of the global economy is very real and we need to be prudent as we move forward in order to build on our recovery.
The global recession forced tough financial decisions on our Government and I am proud we stood strong and made those decisions to protect our economy. Now that we are on the upswing I am very happy to report that we will be balancing the budget in 2015, this is critical for our long term economic prosperity and I was encouraged with the focus on job training and our young Canadians.
Our Government is focused on connecting Canadians with jobs, for instance, our investment of $100 million dollars in interest-free loans to help apprentices registered in Red Seal trades complete their training, will help industry in Alberta and the riding of Wetaskiwin recruit and maintain the best workforce possible.
Additionally, we are introducing pilot projects to expand the use of innovative approaches to training appetencies. Moreover, we are investing $40 million dollars for up to 3,000 internships in high demand fields and $15 million dollars for up to 1,000 internships in small and medium-sized businesses.
I was very encouraged to see in the budget the elimination of the value of student owned vehicles from loan assessments. This will better reflect the needs of students in our riding and in rural communities who have to commute to class or work while studying.
Everyone in the riding has at some point experienced poor broadband service and some are still not on high-speed networks. Our Government is investing $305 million to extend and enhance access to high-speed broadband networks for up to an additional 280,000 Canadian households.
Overall, Alberta is benefiting from significant support through the major federal transfers. In fact all major transfers to Alberta this year total $5.2 billion dollars. $3.7 billion dollars through Canada Health Transfer, an increase of $2.1 billion or over 129% since 2005-06, the last year the Liberals were in government; and Alberta will see $1.5 billion dollars through the Canada Social Transfer, an increase of $878 million or almost 148% since 2005-06.
Our Government is on track to balance the budget; we are cutting taxes for Canadians and delivering the services they need without cutting major transfers to the provinces. Unlike the Liberal Leader, we know that the budget will not magically balance itself.
Please contact my Constituency office if you have any questions or concerns on any federally related matters, postage free, at: Bay #6A, 4612 – 50th Street, Ponoka, T4J 1S7; tel: 403-783-5530; toll free: 1-800-665-0865 or visit my web site: www.blainecalkinsmp.ca or on twitter at www.twitter.com/blainecalkinsmp.