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Finance Minister Jim Flaherty holds a press conference in the media lock-up prior to tabling the budget in Ottawa on Feb. 11, 2014. (SEAN KILPATRICK/THE GLOBE AND MAIL)
Finance Minister Jim Flaherty holds a press conference in the media lock-up prior to tabling the budget in Ottawa on Feb. 11, 2014. (SEAN KILPATRICK/THE GLOBE AND MAIL)

Full text of Finance Minister Flaherty’s 2014 budget speech Add to ...

In addition, Mr. Speaker, Budget 2014 will result in the largest annual increase in funding for research through the granting councils in over a decade.

Responsible Resource Development

In Canada’s very first budget speech, finance minister John Rose said, “What this country wants is care and judgement in the development of its resources.” Those words still ring true today.

That’s why our Government is promoting safe, responsible resource development that is not bogged down by unnecessary red tape.

Minister Rose also said, “We must not neglect the means necessary to bring our products of all kinds to a profitable market.” That is also true today, especially when it comes to energy. Making sure that Canadian energy remains available to markets around the world is a priority for this Government.

That’s why I am happy to announce today that Economic Action Plan 2014 sets aside funds for review of projects like the Energy East Pipeline proposal.

In addition, Canada has always been an exporting nation. Our investment in the new Windsor-Detroit crossing means Canadian goods will get to market faster, allowing businesses to grow, expand trade and help to secure a prosperous future.

Environment

Our Government is committed to protecting Canada’s environment. And that commitment is evident in our ongoing investment in National Parks.

In fact, since coming to office we have added more than 160,000 square kilometres to our National Parks and marine conservation system.

These priceless natural and historical places are a spectacular legacy for our children and we must ensure they remain pristine.

I am pleased to announce that our Government is investing to maintain these national treasures for the next generation to enjoy.

We will make substantial investments through Parks Canada to improve the highways, bridges and dams located in our National Parks and along our historic canals.

We know partnering with committed citizen groups can make conservation dollars stretch farther. That’s why we introduced the Recreational Fisheries Conservation Partnerships Program, which doubled the impact of every dollar invested in its first year.

Today we are increasing our commitment to protect even more sensitive fish habitat in the future.

Canada is blessed with a network of recreational trails that allow Canadians to connect with nature all year round.

It pleases me to announce that our Government will partner with the National Trails Coalition to make this recreational experience even better, fulfilling another of our 2011 platform commitments.

4. Standing up for Families and Communities

Families are the lifeblood of every community. Our Government is working hard to ensure that Canadian families are protected in their communities.

As part of these efforts, we will create a DNA-based Missing Persons Index to help bring some peace to the families of missing persons. For that, I want to thank Judy Peterson.

Mr. Speaker, we are also standing up for hard-working families trying to make ends meet.

Our Consumers First agenda will help ensure Canadians are also protected in the marketplace.

When Canadian families spend their hard-earned money, they should be confident that they are being treated fairly in a competitive marketplace.

That’s why we took steps to increase competition in the wireless sector, which has reduced wireless rates by 20 per cent.

That’s why we are:

  • Taking steps to lower wholesale roaming rates within Canada; and
  • Giving the CRTC the power to impose financial penalties on companies that do not comply with the rules.

We will also:

  • Introduce legislation to address the price gap between identical goods sold in Canada and the United States.
  • Continue our investments in Canada’s food safety system by hiring more inspectors to ensure the food destined for Canadian dinner tables is safe.
  • Prohibit the pay-to-pay practice that charges consumers for paper bills — including printed credit card statements.
  • Reduce red tape for charities by enabling them to apply for registration and file their annual returns electronically.
  • Make major investments to improve broadband coverage in rural and northern communities.

Conclusion

Mr. Speaker, I am proud of our Government’s record of fiscal restraint and good management. This record has been the envy of the world. I believe we have been, as Sir John A. wanted us to be, “trustees for the public.”

And I know that I speak on behalf of all my colleagues when I say that we are truly grateful to all Canadians for putting their trust in us.

We have worked hard. And we will continue to work hard to, as Thomas D’Arcy McGee said, “strengthen the faith of our people in their own future, the faith of every Canadian in Canada.”

Mr. Speaker, the plan unveiled today is another prudent step toward that brighter future.

Thank you.

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