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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 ...

Our Government continues to eliminate waste that will cut the cost of government without cutting programs Canadians depend on.

Going forward: The Government will freeze the operating expenses of departments. We will continue to divest government assets when in the best interest of Canadians to do so.

By doing these things, we will not only balance the budget in 2015, we will achieve a surplus.

But let me be clear: A return to surplus is not a licence to spend recklessly. What we will do — what we have always done — is stay the course. We will make sure Canada’s fiscal position remains strong, strong enough to weather any future global economic storms. That starts with paying down the debt.

2. Keeping Taxes Low

And keeping taxes low.

Even in the toughest economic times, our Government has worked hard to reduce the tax burden for Canadian families and Canadian businesses.

In fact, the federal tax burden is the lowest it has been in 50 years.

Since taking office we:

  • Delivered more than 160 tax relief measures.
  • Lowered the GST to 5 per cent from 7 per cent.
  • Introduced pension income splitting for seniors.
  • Created the Working Income Tax Benefit — WITB — to help ensure that low-income workers are better off by taking a job.

Now, an average family of four pays $3,400 less in tax in a year.

But we also know that taxes help fund programs and services Canadians rely on. And we will keep closing tax loopholes so every Canadian pays their fair share.

3. Promoting Jobs and Economic Growth

Mr. Speaker, by keeping taxes low we have created the best environment for business investment in the G7. And those businesses create jobs for Canadians.

Creating jobs and opportunities remains our Government’s top priority. We already have the best record for job creation among G7 nations. Since the depths of the economic recession, employment has increased by more than one million. These jobs are overwhelmingly full-time and in the private sector.

And we’re making sure that opportunities are there for everyone. We have invested in apprenticeship programs and measures to increase the numbers of people with disabilities, young people and Aboriginal Canadians in the workforce by helping them find the job training they need.

But there is more we can and will do: That’s why today I am pleased to announce the Canada Apprentice Loan, which will give apprentices registered in Red Seal trades access to interest-free student loans millions of other Canadians have benefited from previously.

And that is why the Prime Minister announced more than $1.9 billion in new funding to implement the First Nations Control of First Nations Education Act.

Canada has one of the best-educated work forces in the world. In fact, the number of Canadians under 25 with university degrees has gone up by more than 50 per cent since 2002.

Still, getting that first job after finishing college or university can be challenging. To help young people get the first, critical work experience they need, our Government will focus investment to support internships in high-demand fields and in small and medium-sized businesses.

As well, we will support two programs that will help people with disabilities find jobs and stay employed.

Ready, Willing & Able is an initiative to help Canadians with intellectual disabilities become part of the workforce.

We will also invest in a program to help young people with autism find rewarding jobs.

We will also implement an enhanced Job Matching Service to help unemployed Canadians get back to work by connecting them with employers looking to hire individuals with their skill set.

Expression of Interest System

We will also introduce a new Expression of Interest system to ensure Canada has an efficient, flexible immigration system that matches the needs of employers.

Research and Innovation

Mr. Speaker, Canada leads the G-7 when it comes to investing in postsecondary research.

And we know that investments in science and technology help Canadian business remain competitive while creating high-paying jobs. That’s why we have invested more than $11 billion in new resources since

2006 to support science, technology and innovative companies that are opening new frontiers for Canada.

And that’s why I am very pleased today to announce our Government’s investment in the Canada First Research Excellence Fund.

This fund will support the strategic research priorities of Canada’s postsecondary institutions and help them excel globally in research areas that create long-term economic advantages for Canada.

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