McLeod delivers budget speech in parliament

OTTAWA – Cathy McLeod, Member of Parliament for Kamloops – Thompson – Cariboo delivered her response Mar. 24, to Budget 2011 in the House of Commons.

“When I hosted Finance Minister Jim  Flaherty in Kamloops this past January for a pre-budget roundtable, the participants represented all sectors and demographics of our riding. We heard presentations on a variety of issues, from work sharing agreements to tax credits for volunteers firefighters,” said McLeod. “After compiling all budget submissions from throughout the riding, I was pleased to present Prime Minister Harper and Minister Flaherty with a comprehensive overview.”

“I’m pleased to report that after reviewing Budget 2011, ten items included in my submission appeared in the budget. These include:

• Extending the work-sharing agreements by up to 16 weeks with increased flexibility in order to reflect the realities of small business.

• Enhancing the Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS) for those seniors who rely almost exclusively on the Old Age Security and the GIS.

Extending the temporary 15 per cent Mineral Exploration Tax Credit for an additional year  (until March 31, 2012) to continue to help companies raise capital for mineral exploration.

• Introducing a Volunteer Firefighters Tax Credit for volunteer firefighters who perform at least 200 hours of service in their communities.

• Supporting the transformation of the forestry sector by proposing to provide $60 million in 2011-12 to help forestry companies innovate and tap into new opportunities abroad.

• Investing $400 million in 2011-12 for the ecoEnergy Retrofit- Homes program to help homeowners make their homes more energy efficient and reduce the burden of high energy costs.

• Attracting more health care workers to under-served rural and remote communities by forgiving a portion of the federal component of Canada Students loans for new family physicians, nurse practioners and nurses who practice in these communities.

• Providing assistance to Canada’s manufacturing and processing sector by extending the temporary accelerated capital cost allowance rate for investment in machinery and equipment for two additional years.

• Introducing a new 15 per cent Children’s Arts Tax Credit, provided on up to $500 of eligible expenses for programs associated with children’s artistic, cultural, recreational and development activities.

• Legislating a permanent annual investment of $2 billion in the Gas Tax Fund to provide predictable, long-term infrastructure funding for municipalities.

“The budget was a balance between providing for those in need and returning to a budget surplus by 2015-2016, and truly reflective of the priorities of Kamloops Thompson Cariboo,” concluded McLeod.