As Canadians look ahead to round ing the corner on COVID 19, our country is at a crossroads. The future of Canada is what is at stake and Canadians must choose which path to recovery they can trust. The path of Justin Trudeau’s reimagined economy veers off into the unknown, with more risky shutdowns and unknown untested changes that will leave millions more Canadians behind. It’s one where an Ottawa knows best approach picks and chooses which jobs Canadians should have and in what sector or region and where the connected few get richer, while working families get left behind. But Canada’s Conservatives are offering another path one of security and certainty. While less glamourous, it will safely secure our futur e and deliver us to a Canada where those who have struggled the most through this pandemic can get back to work. It offers a Canada where manufacturing at home is bolster ed, where wages go up, and where the dream of so many families in Canada have of affording a better life for their children can be realized. Canada’s Conservatives got Canada through the last recession, and with Canada’s Recovery Plan Canada’s Conservatives will get Canadians through this one too.
1. Secure jobs by recovering the one million jobs lost during the pandemic within one year.
This pandemic has been a blow to countries around the world with investments dropping and businesses closing. But long before anyone had ever heard of COVID 19, our economic indicators were flashing red. By the end of 2019, growth in the economy had slowed to almost zero, productivity had
been flat for two consecutive years, and business investments as a per cent of GDP hit a 25 year low. When the pandemic hit, Canada saw our unemployment rate soar from 5.7 percent to 13.7 percent. Even a year after the pandemic, we still have the highest unemployment in the G-7.
Canada’s Conservatives believe that every Canadian deserves the security and dignity that comes with a secure, stable, and well-paid job. That’s why we will enact a comprehensive jobs plan to get Canadians back to work across the country. We will:
- Take immediate action to help the hardest hit sectors, helping those – including women and young Canadians – who have suffered the most;
- Rebuild main street by assisting small business and providing incentives to invest in, rebuild, and start new businesses; and
- Create opportunity in all sectors of the economy and all parts of the country.
2. Secure accountability by enacting a new Anti-Corruption law to clean up the mess in Ottawa.
While Canadians have struggled to provide for their families, the Liberal government has been focused on helping their well-connected friends and insiders get ahead–leaving everyday Canadians behind. Under this government, there is one line for Liberal insiders and another for the rest of Canadians. We saw that the Prime Minister thought he was above the rules when he took a$215,000 trip to AgaKhan’s private island–or when he gave a half-a-billion-dollar contract to his friends the Kielburgers. Then he tried to cover it up.
Canada’s Conservatives will put the country first, by enacting the toughest accountability and transparency laws in Canada’s history.
- Toughen the Conflict of Interest Act and impose higher penalties;t;
- Toughen the Lobbying Act to end abuse by Liberal insiders; and
- Increase transparency to end Liberal cover ups.
3. Secure mental health through our Canada Mental Health Action Plan.
Every 24 hours, an average of 10 Canadians take their own lives. Of the approximately 4000 deaths by suicide each year, more than 90 percent were living with a mental health problem or illness. Canadians desperately need support.
According to the Canadian Mental Health Association, up to 80 percent of Canadians rely on their family physicians to meet their mental health care needs, but those services are limited. Evidence-based health care provided by addiction counselors, psychologists, social workers, and specialized peer support workers is the foundation of the mental health response in other G7 countries, but these services are not sufficient to meet the needs of our population. We must do better.
The last year has made clear the mental health crisis we face. It’s time to make it clear that mental health IS health, and to treat it properly. We will:
- Boost funding to the provinces for mental health care;
- Provide incentives to employers to provide mental health coverage to employees; and
- Create a nation-wide, three-digit suicide prevention hotline.
4. Secure our country by creating a strategic stockpile of essential products and building the capacity to manufacture vaccines at home.
From the beginning, the federal government did not take the possibility of a global pandemic seriously enough.
Canadians were shocked to find out Canada sent 16 tonnes of PPE to China in February of last year when every business in Canada was being asked to dig in the storage closet to find enough PPE for our front line workers.
Years of fighting with the pharmaceutical companies has stifled investment and innovation in Canada. The U.K was in a similar position at the start of the pandemic, but they made significant and strategic investments to build factories and create capacity to be able to produce vaccines domestically.
We must never again be caught as unprepared as we were when COVID hit last year. Canada’s Conservatives will make Canada more resilient, reduce our reliance on foreign countries like China, and take seriously our responsibility to protect the health of Canadians. We will:
- Partner with pharmaceutical companies to increase production of critical medicines and build domestic vaccine production capacity;
- Use procurements by government and those receiving government funding to strengthen domestic production of PPE; and
- Over haul and rebuild Canada’s National Emergency Stockpile System to ensure we have the supplies we need to be prepared at all times for future threats.
5. Secure Canada’s economy by balancing the budget over the next decade.
Never in the history of Canada has so much been spent to achieve so little. The tragedy isn’t just the money wasted, it’s that so much could have been achieved if the Liberal government budgeted properly and cared about the details.
All this borrowing has to be paid back with interest by Canadian taxpayers. Whenever Justin Trudeau says deficits are okay, Canadians should understand higher taxes are coming their way.
Spending to protect Canadians in the pandemic was the right thing to do, and Canada’s Conservatives supported it. But we can’t pass unsustainable debt onto future generations. Once the recovery starts, we will need to get spending under control. We will:
- Wind down emergency COVID support programs in a responsible way as Canadians are vaccinated and the economy re-opens;
- Ensure that stimulus measures are targeted and time-limited to avoid creating a structural deficit; and
- Get the economy growing again after years of slow growth under the Liberals, so that we have the revenue to pay for the government services that Canadians rely on.
6. Secure the Environment by balancing the budget over the next decade.
Today, the Leader of the Conservatives announced a plan for Canada to tackle climate change. The comprehensive plan will substantially achieve the same emissions reductions by 2030 as the government’s current plan, while creating jobs, and growing the economy. This will allow us to meet Paris climate targets set by former PM Stephen Harper – but without the Liberals’ carbon tax on Canadians. I am opposed to any tax that makes life more difficult for seniors, families or anyone who lives on a fix income. Further, the government should not be making the business of agriculture and ranching more challenging. Government should be making life better for Kootenay-Columbians, not more difficult. Some of the key points of the plan include:
- Low Carbon Savings Accounts. Enable Canadians to save money every time they fuel up. These savings can go towards buying your first electric car or making your home greener.;
- Lowering industrial emissions. Reduce carbon emissions from industry and meet our Paris commitment while keeping pace with the US and EU.;
- Increasing use of renewable natural gas;
- Implementing a low carbon fuel standard;
- Increasing carbon capture;
- More zero emission vehicles. Make Canada a leader in zero emissions vehicles by building them in Canada, upgrading our electricity grid, and investing in new energy technologies like hydrogen-powered vehicles.; and
- Carbon Border Tariffs. Stand up for our workers and businesses through carbon border tariffs that push major polluters like China to clean up their act, while securing Canada’s growth
Rebuilding Canada’s economic and environmental health is the cornerstone of our approach to combat climate change and secure the future for all Canadians.