Canada’s economy is strong and growing, driving wages up and unemployment down. Our debt- to-GDP ratio continues to shrink, which permits the government to make targeted investments; I want to highlight three that might interest you.
- Supporting Canadian Journalism
You may have attended my recent MP Breakfast Connections with Dr. Taylor Owen where we learned about declining revenues for non-partisan traditional media, and the danger to Canada’s democracy if ethical journalism is replaced by targeted, internet-based dissemination of false, partisan or distorted “news”. He called for government to act. I am pleased to say the Fall Economic Statement (FES) included three new initiatives to defend independent Canadian journalism: a) allowing non-profit news organizations to receive charitable donations and issue official donation receipts, b) a new refundable tax credit to support the creation of original news content, and c) a new temporary non-refundable tax credit to support subscriptions to Canadian news media’s digital services. These changes will support strong, quality journalism, and assist the news sector as it adapts to the digital age.
- Financing for Social Enterprise
Last spring our Vancouver Quadra Constituency Youth Council (CYC) co-hosted an MP Café with me, to explore the benefits of Social Innovation and Social Finance. Our event’s Report was forwarded to Ottawa, where government was also consulting on these themes with experts from the charitable and non-profit sectors. Our government has acted! The FES includes the creation of a self-sustaining $755 million, 10-year Social Finance Fund. The Fund will help close the capital financing gap facing organizations prioritizing positive social outcomes, and help create lending pools for micro-loans and other innovations that strengthen communities.
- Sustaining Canada’s Wild Fish Stock
The health of our wild Pacific salmon is a very high priority for most of us. I am pleased the government is making further investments to protect them, including actions outlined in 2012’s Cohen Commission Report on the Fraser River sockeye. The FES includes a new $107.4 million investment over 5 years, and $17.4 million per year ongoing. This will also help implement many restored Fisheries Act requirements, reversing harms done by the previous government. Projects will focus on science partnerships, innovation, and clean technology adoption; and infrastructure investments will improve productivity, sustainability and safety. As we learned from our MP Breakfast speaker UBC Professor Dr. Andrew Trites – more research and more abundant salmon are also keys to protecting the Southern Resident Killer Whales that rely on salmon for food!
Our government’s Fall Economic Statement demonstrates how the focus on growing the economy can allow for prudent investments with tangible benefits for Canadians.