Parliament Rises for Summer

I am certainly looking forward to returning home to our riding for the summer. This week, the House of Commons will adjourn and our Conservative government will have accomplished a great deal of work on behalf of Canadians since the beginning of 2012. There is no ‘political gridlock’ in Parliament; no threat of an election; and we have taken action on many policies that have been debated for years. With a strong majority government, we are wasting no time getting things done to ensure that Canada can build on the strength of our economy.

The latest example of how hard Parliament has been working was last week’s voting marathon caused by the 871 amendments proposed by the Opposition parties to Budget 2012. Almost all of these amendments were aimed at completely reversing measures in the Budget rather than contributing constructive adjustments or modifications to the Budget’s policy proposals. Considerable time and House resources, including support-staff working around the clock, were expended dealing with these amendments. All of these extra expenses cost Canadian taxpayers.

To further delay the passage of the Budget, the NDP began “slow voting” during the voting marathon they caused. Each NDP MP took as long as possible to cast their vote – slowly rising out of their chairs and then congratulating each other at length with handshakes, back-slaps, hugs and kisses before the next NDP MP slowly stood up to vote. Viewers around our riding report that they saw this as disrespectful to Canada’s policy making and democratic procedures. All this after the NDP stated that they would vote against the Budget before they even read it.

Budget 2012, the Jobs, Growth and Long-Term Prosperity Act (Bill C-38) introduced on March 29 was debated in the House for close to three months. The Finance committee created a special subcommittee to study it as per the request of the Opposition. Together, these committees held over 70 hours of meetings and heard from over 100 witnesses. Bill C-38 had more debate in Parliament than any other piece of legislation for the past 20 years.

I spoke in support of Bill C-38 at Third Reading, after the marathon amendment vote ended. Budget 2012 is a large document. It contains measures that my constituents have been asking for ever since I was first elected. These policies have been in our election campaign platforms for years. In preparing my speech, I read page after page of changes that included: eliminating multiple layers of redundant bureaucratic red-tape; collapsing and centralizing multiple governmental administrative functions; streamlining decision making processes; and many other measures that will save Canadian taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars every year going forward.

The Government of Canada has an annual budgetary deficit to eliminate, and an accumulated national debt to pay down. Our challenge is to do this while global economic turmoil threatens our nation’s progress. Canadian taxpayers want the federal government to keep its hands off our wallets. Our Conservative government will balance the budget in the mid-term. We will keep taxes low for hard-working Canadians and their families and we will continue to focus on providing jobs for Canadian workers and economic growth for our country. See you this summer!

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Kevin Sorenson

If you have any questions or concerns regarding this or previous columns you may write me at 4945-50th Street, Camrose, Alberta, T4V 1P9, call 780-608-4600, toll-free 1-800-665-4358, fax 780-608-4603 or e-mail sorenk1@parl.gc.ca.

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