Two years ago this month, our new government was sworn in. Though change takes time, we made commitments and are working hard to follow through on them. Two years into our first term, many positive steps have already been made towards achieving our goal of improving the economy, as well as the lives of Canadians. Here are some highlights of what we have been able to achieve so far.
As we know, rural Canada has significantly different needs than urban areas of our county; concerns such as Internet speed, and reliable service are paramount. To begin to address these issues, the Connect to Innovate program provided more than $40 million to bring high-speed Internet to communities in the Kenora riding, with more to follow.
Connecting the North doesn’t just mean having access to modern technology. It also means that we need all-weather roads and reliable power in order to help grow our economy. For example, just this past August, $60 million was announced for Wataynikaneyap Power to build a 117-kilometre grid line from Red Lake to Pikangikum First Nation. Community members living in Pikangikum will finally have access to reliable and clean power that all Canadians have come to expect.
In these first two years, students have benefitted through the Canada Summer Jobs (CSJ) program. This year, our riding saw a total investment of $900,000 which helped to create more than 300 jobs. In comparison, during the summer of 2015, under the previous government, the riding received $176,614, creating only 79 jobs.
We also continue to strengthen the Canada Child Benefit (CCB). First introduced in 2016, the CCB will increase two years ahead of schedule, starting in July 2018. For a single parent of two children making $35,000, these changes mean that the CCB will increase by $560 in the 2019-20 benefit year to help with the cost of raising children.
Seniors are more financially secure today as a result restoring the age of eligibility for Old Age Security (OAS) and Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS) from 67 to 65, and increasing the GIS top-up by $947. This will help 900,000 vulnerable seniors gain greater financial security. With changes to the Canada Pension Plan, seniors will also see an increase of the maximum level of pension earnings to 14 per cent as of 2025.
A very good indicator is illustrated in the growth of our economy. In just two years, more than 500,000 jobs have been created and youth unemployment is the lowest on record. At the same time, over nine million Canadians have benefitted from tax cuts.
There is always much more to be done, but I believe we have set a positive course of direction. Taking care of those most vulnerable, supporting small business, investing in our youth, and keeping our promise to improve the lives of Indigenous peoples is something that all Canadians can be proud of. In upcoming articles, I plan to provide more updates to keep you informed of our progress and results.
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