Last week, I touched on some of the federal government’s achievements since coming into power in 2015. I would like to continue highlighting some of the important work we have done.
As I am sure everyone has heard by now, thanks to the hard work of both Chambers of Parliament, the Cannabis Task Force, along with input from all Canadians, we have passed historic legislation that will legalize and strictly regulate the sale of cannabis in Canada. While we have a few steps left before legalization, including an implementation phase, it is, nonetheless, a transformative piece of legislation.
We know that our previous model of prohibition failed to keep our children safe. That is why this new legislation will place strict penalties on those who make cannabis available to youth under the legal age, while allowing adults to legally purchase, grow and use a limited quantity of cannabis.
It is important to remember that our existing laws are still in place until they are repealed and replaced on October 17, 2018. In the meantime, the government will continue with public education initiatives to help Canadians understand the new legal framework for cannabis, including legalization timelines.
Another extremely important action we took to stand up for Canadians was to impose countermeasures in response to the U.S. decision to impose illegal tariffs on Canadian exports. These countermeasures were necessary and equally match those by the U.S. government. This was a necessary action in order to protect the Canadian steel and aluminum industry, as well as workers and their families. This decision was not taken lightly and let me assure you that we will not back down until this issue is resolved fairly.
To further protect the interests of Canadian workers and businesses in these industries, the Government of Canada will also invest $2 billion as well as an additional $250 million to provide support through the Strategic Innovation Fund. This will help bolster the competitiveness of Canadian manufacturers and better integrate the Canadian supply chain of steel and aluminum.
Additional measures include; extending the duration of work-sharing agreements by 38 additional weeks under the Employment Insurance program to help employers retain their skilled workforce and avoid layoffs during challenging times. Canada will also increase funding to provinces and territories to make more job and training programs available to workers affected by these unfair U.S. measures.
I remain as committed as ever to seeing the North continue to grow and prosper. We have made significant progress, and there is a lot more to do.
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