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The Harper Government is fulfilling its promise to balance the budget in 2015. Canada's Economic Action Plan has been underpinned by prudent fiscal management and the Government's low-tax plan for jobs, growth and security. Since the depths of the recession, over 1.2 million net new jobs have been created—overwhelmingly full-time, well-paying and in the private sector.
At the same time, the Government has lowered taxes every year since coming into office, and has delivered the lowest overall federal tax burden in over 50 years.
The Government's balanced-budget, low-tax plan for jobs, growth and security is working. But the job is not done. There are new challenges on the horizon, and the Government must stay the course to protect the economic interests of Canadians and the security of Canada.
Economic Action Plan 2015 (EAP 2015) builds a stronger Canada by:
Increasing National Defence Funding
The Harper Government is increasing National Defence funding so that our brave men and women have the resources required to protect the rights and freedoms we value most as Canadians. To provide ongoing support for National Defence, EAP 2015 will increase the automatic annual escalator for National Defence's budget to 3 per cent starting in 2017–18. Over 10 years, this will provide National Defence with an additional $11.8 billion and will help ensure that Canada can continue to field a combat-capable military ready to serve at home and abroad.
Supporting the Deployment of the Canadian Armed Forces
From Afghanistan to Libya to Iraq, Canada has effectively contributed to allied operations to deter terrorism and help bring stability to troubled countries and regions. Canada is resolved to stand with our allies against the threat of ISIS. The ongoing deployment of the Canadian Armed Forces as part of the international coalition's effort to combat ISIS is a measure of the Government's commitment to countering the terrorist threat that ISIS poses. EAP 2015 will provide National Defence with up to $360.3 million in new funding for the Canadian Armed Forces to extend its mission by 12 months as part of the international coalition's ongoing efforts to combat ISIS.
Canada also remains at the forefront of the international community's support to Ukraine. NATO allies and other partners continue to reinforce collective defence and demonstrate solidarity in Eastern Europe. EAP 2015 will provide $7.1 million in 2015–16 for the Canadian Armed Forces to deliver enhanced training support to the Ukrainian Security Forces.
Increasing Security at Canadian Armed Forces Bases
Recent events have demonstrated that Canada must be vigilant in ensuring the safety and security of Canadians, and particularly Canada's men and women who proudly serve in uniform. EAP 2015 will provide $23 million over four years on a cash basis to upgrade the physical security of Canadian Armed Forces bases. This investment will help protect Canadian Armed Forces personnel and military assets.
Canada is not immune to the threat of terrorism. This was tragically demonstrated by last October's attacks in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu and Ottawa. EAP 2015 will provide additional resources to counter terrorism to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, the Canadian Security Intelligence Service and the Canada Border Services Agency.
Taking Action for Veterans
Canadian veterans, through their courage, determination and sacrifice, have helped ensure that we live in a free country, and have aided in spreading peace and security throughout the world. To better recognize the important contribution they have made, EAP 2015 is dedicated to ensuring that veterans and their families receive the support they need by:
- Introducing a new Retirement Income Security Benefit to provide additional financial security after the age of 65 for moderately to severely disabled veterans.
- Expanding access to the Permanent Impairment Allowance to help compensate disabled veterans for the loss of career opportunities associated with their disabilities.
- Modifying the Earnings Loss Benefit to ensure that part-time Reserve Force veterans have access to the same level of income support as Regular and full-time Reserve Force veterans.
- Creating a new tax-free Family Caregiver Relief Benefit to recognize the vital contributions of informal caregivers to the health and well-being of veterans.
- Increasing the level of individualized care to veterans requiring regular support by improving the ratio of veterans to case managers.
The Government will ensure Canada's vital cyber systems—systems that are relied on daily by Canadians and that are critical to national security—remain safe and reliable. Over the next five years, EAP 2015 will provide $36.4 million to protect vital cyber systems against cyber attacks and $58 million to enhance the security of the Government of Canada's networks and cyber systems.
Parliament Hill Security
The Government is committed to ensuring the safety and security of Canadians. In the wake of the October 22, 2014 attack in Ottawa, EAP 2015 will provide support for security on Parliament Hill. The new security model will provide protection for visitors, parliamentarians and staff, while maintaining access to the home of our democracy for all Canadians.
Protecting the Integrity of Our Borders
EAP 2013 announced a number of initiatives under the Beyond the Border Action Plan to address threats as early as possible and expedite the flow of legitimate goods and people. Through EAP 2015, the Government is continuing to take steps to achieve that balance while encouraging travel to Canada by expanding eligibility for the Electronic Travel Authorization to low-risk travellers from selected countries. This will help make Canada a more attractive destination for tourism and business, while allowing the Government to focus resources where it matters most—on higher-risk travellers.
Strengthening Community Safety
EAP 2015 reinforces the Government's commitment to ensure that Canadian communities are safe. All Canadians—including the victims of crime, their families, and those who serve Canada's justice system—need to be assured that Canada's courts are safe and functioning well. To this end, EAP 2015 will provide new funding for enhanced security measures at federal courts and court administration buildings across Canada.
The Government understands that we live in a dangerous world and takes the responsibility to protect Canadians seriously. In the past year, Canada has been at the forefront of the international community's fight against ISIS, and in providing support to Ukraine.
The Anti-Terrorism Act, 2015, will help our law enforcement and national security agencies stop those who promote terrorism, prevent terrorist travel, thwart efforts to use Canada as a recruiting ground for terror and prevent attacks on our soil.
EAP 2015 builds on these efforts with further action to better protect Canadians from the threat of terrorism, maintain the integrity of our borders, and support the Canadian Armed Forces as they continue to uphold Canadian interests and values.
With these and other measures, EAP 2015 takes concrete actions to protect
Canadians and keep families safe.
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