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Local MP invites residents to take part in budget consultations

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  |  Posted: Thursday, Jan 09, 2014 12:23 pm

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Beginning Jan. 13, Wild Rose MP Blake Richards will hold a series of pre-budget consultation meetings across our constituency to seek public input for the federal government’s 2014 budget.

“My top priority is to ensure that the wishes of people in our constituency are heard,” said Richards. “I have held these pre-budget consultations each year since I was first elected in 2008. The suggestions I gather help me provide input directly to the Finance Minister and Prime Minister Stephen Harper.”

Richards will host a series of four pre-budget consultation meetings spread across the riding. Constituents are also encouraged to provide their insights and priorities at any one of the nine Community Office Hours regularly scheduled each month, at Richards’ main constituency office in Airdrie or by emailing Blake@BlakeRichards.ca

“The good news, going into this year’s consultations is that our government is on track to balance the federal budget in 2015,” said Richards. “In fact, we are bringing down the deficit faster than originally forecast; the 2011-12 deficit came in $7.4 billion lower than expected. This is due in part to our ironclad commitment to keep taxes low. We have cut taxes more than 160 times since forming government, reducing the tax burden on an average family of four by $3,220. When government is more efficient and effective that means more money in the pockets of Canadian families and business – where it belongs.”

Richards is pleased to report that the majority of the priorities set by constituents are included in the federal budget.

In 2013, Richards provided a series of specific recommendations for the budget based on issues raised by constituents. More than half have since been implemented or included in the government’s agenda moving forward, including a freeze on operational spending; a policy to reduce red tape, find efficiencies in the public service, addressing Employment Insurance concerns, dealing with looming labour shortages, continuing to make progress on balancing the federal budget, and adjusting the Temporary Foreign Worker Program.

“Over the past five years, I have found that the best suggestions for the federal budget come directly from constituents. I also find that constituents’ suggestions tend to be the most practical, and that’s why they have formed the basis for both my recommendations and the budget,” said Richards.

In addition to broader input, Richards is seeking specific direction from constituents.

“Our government is deeply committed to continuing to focus on job creation, economic growth and returning to a balanced budget in 2015,” said Richards, “To achieve these goals I am seeking direction from constituents in four specific areas.”

These include:

1. While Canada is still doing better than many other countries, we are still vulnerable to economic shocks from beyond our borders. Are there measures we can take to strengthen our economy in the face of global economic threats?

2. Canada is on track to balance the federal budget in 2015. In this context, are there any cost-neutral or low-cost measures the government can introduce in order to bolster Canada’s economy and position our nation to compete and prosper over the long-term?

3. Last year’s budget included a number of measures to ensure Canada’s finances remain on a sustainable track. In what other areas should we look for more efficient and effective spending?

4. How can our government further encourage private sector growth and leadership in the economy?

“Coming out of the global recession, I believe Canadians chose our government precisely because they wanted us to tackle these complex and important issues,” said Richards. “As your representative, I am seeking your input on these topics because I know these are the issues that will define our nation for years to come.”

“Please provide me with your suggestions and advice so I can ensure the voice of our constituency rings loud and clear within the 2014 federal budget.”

SIDEBAR

Pre Budget Consultations

· Canmore: Town Council Chambers (902-7th Ave.) Jan. 13, 6 to 7:30 p.m.

· Cochrane: Cochrane Toyota Community Room (#8 River Heights Dr.) Jan. 14 6 to 7:30 p.m.

· Airdrie: Cam Clark Ford Board Room (1001 Highland Park Blvd. NE) Jan. 15, 6 to 7:30 p.m.

· Olds: Town Council Chambers (4512-46 St.) Jan. 16, 6 to 7:30 p.m.


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