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A momentous year for our country ends on a positive note

The year 2011 will go down as a momentous one in Canadian politics.

The year 2011 will go down as a momentous one in Canadian politics. Voters gave us a majority mandate for the first time since the unite-the-right movement created the new Conservative party of Canada and the intervening months since have seen us deliver on many key planks of our election platform.

A year that began with the opposition parties uniting to obstruct our governmentís Parliamentary agenda will end with the passage of several pieces of legislation that have languished for many years. Initiatives to boost the economic recovery and improve public safety have been the hallmark of the 41st Parliamentary session.

Marketing freedom for Western Canadian farmers under a voluntary Canadian Wheat Board; additional seats in the House of Commons for under-served provinces including Alberta; and passage of the Safe Streets and Communities Act that cracks down on violent gangs, drug traffickers and sexual predators are all new measures that have passed the House of Commons in the seven months since our re-election on May 2.

Itís common on the cusp of a new year to look back on the old, but it is also an ideal time to look ahead with anticipation for the future. In 2012, our governmentís overarching priority will continue to be the economy. About 600,000 more Canadians are working today than at the start of the global recession. Weíll continue to work towards eliminating the deficit and building new opportunities for Canadian businesses and farmers through trade deals, as well as the new ëBeyond the Borderí deal with the United States that will streamline access for goods and people across the border, boosting commerce and tourism.

On a personal level, I look forward to meeting with you next month at a series of budget consultations I will hold in communities around the constituency to learn your priorities for the upcoming federal budget. I also look forward in 2012 to continuing as the Chairman of the Parliamentary Tourism Caucus to work with colleagues and industry stakeholders to improve prospects for the tourism sector.

In addition, next year will see me continue to navigate my private memberís bill C-309 through the House of Commons. If passed, my bill will improve public safety by making it an offence for persons to wear a mask or to otherwise conceal their identities during a riot or unlawful assembly. This legislation has been well received by police chiefs, who say it will allow them to better identify and charge rioters and even help to prevent violent riots.

A new year stretches ahead full of promise and opportunity for our great nation of Canada. I wish you health and prosperity in 2012 and I look forward to continuing to work hard for you as your representative in Ottawa in the year to come.

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