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Finance Minister seeks input from Canadians

Canada is in a period of challenging economic times. We understand that many Canadians are worried about their jobs, savings and pensions.
Member of Parliament for Wetaskiwin Blaine Calkins hosted an open house at his constituency office in Ponoka on Dec. 17 from 1-5 p.m. Many people came to enjoy the refreshments

By Jim Flaherty

Finance Minister

of Canada:

Canada is in a period of challenging economic times. We understand that many Canadians are worried about their jobs, savings and pensions. While the global economic downturn originated outside our borders and our economy has been performing relatively better than most other countries, we are being affected negatively.

While we cannot fix the global economy ourselves, our Government has and will continue to take steps to help boost Canada’s economy. We’ve already taken some important steps to ensure we remain in a much better position than other G7 countries to get through this crisis: paying down debt, reducing taxes, along with working to enhance credit and loan availability, making large investments in infrastructure, science and technology, education and training. But clearly, more needs to be done.

That’s why on Jan. 27, 2009 I will deliver the earliest federal budget in history. This unprecedented step is in direct response to the current economic downturn.

As we prepare the budget, our Government is consulting widely across the country – talking and listening to individuals and groups about what substantial, smart and effective steps we should take to deliver real benefits to Canadians and the economy – while avoiding a long-term structural deficit.

Among the steps we’re taking to ensure we consult with as many Canadians as possible:

•I’m holding a series of roundtable discussions with business leaders, economists, academics, industry leaders, community and labour organizations in cities across Canada from Saint John to Victoria.

•We’re also organizing town hall meetings in other locations across Canada where I look forward to hearing from Canadians personally.

•I recently concluded meetings with Finance Ministers from all provinces and territories.

•I established a non-partisan Economic Advisory Council of prominent Canadians from across the political spectrum for advice on the budget and on the economy in the months ahead.

•I sat down with leading representatives of the other political parties – including the Official Opposition Liberal Party of Canada – asking for their early ideas.

•I have written every Member of Parliament asking them to consult with the people in their communities in the coming weeks on their local priorities and report what they hear back to me directly. I encourage all Canadians to contact their MP for further information.

I want to hear from all Canadians directly as well. This is your federal government, and each and every Canadian should have the opportunity to contribute their ideas. That’s why we launched an on-line consultation, and I’m asking everyone for their input. If you can, please take the time to get involved by visiting and click on ‘Budget 2009 Consultations.’

This is all part of our efforts to work together with Members of Parliament from all political parties, business leaders, economists, non-profit organizations, community groups, provincial, territorial and municipal governments, and others to identify the best ideas for the federal budget. We are rolling up our sleeves and taking all necessary steps to deal with the tough times ahead.

Canadians deserve to see their Government provide the stable leadership our country needs – and listening to them as well. With the input of Canadians like you from across the country, I am confident we can work together to build a stronger economy, and the jobs that come with it, for the years ahead.