Member of Parliament for Battlefords-Lloydminster
Canadians are on the cusp of history as the political spectrum shifts on every front. Opportunities are unfolding that haven’t appeared for more than a decade. It’s a most important time for Canadians to re-engage in the political process.
Canadians are calling for change.
As the Conservative agriculture critic my work revolves around a single question: how do we best help farmers right at the farm gate? Agricultural programs must be refocused to benefit producers, not the bureaucracy. Government must make taxes fair and keep roads and railways in good condition. Trade barriers between provinces and countries must come down. Canada must add value to its raw materials. Farmers need complete control of the Canadian Wheat Board and all Canadian farmers must have the same opportunities to market their products where they choose.
Conservatives continue to call for real cuts to the taxes Canadians pay. When Canadians spend their own money, the economy grows to benefit everyone.
Some argue tax cuts cripple important public programs that only government red tape can hold together. There’s got to be a better way to run the country. Government must facilitate rather than stand in the way of progress. High taxes spread through the complexities of numerous levels of government restricts growth and leads to waste and inefficiency. Government must realize innovation, not regulation, strengthens society.
Important programs such as employment insurance must remain focused on helping Canadians who are out of work. As finance minister, Paul Martin collected $44 billion more than the program needed to pad his budgets and create his personal fiscal prudence myth.
Nowhere is innovation more important than in health care. Every Canadian must have access to health care regardless of ability to pay, but remaining firm on that principle doesn’t mean standing still. Medical science is moving forward through innovation and government’s handling of health care must move forward as well. Health care must focus on the patient, not haggling between different levels of government. Paul Martin’s budgets as finance minister cut provincial health transfers by $25 billion.
Citizens who own and use firearms responsibly shouldn’t face government interference. Screening, appropriate storage and safety training are acceptable and necessary requirements for firearm ownership. It is criminal use of guns that must lead to severe consequences.
Canada’s strength is built on its security. The RCMP, Armed Forces and Coast Guard, Customs Officers and Park Rangers must have modern equipment to protect that security. As finance minister, Paul Martin cut those agencies’ ability to protect Canadians by $20 billion.
When Paul Martin dethroned rival Jean Chrétien to become prime minister, he promised change; change Canadians have yet to see. Billions in taxpayers’ money continues to flow to an ineffective gun registry and questions about hundreds of millions inappropriately funneled to Liberal-friendly ad firms remain unanswered. The new government criticizes the past government it was a part of and takes credit for its successes without taking responsibility for its abuses. The past decade represents a litany of missed opportunities for Canadians.
Canadians deserve better.
Canada is a great country with wonderful, hard working people. Every year we welcome new citizens who want to share in this country’s potential. They come because they see a free society of responsible citizens building a strong economy featuring prosperous farms and vibrant cities. They see a society where individuals can express themselves openly and associate freely.
Canada needs a government that envisions this same potential.
Gerry Ritz, MP
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