Canadians take pride in our history as one of the world’s oldest continuous democracies. During the past 141 years, political parties have emerged and disappeared, leaders have come and gone, and governments have changed.
Constant in every case, however, is the principle that Canada’s Government has always been chosen by the people. And following the light of this democratic tradition, Canadians have built one of the most peaceful and prosperous countries the world has ever known – a land of hope and opportunity that inspires others around the globe, and has drawn millions as new immigrants to our country.
On October 14, for the 40th time since Confederation, Canadians voted in a national general election. We are honoured that you returned our Government to office with a strengthened mandate to lead this great country through the most difficult global economic crisis in many decades. Canada’s Government is acting to deal with the crisis, right now.
Further personal and business tax reductions are coming into effect; We are doubling spending on infrastructure; We are ensuring credit for businesses and consumers by injecting liquidity into financial markets; We are helping seniors who rely on RRIR income; And securing pension plans.
We are implementing the Automotive Innovation Fund and, working with the Government of Ontario, we are undertaking due diligence on any further requests for assistance from the auto industry. We are increasing support and incentives for manufacturers, the forestry sector, and others to pursue business opportunities. We are implementing agreements with the provinces to enhance labour mobility. And, next month on January 27, we will bring in a budget which will contain additional measures to boost Canada’s economy, while making sure we avoid a long term structural deficit in Canada’s finances.
In preparation for that budget we are consulting widely with Canadians, meeting with premiers of our provinces and territories, and working in collaboration with our international partners in G20. The Minister of Finance will be consulting with the business community and interest groups.
We are consulting with, and expect to hear more from, the opposition parties in Parliament. We hope they bring forward specific proposals – we have invited them to do so. In fact, we have already changed some of our proposals to meet their concerns. Unfortunately, even before the Government has brought forward its budget, and only seven weeks after a general election, the opposition wants to overturn the results of that election.
Instead of an immediate budget, they propose a new coalition which includes the party in Parliament whose avowed goal is to break up the country. Let me be very clear: Canada’s Government cannot enter into a power-sharing coalition with a separatist party.
At a time of global economic instability, Canada’s Government must stand unequivocally for keeping the country together. At a time like this, a coalition with the separatists cannot help Canada. And the Opposition does not have the democratic right to impose a coalition with the separatists they promised voters would never happen.
The Opposition is attempting to impose this deal without your say, without your consent, and without your vote. This is no time for backroom deals with the separatists; it is the time for Canada’s government to focus on the economy and specifically on measures for the upcoming budget. This is a pivotal moment in our history.
We Canadians are the inheritors of a great legacy, and it is our duty to strengthen and protect it for the generations still to come. Tonight, I pledge to you that Canada’s Government will use every legal means at our disposal to protect our democracy, to protect our economy, and to protect Canada.
Thank you, and goodnight.