‘Positive signs’ at retreat

One of my duties this past week as Canada’s new minister of state (finance) was to accompany Finance Minister Jim Flaherty as he hosted

One of my duties this past week as Canada’s new minister of state (finance) was to accompany Finance Minister Jim Flaherty as he hosted his seventh annual National Policy Retreat in Wakefield, Que.

Every year, our finance minister brings together a group of distinguished Canadians — business representatives, academics and other experts — to discuss a wide range of economic challenges facing Canada.

“Our government is focused on supporting job creation and economic growth, as we help secure Canada’s longterm prosperity and competitiveness in an increasingly globalized economy,” Flaherty said. “I look forward to working with participants to identify the key innovations that will help us achieve these crucial objectives.”

Participants at the retreat examine issues, including skills shortages, labour mobility, internal trade, and promoting investment in Canada, as well as actions that the Government of Canada and the private sector can take to build a stronger, more prosperous country.

I met everyone invited to the policy retreat and I was impressed by their accomplishments, sincerity, knowledge and their eagerness to contribute to the discussions.

Everyone has recognized the challenges our nation is confronting, given the economic difficulties in many other countries. Canadians must be diligent when it comes to being able to deal with problems that arise beyond our country’s borders.

Canada isn’t immune to global economic developments. Weak economic growth in both advanced and emerging economies can affect what we in Canada hope to achieve.

Our government is positioning the Canadian economy to meet these ongoing global economic challenges by balancing the budget in 2015 and stimulating job creation and economic growth.

These kinds of discussions are an important part of our democracy. They’re immensely helpful and productive in shaping the future of Canada’s economy.

Our own annual pre-budgetary consultations in Crowfoot, which I usually hold early in the year in different locations in our riding, are always well-attended and local constituents always bring many constructive suggestions and recommendations. We have lively discussions. I was encouraged to see the same level of concern and sense of dedication for the development of good policy for our nation at the policy retreat in Wakefield.

Anyone who wants to discuss such issues can write me at 4945—50 Street, Camrose, AB, T4V 1P9, or call 780-608-4600; toll-free 1-800-665-4358.

— From The Hill