THE following is the response by Raj Grewal, MP for Brampton East, sent to The VOICE on November 20 in response to the news titled “Brampton residents want ‘a safe and interactive environment’” posted August 23:
FIRST, I would like to thank you for inviting me to the wonderful community barbeque hosted in August. I am honored to be the Member of Parliament for Brampton East, and engaging with my constituents has always been a priority for me. I chose to run for office because I believe in serving my community, and will never forget to represent the interests of the people who sent me to Ottawa. Thank you for sharing your concerns and opinions with me, and thank you for trusting me to represent them.
Our government’s priority since coming into office has been to build a stronger economy by investing in the middle class and in the hard-working families who want to join it. Our latest fall economic statement reflects just that: Canada has the fastest growing economy in the G7, and the economic outlook has largely exceeded our expectations. In addition to maintaining a downward deficit, our government has created 450,000 jobs in the last two years, and the unemployment rate has dropped to its lowest level since 2008.
To help Canadian families, our government is strengthening the Canada Child Benefit and making sure that hard-working parents can save money and ensure a better future for their children. Furthermore, small business taxes are being reduced from 11% to 9%, and we are ensuring that key drivers in our economy are able to invest and grow. Our government is also enhancing the Work Income Tax Benefit (WITB) by an additional $500 million per year, for both families and single Canadians, in order to expand the number of Canadians who receive support.
Our government has also been working closely with municipalities and provinces in order to improve infrastructure in constituencies like Brampton East. I consider infrastructure a priority, and am actively communicating with various stakeholders to ensure that the people of Brampton East are getting the necessary support for such projects.
With regards to pharmaceuticals, our government understands that access to the right drugs is of the utmost importance to the health of Canadians, and is working on making Canada’s prescription drug system more affordable to all. For this reason, our government has mandated that the Minister of Health engage with the provinces and territories in increasing access to necessary prescription medications. The Standing Committee on Health has conducted an extensive study on the development of national pharmacare, and is using its results to conduct fruitful negotiations with the provinces and territories. Furthermore, in the year and a half since we joined the pan-Canadian Pharmaceutical Alliance, our government has been able to negotiate 60 agreements that allow Canadians greater access to pharmaceuticals. In the 2017 budget, $140.3 million over five years is allocated to lowering prices for prescription drugs. We understand the importance of promoting the health and safety of all Canadians, from coast to coast to coast, and will remain steadfast in our efforts to do just that.
Concerning your inquiry about NAFTA, I can convey that our representatives have been working hard to represent Canadian interests, and reach a beneficial agreement for all parties. Moving forward from the fourth round of negotiations, we will continue to defend our national interest with regards to issues like competitiveness and privacy rights. Our government welcomes the modernization of a good agreement, with the aim of making it even better for citizens and families of all three countries. Our goal is also to engage with Canadians on this issue, which is why we are conducting a consultation process to which you are welcome to contribute at the following address: <http://www.international.gc.ca/trade-commerce/consultations/nafta-alena/form-formulaire.aspx?lang=eng>. We welcome your feedback and are intent on advocating for the comfort and security of Canadians.
Thank you for expressing your concerns and conveying your ideas. Hearing from you is the most important part of my job, and I am grateful that you took the time to reach out. As always, if I can be of further assistance, please do not hesitate to contact me. My staff and I are always eager to assist in any way we can!