PRIME Minister Stephen Harper on Tuesday issued the following statement highlighting some of the government’s significant accomplishments in 2013:


IN 2013, our Government delivered on the priorities of Canadians: creating jobs and opportunities, supporting and protecting Canadian families, and putting Canada first.

We know Canadian families work hard for their money; that’s why we kept taxes low. The federal tax burden is at its lowest level in 50 years, and Canadian families are paying less in taxes than in 2006.

We’re also looking out for Canadians, among the most digitally connected people in the world, by introducing specific measures to promote more choice, lower prices and better service in Canada’s wireless and cable television markets.

And we know that nothing contributes to a better quality of life than a good job. Since 2009, Canada has created over one million new jobs, most of which are high-wage positions in the private sector.

To ensure that Canadians always have the first crack at available jobs we’ve improved the Temporary Foreign Workers Program, and introduced the Canada Job Grant to connect people with the skills training they need to fill available jobs.

Our Government also understands that spending more than you earn is not a sustainable path to prosperity. So in 2013 we introduced measures to reduce the federal deficit, as well as the size and cost of Government.

As a result of our actions, Canada’s economy remains among the strongest in the world, and we are on track to achieve a budget surplus in 2015-16. This will allow us to keep taxes low, and ensure that Government spending on priorities like health care is sustainable.

In October we reached an historic trade agreement with the European Union that will create thousands of new jobs for Canadians and give Canadian businesses from every region of the country preferential access to a half-billion affluent new customers in the EU.

We also continued to invest in the bridges, highways, harbours and transit systems that keep our economy moving. These investments include: supporting  small craft fishing harbours on the East Coast; redeveloping the Lévis ferry area in Quebec; improving the public transit system in Toronto; seeing the completion of Winnipeg’s Centreport Canada Way; building the Inuvik-Tuktoyaktuk highway to the Arctic Coast; and announcing an accelerated timeline for the construction of the new bridge for the St. Lawrence.

Our Government was there for the people of Lac Mégantic in the aftermath of the deadly train disaster, providing support for recovery and decontamination efforts, and for the victims of unprecedented flooding in Alberta.

And we will continue to be there for children and for victims of crime. That’s why we introduced legislation to crack down on cyberbullying and sexual predators on the internet. We also took steps to ensure that public safety comes first when authorities make decisions regarding persons found Not Criminally Responsible on Account of Mental Disorder (NCR), and we will introduce a Victims’ Bill of Rights to restore victims to their rightful place at the heart of our justice system.

After a decade of darkness, our Government is fulfilling its commitment to give Canada’s armed forces ‘more teeth, less tail.’ We launched the Defence Renewal initiative that will put front-line capability before back-office bureaucracy. And, from a new fleet of Chinook F-model helicopters, to progress in the building of new ships for the Royal Canadian Navy, and the modernization of our light armoured vehicles, we’re delivering the tools our armed forces need.

To further defend Canada’s sovereignty and long-term prosperity, our Government has been marshalling resources from across Government to establish and defend the outer limits of Canada’s continental shelf in the Atlantic Ocean and Arctic region. In 2013, the Government submitted two claims to the United Nations Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf.

We continued to work with Aboriginal leaders in 2013 to advance shared priorities, including: providing job and skills training; improving water and wastewater systems; strengthening transparency and accountability for First Nation governments; and enhancing the rights and protections offered to First Nations living on-reserve.

And Canada continued to play a vital role internationally. From the deployment of our Disaster Assistance Response Team (DART) in the wake of Typhoon Haiyan, and the provision of humanitarian assistance to innocent civilians affected by the ongoing conflict in Syria, to our ongoing support of initiatives to improve maternal, newborn and child health in developing countries, Canada is making a tangible difference in the lives of people around the world.

In the new year, our Government will build on the achievements of 2013 and continue to seize every opportunity to secure prosperity and security for Canadians.  We will do so by creating jobs and opportunities, supporting and protecting Canadian families, and putting Canada first.