New Canadian leader vows tax cuts and smaller government

| 2/22/2006

Stephen Harper, now fully vested as the prime minister of Canada following the Jan. 23 election, wants to implement tax cuts and streamline the federal government to reduce waste.

Prime Minister Harper has made some of his agenda known on the government Web site,

The Conservative Party leader also recently named his 26-member Cabinet, which is more streamlined than the Liberal Party that held power for the past 13 years.

“My smaller Cabinet and more streamlined Cabinet structure are designed for work – not for show,” Harper stated. “The team is talented and balanced, reflecting our national diversity. The 26 Ministers are equal members of the team, ensuring equal voices from all regions of Canada. The structure is designed to promote accountable, efficient and effective government – more focus and purpose; less process and cost.”

Harper’s plan to integrate federal infrastructure into the Transportation Department and other agenda items have pleased various sectors of the trucking industry so far.

David Bradley, CEO of the Canadian Trucking Alliance and Ontario Trucking Association, issued this statement in response to Harper’s announcement.

“It seems like a good idea that Infrastructure was brought in under Transport,” Bradley written statement said. “And we are encouraged by the government’s election platform which promises a national highway and border infrastructure plan.”

Joanne Ritchie, executive director of the Owner-Operators’ Business Association of Canada, is also supportive of the new government.

“One result of the PM’s streamlining is to bring responsibility for infrastructure under the portfolio of the Transport Minister, which may bode well for the development of a national highway policy, something this country has never had,” Ritchie told Land Line.

Communities and Canada Post are also key components of Harper’s Transport Department, designed to link urban, inter-provincial and international infrastructure development.

Formerly in separate departments, Foreign Affairs and International Trade will be integrated under one of Harper’s new ministers. The joint department will oversee and coordinate relations and trade at home and abroad. This could also affect the way people do business internationally.

A lot of the seeds being planted now will take time to bear fruit, but so far, people are interested to see where Harper’s proposed tax cuts will come from.

Harper claims to want to roll back part the federal 7-percent Goods and Services Tax (GST), first adopted in 1991 for all things taxable except exempt items such as milk.

– By David Tanner, staff writer