Were here to help

It is an honour to continue serving as your Member of Parliament. The work I do for you in Ottawa is important, as I strive to give voice to your needs and aspirations on the national stage.

But it is equally important for me to make sure that I’m actively engaged in helping you in our community. I want to make sure that you get fair and timely access to federal government programs and services, and that we help sort out problems in these areas when they arise.

I am blessed to work with amazing staff, whose commitment and dedication to public service is unparalleled. Together, we make every effort to assist with all matters that fall under federal jurisdiction.

When possible, we also do our best to refer constituents to other levels of government or to non-governmental organizations that may be able to provide support and assistance with problems outside our jurisdiction.

Each level of government is, of course, responsible for its own programs and services. But it’s not always easy to know whom to call for what. Hopefully, the list below will help you navigate through that confusion, and give you easy phone access to the answers you need.

I hope that this information is helpful to you, and I look forward to helping you with any questions or issues you may have with respect to federal government programs.

Investment Canada Act sells out steelworkers, but government says thats okay because companies are making money

Ms. Chris Charlton (Hamilton Mountain, NDP): Mr. Speaker, one of the problems, of course, with an omnibus budget bill is that one can pick and choose what one decides to talk about and skim over some of the rest. With the Conservatives, unfortunately, the devil is always in the details when it comes to their budget bills.

I want to ask about two issues in particular that I did not hear the member mention and that trouble me.  …

Second, there are provisions in this budget that also deal with the Investment Canada Act.

The member would know that on a number of occasions I have raised the story of the U.S. Steel buyout of Stelco under the Investment Canada Act where absolutely no production or employment guarantees were met by that company. The government took them to court, and was winning every step of the way, but then folded like a cheap shirt.

How do these Investment Canada Act provisions actually help the people who are now for the third time, in three collective agreement negotiations, locked out by the company?

Hon. Rob Merrifield: Mr. Speaker, it is an absolutely wonderful story that we have with regard to investments in Canada, and for those who come to this country to invest and create opportunities for employment in manufacturing, as well as the opportunity in the long run for Canadians on investments. This is one of the first times in the history of our country that we actually have the floodgates wide open because it is all about confidence. People are going to invest in this country because of the confidence that is here that they would actually be making money.

In fact, I was talking to a group this morning from chemical corporations in this country that are dealing with investments. They are looking at infrastructure builds of $5 billion over the next five years. They are saying that they have corporations all over the world, but the corporations that are making the most money are really Canadian corporations. Why? It is because of the competitive advantage that we are giving them. We are working to make certain that we have the opportunities for Canadians to be able to develop manufacturing jobs and good jobs in the long run. These are one small example of the kinds of investments that are coming into this country. …

A message from Chris

Dear Friends,

As tax receipts begin to arrive in mailboxes, it seems like an ideal time to talk about the perversion of our tax system. Yes, I did say the perversion.

I got into politics because I believe in building a more equal Canada, and achieving that goal requires measures to address income inequality.

In recent years, more and more income and wealth has been concentrated in the hands of the wealthiest Canadians. Most middle and working class families have not enjoyed a real increase in their income in many years. In fact, income inequality is now as bad as it was in the late 1920s. In part that’s because of deliberate government policy.

Successive Liberal and Conservative governments have made fiscally and socially irresponsible decisions about the Canadian tax system. Ottawa now spends some $18 billion every year on tax benefits for profitable corporations and wealthy individuals – those who need help the least.

Those funds should be redeployed to more productive purposes that will promote prosperity and build a more equal Canada – priorities like green jobs, health care, education and training, public transport, public and cooperative housing, and poverty reduction.

Failing to do so is a direct assault on our collective ability to build a better Canada. And it is a perversion of our tax system into an instrument that wastes billions of dollars creating more inequality.

Fair taxes build safer, better educated and healthier communities. Fair taxation improves incomes for those who need it most and that, in turn, produces a benefit to all Canadians because tax breaks to those at lower income levels puts disposable income in the pockets of people who use it to buy food, shelter, and basic necessities that stimulate local economies.

The poor do not take their tax savings off shore; they spend it locally, benefitting local shops and producers, creating and sustaining jobs in our communities, and improving tax revenues.

When the Conservatives bring forward their Budget this spring, let’s hold them accountable for the tax choices they make. And let’s make sure that there is no disconnect between the taxes we pay and the benefits we receive.

In the meantime, I’ll continue to work hard to ensure that everyone on the Mountain receives the tax credits and benefits to which they are entitled.

In friendship and solidarity,

 

Chris Charlton, MP

Hamilton Mountain

Happy New Year

Dear Friends,

As we usher in the new year, I can’t help but reflect on the year that was.

For New Democrats, it was one heck of a rollercoaster ride.

We celebrated one of our greatest victories and mourned one of our greatest losses.  We overcame huge obstacles on our journey to government only to have more put on that path.  We were led by one of the greats and now we look for someone to fill his impossibly large shoes.

It’s been exhilarating and exhausting, tragic and inspiring.

Inevitably, 2012 will bring even more changes.

But as your Member of Parliament, I will continue to work hard to ensure that this year the changes ahead will leave our country stronger.  We need to grow our economy, create more jobs, and strengthen the middle class.  We must build a Canada where no one is left behind.

There is no doubt that Stephen Harper’s Conservatives have a different agenda.  They’ve already foreshadowed the program cuts that will mark their 2012 Budget, and talk of the need for everyone to tighten their belts when in fact Canadians are barely making ends meet now.  Meanwhile, the tax giveaways to the Conservatives’ wealthiest friends are exempt from Harper’s axe.

It’s an agenda that my NDP colleagues and I will continue to oppose.  We are absolutely committed to building a more just, green and equal country for all Canadians.

I look forward to working with you as we continue on that important journey together.

With warm wishes for a happy and healthy new year,

Chris

Thank you Hamilton Mountain!