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Nov 24, 2014 at 09:46 AM

Welcome to my online office. I have set up this website to give you a chance
to interact with me directly and to learn a little bit more about my work to
Stand Up for St. Catharines in Ottawa. I hope you will take the time to read
my blog, check out the community calendar and look at the services available
through my Community Office. Most of all, I hope you will take the time to
communicate your ideas and concerns by commenting on my blog, voting for the
online polls or sending me an e-mail. This website is here for you, so
please share your thoughts and ideas.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Rick Dykstra

Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Canadian Heritage


Oct 07, 2014 at 12:00 AM

Prime Minister Stephen Harper today issued the following statement on the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL)-specific motion after two days of debate in Parliament:

“Since early 2014, the so-called Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant – or ISIL – has been carrying out a campaign of unspeakable atrocities against innocent children, women and men, as well as religious minorities in Iraq. Specifically, it has tortured and beheaded people, raped and sold women into slavery, slaughtered minorities and kidnapped innocent victims whose only crime was to have a different ideology than ISIL.

“Last summer when ISIL stood on the brink of committing genocide in Northern Iraq, Canada’s allies, led by U.S. President Barack Obama, intervened. We joined in this response by providing humanitarian assistance to alleviate the suffering of the Iraqi people. We also provided Canadian Armed Forces specialists to offer advice to security forces in Iraq on battling the terrorists, and provided aircraft to transport weapons and supplies to fight ISIL.

“For two days we have debated a motion in Parliament to participate in air strikes against ISIL along with the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Australia, Denmark, the Netherlands, Belgium, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates and likely others. Canada has committed up to six CF-18 fighter aircraft as part of a strike force.

“The motion also set out continued assistance to Iraq and other allies in the areas of ongoing advice to security forces in Iraq, intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance and aircraft refueling, including the provision of one CC-150 Polaris tanker, two CP-140 Aurora surveillance aircraft and one dedicated airlift aircraft.

“To be absolutely clear, Canada’s engagement in Iraq is not a ground combat mission. It includes a number of targeted measures, being taken with allies, to severely limit the ability of ISIL to engage in full scale military movements and to operate bases in the open.

“We do not take this step lightly. The threat posed by ISIL is real. If left unchecked this terrorist organization will grow and grow quickly. They have already voiced their local and international terrorist intentions and identified Canada as a potential target.

“It is imperative that we act with our allies to halt ISIL’s spread in the region and reduce its capacity to launch terrorist attacks outside the region, including against Canada. 

“Our Government has a duty to protect Canadians and to shoulder our burden in efforts to combat threats such as ISIL. We must do our part.

“That is why we decided to seek support for this mission and support for the brave men and women of the Canadian Armed Forces who would carry it out.”

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Federally Registered Pooled Registered Pension Plans Now Available
Oct 07, 2014 at 12:00 AM

New federal retirement savings option available to businesses and individuals working in federally regulated industries as well as residents of the territories

October 7, 2014 – Ottawa, Ontario – Department of Finance

Minister of State (Finance) Kevin Sorenson today announced that the five insurance companies that have federal Pooled Registered Pension Plan (PRPP) licences (Sun Life, Great West Life, Manulife, Standard Life and Industrial-Alliance) have been registered with the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions and the Canada Revenue Agency. This was the final step necessary for the plan administrators to make federal PRPPs available to Canadians.

Quick Facts

  • PRPPs establish large-scale, broad-based, voluntary pension arrangements available to employees—with or without a participating employer—as well as the self-employed.
  • They will be low cost. By pooling pension savings, the cost of administering the pension funds will be spread over a larger group of people, allowing plan members to benefit from lower investment management costs.
  • Most of the administrative and legal burdens associated with a PRPP will be borne by a qualified, licensed, third-party administrator. Under the PRPP program, the onus of this fiduciary duty is transferred to a professional plan administrator.
  • PRPPs are straightforward in their design, will help small businesses and are intended to be largely harmonized across provinces. They will fit seamlessly into the existing system of tax rules and contribution limits for Registered Pension Plans and Registered Retirement Savings Plans.

“Today concludes the final administrative step in making federal PRPPs available to Canadians. This is a major milestone in providing an attractive new retirement savings option for those millions of Canadians—roughly 60 per cent—who do not have access to a workplace pension plan. It is also a significant achievement in the Government’s ongoing efforts to strengthen Canada’s retirement income system. I would like to encourage those provinces that haven’t implemented PRPP frameworks to do so expeditiously for the benefit of Canadians.”
- Kevin Sorenson, Minister of State (Finance)

“We commend the federal government for implementing a solution to help employers bridge existing gaps in the retirement system while maintaining existing employer-sponsored retirement plans, and are pleased to introduce our own PRPP to help more Canadians save.”
- Jeff Aarssen, Senior Vice-President of Group Retirement Services for Great West Life, London Life and Canada Life

“The PRPP is a very beneficial solution for eligible Canadians who did not have access to a group pension plan. We want to offer them tools to help them prepare better for retirement. It made perfect sense to enhance our offer by adding this new plan.”
- Renée Laflamme, Vice-President, Group Savings and Retirement, Industrial Alliance Insurance and Financial Services Inc

“Canadians without access to a workplace savings plan now have an easy, low-cost way to save for the future. With simplicity and affordability in mind, Manulife has created a cutting-edge federal PRPP with an innovative eApplication that can set up a contract in minutes. We also manage most of the ongoing administrative work, taking the burden off of advisors and employers.”
- Marc Avaria, Vice President, Group Small Business, Manulife

“Today marks an important step towards helping more Canadians save for a secure financial future, and Standard Life is proud to be part of it. Now that the federal PRPP and Quebec’s voluntary retirement savings plan are in place, we hope other Finance Ministers will soon adopt the PRPP framework that was agreed to a few years ago.”
- Charles Guay, President and CEO, Standard Life Canada

“We are excited to be a part of this important milestone in Canadian pension history. We are committed to providing Canadians with lifetime financial security, and this legislation is pivotal in providing access to a low-cost pension for the three to five million Canadians who do not currently have a workplace retirement savings plan.”
- Tom Reid, Senior Vice-President, Group Retirement Services, Sun Life Financial Canada

“The Canadian life and health insurance industry welcomes today’s announcement that five insurance companies have been licensed to provide PRPPs and believes it demonstrates the willingness of our industry to provide Canadians with an excellent vehicle to save for retirement. Because of our existing platforms in serving other pension plans, we can hit the ground running to provide top-quality, low-cost PRPP services to Canadians, particularly small and medium-sized businesses.”
- Frank Swedlove, President, Canadian Life and Health Insurance Association

“Today’s announcement is good news for Canadians looking for options to save for their retirement. It brings pooled retirement pension plans one step closer to becoming reality across the country, provided that provincial governments move quickly to allow financial institutions to offer them. In fact, CFIB recently signed an agreement with Standard Life in Quebec, which is the first province to adopt them, so that our small business members can provide their employees with access to these voluntary plans.”
- Dan Kelly, President, Canadian Federation of Independent Business


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Sisters in Spirit Vigil - Saturday, Oct. 4th
Oct 06, 2014 at 01:43 PM

On Saturday, October 4th, Rick, joined by two RCMP officers, attended the Sisters in Spirit Vigil, held by several local Aboriginal groups to remember missing and murdered Aboriginal women. 

The vigil was held just outside the Gatorade Garden City Complex and was attended by men, women and children, who sang songs and read the names of several southern Ontario Aboriginal women who have been murdered or gone missing. 

The two RCMP officers, Constables Craig Lickers and Keith Herechuk handed copies of the RCMP Report: Missing and Murdered Aboriginal Women – A National Operational Overview http://www.rcmp-grc.gc.ca/pubs/mmaw-faapd-eng.pdf to Marie Bowering of the Southern Ontario Aboriginal Diabetes Initiative and Wendy Sturgeon, Executive Director of the Niagara Chapter-Native Women Inc.

Rick handed Marie and Wendy copies of the federal government’s Action Plan to Address Family Violence and Violent Crimes Against Aboriginal Women and Girls http://www.swc-cfc.gc.ca/violence/efforts/action-eng.pdf .

Rick spoke briefly and told those in attendance that both he and the government take this issue very seriously and that constructive action must be taken immediately to solve any outstanding cases and to enact programs that will work to reduce the numbers of Aboriginal women and girls who experience any type of violence in our society.

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