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Mar 28, 2015 at 11:04 PM

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


North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) - 20 Years
Nov 03, 2014 at 11:36 AM

NAFTA @ 20


  • The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), signed by Prime Minister Brian Mulroney, Mexican President Carlos Salinas, and U.S. President George H.W. Bush, came into effect on January 1, 1994.
  • The NAFTA was built on the success of the Canada-U.S. Free Trade Agreement and provided a compliment to Canada’s efforts through the WTO agreements by making deeper commitments in some key areas.
  • With the signing of the NAFTA, the world's largest free trade area was formed. The Agreement has brought economic growth and rising standards of living for people in all three countries.
  • The NAFTA, being the first comprehensive trade agreement of its type, has set a valuable example of the benefits of trade liberalization for the rest of the world.
  • In the event of a dispute, the NAFTA directs the governments concerned to seek to resolve their differences amicably through the NAFTA’s Committees and Working Groups or other consultations. If no mutually acceptable solution is found, the NAFTA provides for dispute settlement procedures. One of the principle elements of the NAFTA is the establishment of a clear set of rules for dealing with the settlement of disputes. The NAFTA was the first agreement to afford cross-border investors an impartial legal tribunal to address differences.
  • Under the NAFTA, tariffs on all covered goods traded between Canada and Mexico were eliminated in 2008. Tariffs on covered goods traded between Canada and the United States became duty free on January 1, 1989, in accordance with the CUSFTA which was carried forward under NAFTA.


  • Since 1994, NAFTA has generated economic growth and rising standards of living for the people of all three member countries. By strengthening the rules and procedures governing trade and investment throughout the continent, NAFTA has proven to be a solid foundation for building Canada’s future prosperity.
  • NAFTA has had an overwhelmingly positive effect on the Canadian economy. It has opened up new export opportunities, acted as a stimulus to build internationally competitive businesses, and helped attract significant foreign investment.
  • By any measure the NAFTA has been a success by serving as a basis to grow both trilateral and bilateral North American relationships and the results speak for themselves. Our integration helps maximize our capabilities and make our economies more innovative and competitive. In 1993, trilateral trade within the North American region was US$289 billion. In 2012, our total trilateral merchandise trade reached nearly US$1.1 trillion – an increase of nearly 3.7 times in US dollar terms.
  • Reflecting the prosperity and development of the region, the North American economy has more than doubled in size since 1994. The combined gross domestic product (GDP) for Canada, the U.S., and Mexico was US$19.2 trillion in 2012 up from nearly US$8.0 trillion in 1993.
  • Cooperation through the NAFTA has created a North America where Canadian, American and Mexican companies do more than make and sell things to each other, now, our companies increasingly make things together. For example, over half of Canadian manufacturing exports to the U.S. are intermediate exports.


  • The NAFTA’s provisions ensure greater certainty and stability for investment decisions by guaranteeing fair, transparent and non–discriminatory treatment of investors and their investments throughout the free trade area.
  • The NAFTA has contributed to enhancing Canada’s attractiveness to foreign investors while providing more opportunities for Canadians to invest in NAFTA partners’ economies. Investment is a key pillar of economic growth. In 2012, the stock of investment in Canada from U.S. was CA$326.5 billion, while Canada has invested CA$295 billion in our NAFTA partners.
  • Canada and the U.S. have one of the world’s largest investment relationships with a bilateral investment stock totalling almost CA$616.0 billion in 2012, according to Canadian statistics.
    The stock of Canadian direct investment in Mexico has increased dramatically since NAFTA entered into force, reaching nearly $5.6 billion in 2012, up from only $530 million in 1993.


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PM announces tax cuts, increased benefits for families
Oct 31, 2014 at 11:14 AM

Prime Minister Stephen Harper today announced new measures to help make life more affordable for Canadian families. He was joined by Joe Oliver, Minister of Finance, Julian Fantino, Minister of Veterans Affairs, Candice Bergen, Minister of State (Social Development), and Stella Ambler, Member of Parliament for Mississauga South.

The proposed new measures include:

  • The Family Tax Cut, a federal tax credit that will allow a higher-income spouse to transfer up to $50,000 of taxable income to a spouse in a lower tax bracket. The credit will provide tax relief – capped at $2,000 – for couples with children under the age of 18, effective for the 2014 tax year. Income splitting is helping seniors across the country, which is why the Government is now proposing similar relief for families.
  • Increasing the Universal Child Care Benefit (UCCB) for children under age six. As of January 1, 2015, parents will receive a benefit of $160 per month for each child under the age of six – up from $100 per month. In a year, parents will receive up to $1,920 per child.
  • Expanding the UCCB to children aged six through 17. As of January 1, 2015, under the expanded UCCB, parents will receive a benefit of $60 per month for children aged six through 17. In a year, parents will receive up to $720 per child.
  • Increasing the Child Care Expense Deduction dollar limits by $1,000, effective for the 2015 tax year. The maximum amounts that can be claimed will increase to $8,000 from $7,000 for children under age seven, to $5,000 from $4,000 for children aged seven through 16, and to $11,000 from $10,000 for children who are eligible for the Disability Tax Credit.
    Families can claim the Family Tax Cut in the spring of 2015 when they file their 2014 tax returns. They will begin to receive payments under the enhanced UCCB in July 2015. The July UCCB payment will include up to six months of benefits to cover the period from January through June 2015.

The enhanced UCCB will replace the existing Child Tax Credit for the 2015 and subsequent taxation years.  The outgoing Child Tax Credit was based on a fixed amount per child under the age of 18 years and amounted to tax relief of up to a maximum of $338 per child.  Effective 2015 the UCCB provides $1,920 per year for each child under the age of 6 (increased from $1200) and $720 per year for each child aged 6 through 17.

Quick Facts

  • All families with children will benefit from the new measures introduced by our Government. The average tax relief and benefits for these families will be $1,140 in 2015.
  • Low and middle-income families will receive two-thirds of the overall benefits provided by the package.
  • The Family Tax Cut will eliminate or significantly reduce the difference in the federal tax payable by a one-earner couple relative to a two-earner couple with a similar family income.
  • Earlier this month, the Government announced its intention to double the Children’s Fitness Tax Credit and make it refundable. The maximum amount of expenses that may be claimed under the credit will be doubled from its current limit to $1,000 for the 2014 tax year and subsequent tax years, and the credit will be made refundable effective for the 2015 and subsequent tax years.
  • Canadians at all income levels are benefiting from federal tax relief measures introduced since 2006, with low and middle-income Canadians receiving proportionately greater relief.
  • Previous tax-relief measures introduced by the Government since 2006 have resulted in a tax reduction of approximately $3,400 in 2014 for an average two-earner family with two children.

Here are some examples of how Canadian families will benefit from the new measures introduced by our Government:

  • Two-thirds of the benefits flow to low-and-middle income families. 
  • Families earning less than $30K will receive an average benefit of $1,218. 
  • A single parent with two children earning $30,000 receives $1,524 per year. 
  • A two income family with two kids where the mother earns $48K and the father earns $12K will receive a benefit of $1,186 - 36% of their federal tax bill. 
  • A two earner couple making $48K and $12K with one kid will see their tax bill reduced by 25%.
  • A two income family with two kids with one parent making $96K and the second parent making $24K will benefit by $3,000. 
  • A single parent making $50K with two kids will see $986 in relief and benefits.

“Our Government is focused on helping hard-working Canadian families make ends meet, by making important priorities like child care and after-school sports more affordable. Under this plan, every family with children will have more money in their pockets, to spend on their priorities as a family.

“Our Government is fulfilling its promise to balance the federal budget. We are now in a position to fulfill our promise to help Canadian families balance theirs.”

- Prime Minister Stephen Harper


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Last Updated ( Nov 07, 2014 at 04:19 PM )
General (Retired) Walter Natynczyk becomes Deputy Minister of Veterans Affairs
Oct 30, 2014 at 12:36 PM

Prime Minister Stephen Harper today announced General (Retired) Walter Natynczyk, currently President of the Canadian Space Agency, becomes Deputy Minister of Veterans Affairs, effective November 3, 2014.

Bio: General (Retired) Walter John Natynczyk, C.M.M., MSC, CD


Business Administration Degree, Royal Roads Military College and College militaire royal de Saint-Jean, Quebec

Graduate of the Canadian Forces Command and StaffCollege, Toronto, Ontario

Masters of Military Science, United StatesArmyWarCollege, Carlisle, Pennsylvania

Professional Experience

Since August 2013

President of the Canadian Space Agency

2008 - 2012

Chief of the Defence Staff, Canadian Forces

2006 - 2008

Vice-Chief of the Defence Staff, Canadian Forces

2005 - 2006

Chief of Transformation, Canadian Forces

2004 - 2005

Deputy Director of Strategy, Policy and Plans, then Deputy Commanding General of the Multi-National Corps (Iraq), on exchange with the United States Army

2002 - 2003

Deputy Commanding General, III Corps in Fort Hood, Texas, United States Army

2001 - 2003

Student, US Army War College, Carlisle, Pennsylvania

1999 - 2001

Director, Joint Operations and Plans (J3), Canadian Forces

1998 - 1999

Canadian Contingent Commander (Bosnia-Herzegovina), North Atlantic Treaty Organization - Stabilization Force

1996 - 1998

Commanding Officer, The Royal Canadian Dragoons, Petawawa, Ontario

1995 - 1996

Deputy Director, National Headquarter Secretariat, Vice-Chief of the Defence Staff, Canadian Forces

1994 - 1995

Chief of Operations Sector South West (Bosnia-Herzegovina), then ChiefLand Operations United Nations Protection Force, Zagreb, Croatia

1986 - 1994

Various staff and command positions, Canadian Forces, including a United Nations tour of duty in Cyprus (1989), and postings in Petawawa and Toronto, Ontario, and Saint-Hubert, Quebec

1983 - 1986

Squadron Commander, Royal Military College of Canada

1979 - 1983

Various positions, The Royal Canadian Dragoons, Canadian Forces Europe, Lahr, Germany

1977 - 1979

Student, Royal Military College Saint-Jean, Quebec

1975 - 1977

Student, Royal Roads Military College, Victoria, B.C.

- See more at: pm.gc.ca

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Last Updated ( Oct 30, 2014 at 12:43 PM )
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