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Apr 25, 2014 at 04:01 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

 
 

Tax forms, guides and envelopes for 2013 tax year now available
Feb 06, 2014 at 12:00 PM

Our office now has a limited supply of the T-1 General forms, guides and envelopes for the 2013 tax year. Please contact our office at 905-934-6767 and we would be happy to mail the forms to you, or stop by Monday to Friday between 9 am and 4:30 pm at 61 Geneva St. in downtown St. Catharines to pick them up.

Links

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Government of Canada Changes Cell Tower Placement Rules
Feb 05, 2014 at 04:21 PM

New rules will ensure Canadians have a say on cell towers in their communities

Over the last twenty years, wireless services have grown into something Canadian consumers rely on daily. As a result we are seeing an increasing number of new cell towers being constructed in our communities. Their placement is becoming an ever more divisive issue with the rapidly increasing demand for wireless services.

Canadians deserve to have a say in how new cell tower locations are identified in their communities.  Improvements to Industry Canada’s Antenna Tower Siting Policy will ensure that local home owners and municipal governments are at the forefront of the tower placement process.  

The changes guiding the installation of new antenna towers will include requirements that companies:

  • consult communities on all commercial tower installations, regardless of height;
  • build any tower within three years of consulting with communities; and
  • ensure home owners are well informed of upcoming consultations.

The improvements will also strengthen federal communications with the public on tower siting procedures, including new online resources on the process, and new reporting mechanisms to track tower issues and report back to communities.

These measures build on the Harper Government’s current tower sharing policies that require companies to first look at sharing existing tower infrastructure, whenever they can, to reduce the number of new towers needed in each community. 

Canadian consumers expect their government to make decisions that will deliver more choice, lower prices and better services in the wireless sector for all Canadians. The Government of Canada will continue to work with the wireless sector in the weeks ahead on ways to more effectively balance the concerns of local communities.

Quick facts

  • Under the existing cell tower siting policy, a company is only required to consult the community when it plans to build an antenna tower taller than 15 metres.
  • Before any company can build a new cell tower, it is required to look at alternatives like whether there is an existing tower in the same area that it can share.
  • All antenna towers, no matter the height, location or power, have to satisfy Industry Canada’s technical requirements and comply with Health Canada’s rules to ensure the safety of Canadians.

Links

  • Facts about Cell Towers

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Government of Canada Introduces Fair Elections Act
Feb 04, 2014 at 11:38 AM

Today Democratic Reform Minister, Pierre Poilievre, introduced a sweeping bill designed to protect the fairness of federal elections.

The Fair Elections Act will ensure everyday citizens are in charge of democracy, by putting special interests on the sidelines and rule-breakers out of business,” said Minister Poilievre.

“The bill also makes it harder to break elections law. It closes loopholes to big money, imposes new penalties on political imposters who make rogue calls, and empowers law enforcement with sharper teeth, a longer reach and a freer hand.”

The Fair Elections Act will implement 38 of the Chief Electoral Officer’s past recommendations.

The Fair Elections Act:

  • Protects voters from rogue calls and impersonation with a mandatory public registry for mass calling, prison time for impersonating elections officials and increased penalties for deceiving people out of their votes.
  • Gives law enforcement sharper teeth, a longer reach and a freer hand.  “Sharper teeth” means allowing the Commissioner to seek tougher penalties for existing offences. “Longer reach” means empowering the Commissioner with more than a dozen new offences to combat big money, rogue calls and fraudulent voting. Finally, a “freer hand” means the Commissioner will have full independence, with control of his or her staff and investigations, and a fixed-term of seven years, so he or she cannot be fired without cause.
  • Cracks down on voter fraud by prohibiting the use of vouching and Voter Information Cards as replacements for acceptable ID. Studies commissioned by Elections Canada demonstrate mass irregularities in the use of vouching and high rates of inaccuracy on Voter Information Cards. Voters will still have 39 forms of authorized ID to choose from to prove identity and residence.   
  • Makes rules easy-to-follow for all. Since the last election, the Commissioner has had to sign 15 different compliance agreements with those who have breached elections law. Some are due to honest mistakes. Members of all parties have noted that the rules can be unclear. Complicated rules bring unintentional breaches and intimidate everyday people from taking part in democracy. That is why the Fair Elections Act will make the rules for elections clear, predictable and easy-to-follow.
    Parties will have the right to advance rulings and interpretations from Elections Canada within 45 days of a request (a service similar to one provided by the Canada Revenue Agency). Elections Canada will also be required to keep a registry of interpretations and provide for consultation with and notice to parties before changing them.
  • Allows small donations in, and keeps big money out. Big money from special interests can drown out the voices of everyday citizens. That is why our laws strive to keep it out. The Fair Elections Act will ban the use of loans to evade donation rules. However, the Fair Elections Act will allow parties to better fund democratic outreach with small increases in spending limits, while imposing tougher audits and penalties to enforce those limits. It will let small donors contribute more to democracy through the front door and block illegal big money from sneaking in the back door.
    The Fair Elections Act’s modest adjustments in the donation limit (to $1,500) and election spending limits (up 5%) will let parties raise their own funds to reach out to Canadians. The total ban on union and corporate money remains.
  • Respects democratic election results. Members of Parliament and the Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) sometimes disagree on an MP’s election expense return.  When that happens, the Canada Elections Act provides that the MP can no longer sit or vote in the House of Commons, until the expense return is changed to the CEO’s satisfaction. The removal of a democratically-elected MP reverses the decision of tens of thousands of voters. The Fair Elections Act will allow an MP to present the disputed case in the courts and to have judges quickly rule on it, before the CEO seeks the MP’s suspension.
  • Upholds Free Speech. The Supreme Court has unanimously ruled that the ban on premature transmission of election results infringes on freedom of expression. The Fair Elections Act repeals this ban and upholds free speech.
  • Provides better customer service for voters by focusing Elections Canada advertising on the basics of voting: where, when and what ID to bring. Also, the Fair Elections Act would explicitly require Elections Canada inform disabled voters of the extra help available to help them vote. The Act will also establish an extra day of advance polling. The proposed change would give Canadians access to four advance polling days – the 10th, 9th, 8th and 7th days before Election Day.


The Fair Elections Act will make our laws tough, clear and easy-to-follow,” said Minister Poilievre. “It will make life harder for election law-breakers, and put the focus back on honest people taking part in democracy.”

For additional information, please visit: democraticreform.gc.ca.

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