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May 27, 2015 at 09:43 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

 
 

PM marks bicentennial of Sir John Alexander Macdonald’s birth
Jan 12, 2015 at 09:11 AM

Prime Minister Stephen Harper today visited the City of Kingston, Ontario, to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the birth of the Right Honourable Sir John Alexander Macdonald and to pay tribute to the important role he played as one of Canada’s founding fathers and as Canada’s first Prime Minister. During the ceremony, which was held in the Memorial Hall of Kingston City Hall, the city unveiled a restored portrait of Sir John A. Macdonald along with a special bicentennial stamp from Canada Post and a coin from the Royal Canadian Mint. The Prime Minister was joined by former Prime Ministers Kim Campbell and John Turner, Bryan Paterson, Mayor of the City of Kingston, Elizabeth Dowdeswell, Lieutenant Governor of Ontario, The Honourable Peter Van Loan, Leader of the Government in the House of Commons, The Honourable Lisa Raitt, Minister of Transport, and Gord Brown, Member of Parliament for Leeds–Grenville.

Born two hundred years ago on January 11, 1815 in Glasgow, Scotland, Sir John A. Macdonald played a key role in shaping Canada's history. He was instrumental, along with Sir George-Étienne Cartier, in the negotiations that led to Canada’s Confederation and later in expanding our country to the Pacific Ocean. They are two of the 36 Fathers of Confederation who met to share their vision on union and, ultimately, to forge a new country. During his years as Prime Minister, Canada experienced rapid growth and prosperity. Manitoba, British Columbia and Prince Edward Island all entered Confederation between 1870 and 1873, while the last spike of the Canadian Pacific Railway's transcontinental line was driven into the ground in 1885. Sir John A. Macdonald established the North-West Mounted Police, the precursor to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, and the first Canadian national park in Banff, Alberta.

The bicentennial of the birth of Sir John A. Macdonald is one of a number of nation-building milestones the Government of Canada is commemorating in the lead up to Canada’s 150th anniversary in 2017. Each of these milestones represents an opportunity to celebrate the events that have shaped our history and made Canada what it is today.

Quick Facts

  • The City of Kingston is launching the Sir John A. Macdonald 200th anniversary year of celebration on January 11, 2015. Sir John A. Macdonald had a life-long connection with the city as a child, student, member of the militia, lawyer, businessman, alderman, Member of Parliament and community member.
  • The portrait was presented to John A. Macdonald in 1863 and shows the self-assured young Macdonald standing in a classic pose typical of formal full-length portraits fashionable at the time.
  • At all three conferences that led to Canada’s Confederation (Charlottetown and Quebec in 1864 and London in 1866), Sir John A. Macdonald was a strong advocate for a federation of provinces and was one of the main architects of the new constitutional structure, uniting colonies of British North America into one Dominion on July 1, 1867.
  • In recognition of his role in Confederation, John A. Macdonald was named Canada’s first Prime Minister, a position that he held for almost 19 years from 1867 to 1873 and again from 1878 to 1891.

“Sir John A. Macdonald is one of Canada’s most important political and historical figures. His accomplishments are cemented in our country’s history. Our Government is committed to protecting and preserving his legacy of patriotism and his dedication to Canada.” – Prime Minister Stephen Harper

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Last Updated ( Jan 12, 2015 at 09:17 AM )
PM announces that the Canada Apprentice Loan program is now accepting applications
Jan 08, 2015 at 12:00 AM

Prime Minister Stephen Harper today announced that the Canada Apprentice Loan initiative is now open for business and accepting applications. The initiative will help those already apprenticing to complete their training and encourage more Canadians to pursue a career in the skilled trades, allowing participants to take advantage of the many job opportunities across Canada. The Prime Minister was accompanied by The Honourable Jason Kenney, Minister of Employment and Social Development and Minister for Multiculturalism, The Honourable Kerry-Lynne Findlay, Minister of National Revenue, The Honourable James Moore, Minister of Industry, The Honourable Alice Wong, Minister of State for Seniors, Dan Albas, Parliamentary Secretary to the President of the Treasury Board, Nina Grewal, Member of Parliament for Fleetwood–Port Kells, John Weston, Member of Parliament for West Vancouver—Sunshine Coast—Sea to Sky Country, and Senator Yonah Martin.

The Canada Apprentice Loan, which was introduced in Economic Action Plan 2014, will provide apprentices in Red Seal trades across Canada with access to interest-free loans. These loans will help apprentices address the costs they encounter during technical training, including educational fees, tools and equipment, living expenses and forgone wages. It will be managed by the Canada Student Loans Program, within Employment and Social Development Canada.

Apprentices registered in a Red Seal trade apprenticeship will be able to apply for loans of up to $4,000 per period of technical training. The loans are interest-free until after loan recipients complete or leave their apprenticeship training program, up to a maximum of six years.

Those interested in applying for the Canada Apprentice Loan can do so through the Canada Apprentice Loan Online Service which is available through Canada.ca/apprentice.

The Canada Apprentice Loan is one of many initiatives that the Government has undertaken to encourage apprenticeships and career training. Other significant efforts include apprenticeship grants, Employment Insurance benefits for apprentices taking technical training, tax credits and deductions for employers and apprentices.

Quick Facts

  • It is estimated that at least 26,000 apprentices a year will benefit from over $100 million in Canada Apprentice Loans. 
  • According to Statistics Canada, almost 360,000 people are enrolled every year in over 400 apprenticeship and skilled trades programs; however, only half of apprentices are completing their programs, (in part, because of the financial demands incurred during their technical training.)
  • There are approximately 2.9 million skilled trade workers in Canada which represent 17 per cent of the workforce.
  • Red Seal trades include 57 skilled trades, such as bakers, bricklayers, carpenters, electricians, gasfitters, heavy equipment operators, ironworkers, machinists, painters, plumbers, sheet metal workers, and truck mechanics, to name a few.
  • The Conference Board of Canada predicts that Canada will need one million additional skilled workers by 2020. 
  • From March through June 2014, the Government of Canada held discussions on the Canada Apprentice Loan with key stakeholder groups including training providers, apprenticeship organizations and industry representatives as well as with provincial and territorial governments.

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UPDATED: Prime Minister Stephen Harper Highlights Government's 2014 Achievements
Dec 31, 2014 at 02:20 PM

Prime Minister Stephen Harper today issued the following statement highlighting some of the Government’s major accomplishments in 2014:

“I am proud of what our Government has achieved for hard working Canadians and their families in 2014.

“Our Government announced measures that will put considerable money back in the pockets of Canadians through the doubling of the Children’s Fitness Tax Credit and making it refundable, the Family Tax Cut, the increased and expanded Universal Child Care Benefit, and the greater Child Care Expense Deduction limits. In fact the average benefit to Canadian families of measures announced in 2014 will be over $1,100 per year.

“Through major infrastructure initiatives under the New Building Canada Fund and other infrastructure initiatives/investments, the Government is committing billions of dollars to support projects in communities across the nation – including roads, bridges, transportation networks, airports, and rail service – generating tens of thousands of new jobs.

“The conclusion of free trade negotiations with both the European Union and Korea, together with substantial efforts to boost job training, Canada’s digital connectivity and research, innovation and the commercialization of ideas will also help generate job growth in Canada for years to come.

“We continued to live within our means, staying on course towards eliminating the deficit and promoting efficiencies so that we are on track, as promised, to balance the budget in 2015.

“Our Government also took significant measures this year to promote the safety and security of families both at home and abroad.

“In Canada, we introduced ground-breaking legislation which will ensure that innocent victims of crime have clear rights in our judicial system and tougher penalties for child predators. In the aftermath of the deadly attacks on Warrant Officer Patrice Vincent and Corporal Nathan Cirillo and on Canada’s Parliament, we have also begun work to ensure our laws and policing powers are strengthened.

“On the international front, we took a strong stance against Russian military aggression and expansionism in Ukraine. Canada is also contributing to the fight against the terrorist group known as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), which threatens not just the Middle East, but Canada.

“We continued to lead global efforts in promoting the health of women and children in developing countries, including by hosting the highly successful Saving Every Woman, Every Child: Within Arm’s Reach Summit in Toronto, in May, where Canada further committed to improving the health of mothers and children from 2015 to 2020.

“Our Government also continued to strongly support Israel’s legitimate right to defend itself against those who would do it harm. I had the chance to deliver this message in person during a historical appearance before Israel’s Knesset in January, which was a deep honour.

“In the new year, our Government will continue to build on the remarkable achievements of 2014 with a view to delivering the prosperity, safety and well-being that Canadians deserve.”

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Last Updated ( Dec 31, 2014 at 03:22 PM )
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