With our new federal government’s first budget now tabled, I thought it would be a good time to take stock of some of our work over the last five months. Let’s look at the numbers.
25, 000 Syrian refugees.
Since taking office, our government has resettled 25, 000 Syrian refugees safely inside Canada.
I had the deeply moving opportunity to greet Halifax’s first Syrian refugee family at the airport in December. I was proud not only of our government for putting compassion into action, but also of our community. The airport was dotted with welcoming signs and Haligonians with open arms, taking this new family into our community.
The fact is, Canada’s diversity is Canada’s strength. And refugees’ entry into our country enriches the Canadian experience — where multiculturalism is prized, where compassion and tolerance is promoted, and where newcomers become our neighbours.
The Canadian identity is built on a long history of immigration, and now these new Canadians will become an important part of that identity, our nation, and its history.
While we’re here, another number: 300. That’s the amount by which federal Immigration Minister John McCallum agreed to raise the cap on immigrants entering Nova Scotia through the provincial nominee program this year. In the words of the Minister, “you’d have to be an idiot” not to hear Nova Scotia’s call for more immigrants. The total cap for 2016 is now 1350.
1 million dollars
That’s the amount in funding Neptune Theatre received this month from the government, including $945 000 from our federal government, and $100 000 from the province.
The Minister of Canadian Heritage, Melanie Joly, was in Halifax to make the funding announcement through the Canadian Cultural Spaces fund. The $1 million investment will go towards technical upgrades, seating, and a new outdoor sign.
This investment demonstrates our federal government’s commitment to the arts sector, and our recognition that an innovative economy is a strong economy. Neptune Theatre, for instance, employs 400 people and contributes more than $7 million to our local economy each year.
Our federal government is also launched “Innovation 150” with a $6 million dollar investment. The money will fund a travelling exhibition that will highlight Canadian thinkers, science, and innovation. It will travel to more than 80 communities across the nation.
During Minister Joly’s visit, she also announced $2.4 million for francophone community organizations across the Maritimes.
As you can see, investing in arts and culture, and honouring our Canadian heritage, is a key priority of this government, and we will continue to support our heritage, arts and creative sectors.
This one’s obvious — the year. But more than that, it’s the year our nation begins its transition to a low-carbon economy.
Our government understands that growing the economy and protecting the environment go hand-in-hand. But for a smooth transition into a low-carbon economy, we must retool our economy for this change. It will require action from businesses, multiple levels of government, and investors, all working together.
For its part, our federal government is committed to supporting our partners to support this transition. In Vancouver this March, the Prime Minister made two funding announcements which demonstrate just that. First, we invested $75 million for the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) to help local governments reduce emissions and build climate resiliency. The federal government’s funding of FCM has also allowed Halifax to continue its Solar City project — allowing more residents in Halifax to install solar panels on their homes. Second, we invested $50 million to improve resilience in building and infrastructure codes nationwide.
Halifax received a specific investment from the federal government as well. Local cleantech company DMF Medical Inc. received $687 000 — they’re reducing greenhouse gas emissions by reducing the emissions of anesthetic vapour in hospitals.
These investments from the federal government will help us reach our climate change goals and ensure long-term stability for the Canadian economy, and Canadian communities.
One last number: 902 426 8691. You guessed it — that’s mine. Please be in touch any time.