A number of Canadian MPs, ministers, and senators are traveling across the country today, promoting the government’s Economic Action Plan, designed to prevent Canada from suffering the worst ravages of the recession. The Canadian media has already described this as the biggest single-day public relations offensive yet for a government – there are 80 press events scheduled around the country. David Akin, of Toronto Sun, has organized these by region and has converted all times to Ottawa time, in a list you can on this PR campaign.
An interesting move organized by officials in Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s government, yet not necessarily the ideal approach to promote a program that should promote itself through the results it brings for the citizens. So far, according to data from Statistics Canada, 460,000 new jobs have been created since the depth of the recession in July, 2009 – which David Akin reports as being the strongest job growth in the G7. So the government’s Economic Action Plan appears to be working, despite criticism from the opposition. But the same government is guilty for racking up the largest deficit in Canadian history, and there are no details in the so-called Economic Action Plan on how the government expects to address this problem.
Today’s scheduled press conferences are only part of the government’s PR push. Online, Canadian citizens can already monitor what has been done since the introduction of the Economic Action Plan:
- supporting the growth of small businesses by increasing the amount of small business income eligible for the reduced federal income tax rate of 11 percent;
- apprenticeship grants designed to make a career in the trades an attractive choice and encourage more apprentices to complete their training;
- providing increased funding of $60 million for the Targeted Initiative for Older Workers (TIOW) that enables more unemployed older workers to receive the specialized support they need to transition to new jobs;
- significant new personal income tax relief since 2009;
- a project to make Canada the first tariff-free zone in the G-20 for manufacturers, expected to result in the creation of up to 12,000 jobs over time; and more.
Basically, Canada’s Economic Action Plan provides $60 billion over two years to help protect and create jobs – and the efforts, regardless opposition opinions, are more than other governments elsewhere are willing to make. Far from being perfect, the plan works. According to the International Monetary Fund:
“On fiscal stabilization, the government appropriately charts a course to fiscal balance over the medium term. This would put net debt-to-GDP ratio on a downward trajectory from already low levels, maintaining Canada’s standing as [having] the strongest fiscal position in the G-7.”