I had the honour today of joining dignitaries 6000 KMS away in Ypres, Belgium.
There was a ceremony at the IFF Museum celebrating John McCrae and his poem “In Flanders Fields”.
The mayor of Ypres and Laureen Harper were in attendance bringing greetings from Canada and Ypres to Guelph.
I can honestly say, without hesitation, that this was the moving ceremony I have ever seen. From the music, singing and poetry it had many in attendance at our museum moved to tears. Me included.
The ability through Skype to address them live on behalf of our great city was beyond words.
This is an annual event put on by the Guelph Chamber of Commerce. Yesterday’s event main sponsor was Bell. Thank you for your support.
I decided to bring a prop along to show the room how serious I am about economic development and job creation.
Here I am with Chamber CEO Kithio Mwanzia:
What an honour it was for me to finally meet our Premier. A very gracious and wonderful lady, she welcomed me and 18 other mayors into her boardroom to discuss issues of great importance to our communities. (A great sense of humour too!)
On behalf of LUMCO, I was tasked with presenting to the Premier issues around job creation. IT went very well.
My hour and half meeting with her allowed me to see much much more than the 8 second sound bites or opinion pieces from the media. Like her policies or not, she came across to me as principled, willing to take risks and willing to follow through on tough decisions.
As Mayor, many people have asked me today what my thoughts were on the Federal Government budget released yesterday. And, any thoughts on how Guelph fits into it?
My initial thoughts are that this budget is positive for families, seniors, businesses and municipalities.
The headline grabber for me, is the proposed surplus that is projected by the government. How it was achieved can be questioned, and will be questioned all day long, but a surplus if achieved is a good thing. The deficit has been reduced from $55.6 billion at the height of the global economic and financial crisis to a projected surplus of $1.4 billion for 2015–16.
For families, I see income-splitting and I see claims to provide assistance to families through tax relief by increasing the limits on tax free savings accounts to $10,000. They are reaffirming a commitment to reduce employment insurance premiums in 2017 and extending Employment Insurance Compassionate Care Benefits from 6 weeks to 6 months to support Canadians providing care for family members. However this will cost $37 million annually.
Businesses seems to a winner as well. Especially with the continued breaks in taxes to small business as it proposes to reduce the tax rate from 11% to 9% by 2019. Manufacturing receives up to $100 million over 5 years, starting in 2015-2016, to support product development and technology by Canadian auto parts suppliers through a new Automotive Supplier Innovation Program. Yet some of the funds will come from the existing Automotive Innovation Fund. We have a large manufacturing sector in Guelph, and in the automotive category, so this I’m sure will be of interest to them.
Seniors and persons with accessibility issues get a new tax credit to retrofit their homes.
As a member of FCM, a release was sent out as well. It is HERE.
Also, AMO has stated this below about transit commitments found in this budget:
Highlights for Municipal Governments:
- Commitment to create a new permanent Public Transit Fund for expanding infrastructure in major mass transit systems across Canada. The fund will start in 2017-18 with $750 million over two years and increase to $1 billion annually thereafter. Funding design and eligibility are not yet known.
So there are some initial thoughts on what was presented. I am now awaiting the next budget from Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne and I will share my thoughts on that with you as well.
Hello #Guelph – Just thought I’d share important details of the week ahead! Your feedback & engagement is important and always welcome!
2pm – Meeting with Premier Kathleen Wynne to discuss economic development and jobs.
6pm – Special Council Meeting at city hall – Meeting room C – to discuss the council shared agenda for this term. (This is extremely important so please look at this link and send comments to myself and your councillors about what we’re looking at doing over this term for you and our city! The link is HERE.)
9am – Upper Grand School Board Management and Ministry Conference
10am – Helping out the Guelph General Hospital with fundraising – Advertising
Throughout the day – Meetings with GJR, Homewood and Public Health
7pm – Fair Tax Meeting at the Evergreen Centre
7am – Rotary Trillium speech on “First days in office”
Throughout day – Meetings regarding the YorkLands Green Hub
5:30pm – Guelph Junction Railway
6pm – Special Council Meeting – Meeting Room “C” – Information Protocol Orientation
During morning – Meeting with citizens
Afternoon – Further meetings on Tourism, meeting with new VP of UofG
4:45pm – Live interview with Open Sources Guelph – UofG radio CFRU
6:30pm – 123Guelph – Info on ranked ballot system
7:30am – State of the City Address with Chamber of Commerce – Delta Hotel
1:30pm – Meeting with Kidsability
8am – Clean & Green city wide event
8:30am – Ray Scapalano Hockey event at UofG
11am – Stone Road Mall 45 anniversary
12pm – Clean & Green wrap up event and BBQ at Riverside Park
3pm – Sarah Thatcher – Local Author book launch at Lakeside Hope House
7pm – 11th Artillery Regiment dinner
Thanks, and have a good week!