Good afternoon, everyone, and thanks for coming back to another of our online forums leading up to the vote on May 2nd. Today, we're joined by Kitchener-Waterloo Conservative candidate Peter Braid. Peter, thanks for your time. Are you ready to answer some questions?
Thank you Mike. It's great to be here and to participate in this innovative dialogue.
Hi Chris: Thanks very much for your question. I was very pleased to have my Charities motion pass unanimously in the House of Commons in February. The motion directs the Finance Committee to study ways to encourage increased charitable giving through changes to the tax system. The results of this study will support charities and the great work that they do in our communities, as well as the generous donors who give to these important causes.
Hi Jack: Thanks for your question. We will be honoured to govern with whatever mandate we are provided by Canadians. We are asking Canadians to consider a strong stable Conservative majority government because we want to complete our economic recovery, and avoid another unnecessary election a few weeks or months from now. With respect to your second question, I am proud of the strong voice that I have provided for this community in Ottawa. Our region has seen unprecedented support and attention from our Government. I want to get back to Ottawa to continue to advocate for this community.
Hi Damon: Thanks for your question. The Conservative government is very concious of the impact of rising costs for Canadians. That's why we want to keep taxes low for Canadians. We've cut taxes 120 times to date and as a result the average family pays $3000 less in tax every year. Tax freedom day is 18 days earlier under our Government. We have reduced the GST from 7% to 6% to 5%. With the other parties, you will have both increased costs and increased taxes.
Lots of tough questions coming in so far today. The toughest yet? I'll have to re-read the transcripts to be sure. Our next question comes from Michael.
Hi Michael: Thanks for your question. We place a great deal of importance on our outreach to ethnic communities and new Canadians. New Canadians share Conservative values of hard work, respect for tradition and support for families. We also strongly encourage the full participation of new Canadians in our democratic process. Here in KW, I have worked very hard to develop strong relationships with each of our diverse communities.
Hi Javier: Thanks for your question. RIM is a Waterloo based international success story, and I am confident that it will continue to be a world leader in the global wireless industry (I'm also looking forward to soon receiving my Playbook that I've ordered!) I don't share the Liberals lack of faith in their ability to compete.
With respect to the sale of Nortel two years ago, this was not reviewable under the Investment Canada Act because of the value of the transaction. At the time, I ensured that I was involved in the Committee hearing so that RIM was provided with the full opportunity to tell their story. What's more, the critically important Nortel patents of interest to hi-tech companies are currently being auctioned and are available for sale right now.
I will continue to strongly advocate for our important innovation sector here in KW, which has seen unprecedented support from our Conservative government.
Sorry, Bob...I think I mis-clicked. Peter will now answer your question about what he will do for local residents, i.e. the riding of Kitchener-Waterloo.
Hi Bob: Thanks for your question. Since my exciting election victory in 2008 it has been an honour to represent the constituents of KW. I am pleased to have delivered for this community with investments in affordable housing, road improvements, arenas, the RIM soccer fields, the Laurier pool, university infrastructure; the list goes on. As the centre of innovation, KW plays an important role shaping innovation policy across the country. Through my Committee work and role in caucus I continuously find ways to further support this important sector. I will continue to be a strong voice in Government for KW citizens, and ensure the needs and interests of our community are well served.
Hi Vince: Thanks for your question. I presume your question about negative ads is directed at the Liberal and NDP parties as well. Since my election in 2008, I have focused on engaging constituents through positive and constructive dialogue, and working collaboratively both in our community and in Ottawa. It's clear from the feedback that I'm getting at the door that my constituents recognize and appreciate this approach.
Thanks again for all the questions. It's time for me to sound the 10-minute warning. Also, in the interests of civility, the name of our guest today is Peter, or Mr. Braid. I'd appreciate it if we could try to keep the tone of the conversation a little more respectful.
Hi Jill: Thanks for your question. The role of Canada in the world is an important issue for me as well. Canada's international standing has been restored under Prime Minister Harper's leadership. We're are recognized as a generous, compasssionate country that promotes our values of freedom, democracy and human rights around the world.
We saw this when we responded so quickly and effectively to the devastating earthquake in Haiti. We've seen this in Afghanistan. We see this in our Government's efforts to improve child and maternal health in developing countries. And we've seen this in our leadership of the G8 and G20. And as a member of the UN, the Commonwealth and La Francophonie, we will continue to play a major role on the international stage!
We have run up against the clock so I'll step back in here to ask for some final thoughts. Peter, thanks again for your time today. Any parting comments?
Thanks for the opportunity to anwser these great questions, and for facilitating this excellent exchange of dialogue and ideas. I look forward to continuing to serve as the MP for KW.
Kitchener-Centre Liberal candidate Karen Redman is our guest tomorrow at Noon. Please check back in with us then.