The Preston Post Issue 41-13

February 17, 2012
Local and Regional News
Government representatives joined West Lorne Heritage Homes for a ribbon-cutting ceremony to celebrate the official grand opening of West Lorne Heritage Community Centre.
The wheelchair-accessible, energy-efficient facility will link two seniors’ housing complexes – Heritage Homes and the proposed second phase of Heritage Terrace. The Heritage Homes Community Hub will provide and coordinate programs, social services and community services, such as transportation, counselling, and information services, to assist seniors and people with disabilities with maintaining their quality of life. An open house to celebrate one of the Hub’s newest tenants, Talbot Trail Physiotherapy Clinic, was held February 3 following the ribbon cutting ceremony.
The governments of Canada and Ontario have each committed more than $232,000 toward this project. The Municipality of West Elgin and the West Elgin Community Health Centre (through the South West Local Health Integration Network) each contributed $100,000. West Lorne Heritage Homes Not For Profit Corporation contributed the remaining $35,000, bringing the total project cost to $700,000. For more information, visit: http://www.joeprestonmp.ca/media/news/heritage-homes-community-hub--officially-opens-its-doors-in-west-lorne

Joe Preston, Member of Parliament for Elgin-Middlesex-London, encourages employers to apply for funding through the Canada Summer Jobs program to help create jobs for students this summer.
Employers can apply online at www.servicecanada.gc.ca/csj2012 or print an application from the website. They can also get an application by visiting any Service Canada Centre. Applications must be submitted between February 1 and February 29, 2012.
“Our government’s top priority is job creation and economic growth,” said Preston. “Through Canada Summer Jobs, we are helping our Elgin-Middlesex-London employers create much-needed summer job opportunities for students, while strengthening our community’s economy.”  For more information, visit: http://www.joeprestonmp.ca/media/news/mp-joe-preston-invites-local-employers-to-apply-for-canada-summer-jobs-2012

The Government of Canada, through Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC), and Women’s Community House (WCH) celebrated the completion of renovations at Women’s Community House Second Stage Housing, which provides housing for women and children who are victims of family violence in London. Joe Preston, Member of Parliament for Elgin-Middlesex-London, made the announcement on behalf of the Honourable Diane Finley, Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development.
“Repairing and maintaining housing not only helps maintain strong and healthy communities but most importantly, it improves the quality of life for residents,” said MP Preston. “Our Government is committed to giving a hand-up to those in need, including women and children who seek safe and supportive housing and an opportunity to move forward with their lives.” For more information, visit: http://www.joeprestonmp.ca/media/news/government-of-canada-and-women-s-community-house-celebrate-completion-of-renovations

Government Happenings
The Honourable Vic Toews, Minister of Public Safety, issued the following statement after the success of the 3rd reading vote on the Ending the Long-Gun Registry Act.“Ending the long-gun registry has been a priority for our Government. Today’s vote marks an important achievement, as we fulfill the promise we made to Canadians to eliminate the long-gun registry once and for all. Our Government continues to focus on efforts that tackle crime and make our streets and communities safer.
Counting and tracking every long-gun in Canada has been costly and has placed undue burdens on law-abiding gun owners, such as farmers and duck hunters, rather than those who use firearms illegally. Our Government is taking the necessary steps to ensure that gun control in this country is focused on fighting crime, keeping firearms out of the hands of criminals and minimizing burdens on law-abiding gun owners. We have successfully introduced legislation that fights gang crime, drug crime, violent and repeat offenders. These are the reforms that Canadians need and deserve most, in order to tackle real crime and real criminals. For more information, visit: http://www.publicsafety.gc.ca/media/nr/2012/nr20120215-eng.aspx?rss=false


Legislation to protect the integrity of Canada’s immigration system was introduced by Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Minister Jason Kenney.
The proposed measures include further reforms to the asylum system to make it faster and fairer, measures to address human smuggling, and the authority to make it mandatory to provide biometric data with a temporary resident visa application.
“Canadians take great pride in the generosity and compassion of our immigration and refugee programs. But they have no tolerance for those who abuse our generosity and seek to take unfair advantage of our country,” said Minister Kenney.
The new bill, Protecting Canada's Immigration System Act, proposes changes that build on reforms to the asylum system passed in June 2010 as part of the Balanced Refugee Reform Act. For more information, visit: http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/department/media/releases/2012/2012-02-16.asp

Information Update~ Old Age Security
Message from Joe Preston, MP

I would like to be clear that there will be no changes to the benefits seniors currently receive. Seniors will maintain ALL the benefits they currently receive. I would also like to assure you that any changes, if made, will be done with substantial notice and adjustment period, and in a way that does not affect current retirees or those close to retirement. We understand the need to give Canadians plenty of time to adjust and plan for retirement.
We are currently reviewing every form of government spending and making informed decisions on where changes can be made and savings can be found. We have launched a comprehensive deficit reduction action plan that will focus on improving the efficiency and effectiveness of government operations, including MP pensions, to ensure value for taxpayers’ money.
All federal departments, agencies and Crown corporations, have been asked to identify and to propose efficiencies.  The results of this process will be part of Budget 2012.
We are finding savings without raising taxes or cutting transfers to the provinces and individuals to ensure Canadians’ priorities continue to be addressed.
I would like to assure you that our government is committed to ensuring the retirement security of Canadians. Since 2006 we have: increased the Guaranteed Income Supplement for the most vulnerable seniors; introduced pension income splitting and increased the age credit; and introduced innovative new programs such as the tax-free savings account and the PRPP to help Canadians save for retirement.
As you know, Prime Minister Harper touched on pension reform in a recent speech. I would like to stress the importance of what the Prime Minister stated regarding Old Age Retirement. In Canada, there are two programs that provide financial support to older Canadians:  Canada Pension Plan/Quebec Pension Plan and Old Age Security. CPP is funded through premiums that working Canadians pay with each paycheque and is on a secure and sustainable path. OAS is funded primarily through taxes on working people and is unsustainable on its current course.
If we do nothing, OAS will eventually become too expensive and unsustainable.
Our Government will act to protect OAS. We will not put the financial security and well-being of our seniors at risk. We will take balanced, responsible, and prudent action to ensure OAS remains sustainable for future generations of Canadians.
We will ensure that seniors maintain the benefits they currently receive and we will ensure any changes are done in a way that is fair for Canadians who are near retirement.

Queen’s Diamond Jubilee
The Diamond Jubilee Medal will be awarded in 2012, the Diamond Jubilee Year, to Canadians who have made significant contributions to their communities and nation or who have made achievements abroad that bring credit to Canada.
The Diamond Jubilee Medal Program is administered by the Office of the Governor General of Canada.
Members of the general public are welcome to contact the offices of members of Parliament, senators, lieutenant governors, territorial commissioners, or provincial and territorial premiers to suggest names of candidates.
For more information, visit: http://www.gg.ca/document.aspx?id=14019&lan=eng

Passport Canada
On Monday, January 30, 2012, the London Passport Canada relocated to Cherryhill Village Mall, 301 Oxford Street West, Suite 76. This will allow Passport Canada to offer faster service and easier access to customers across London and surrounding areas.
Business hours at the new location will remain 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday to Friday.
The current location at 400 York Street will close its doors permanently at 4:30 p.m. on Friday, January 27, 2012.

Citizen Recognition
The City of St. Thomas recognized February 1, 2012 as the First Annual Random Acts of Kindness Day. Inspired by the life of the late Laurie Houston, her daughter Carrie joined many community leaders including MyFM; Williams Funeral Home;  Randy Gordon from Sunlife Financial; and The St. Thomas and District Chamber of Commerce  to celebrate the little things in life including opening the door for a stranger; buying coffee for your co-workers or just a simple smile. I would like to congratulate everyone involved in making this day such an amazing success and look forward to The Random Act of Kindness Day February 1, 2013!

Events
Many meetings, events and grand openings have taken place throughout the riding. Joe attended a Risk Management Meeting with producers in Guelph; the Annual General Meeting for the Elgin-Norfolk Grain Producers; the Elgin Federation of Agriculture Annual Awards Dinner; a meeting with SCOR; the Blessing of the Nets in Port Stanley; as well as many meetings with constituents in the riding and on the Hill. Staff members attended the opening of Popeye’s; Random Act of Kindness Day; the opening of Serenity House’s new location; and an event with St. Thomas Energy.

“Joe and Friends”, a 30-Minute weekly program premiered Sunday, February 5th. Hosted by MP Joe Preston and MyFM personality Andrew Buttigieg, the show focuses on updates from Parliament; The Mailbag; and Feature of the Week that includes discussions with friends from Parliament, regional leaders, and local politicians. The premiere show had special guest former Speaker of the Legislature and Elgin-Middlesex-London MPP, the Honourable Steve Peters. This week show will be with the Mayor of ST. Thomas, Heather Jackson.

Tune in at 7:30am, Sundays on MyFM~ 94.1