Minister Peter Van Loan’i intervjuu Eesti Elule (1)
Will the new budget have impact (positive or negative) on Canada’s ethnic communities?
The most significant aspect of the Budget is the commitment to budget reduction. We have a plan to ensure that happens. The Government of Canada announced a three point plan to reduce the deficit:
- First, wind down of temporary spending programs;
- Second, restraint in spending, which will achieve $17.6 in savings over five years; and,
- Third, a review of the administrative costs of running government.
Canada has the lowest debt to GDP ratio of all our major competitors, putting us in an excellent position to keep taxes low, and ensure growth. We must maintain this position for the future.
As Minister of International Trade, how do you see this budget in view of trade relations between Estonia and Canada? EU and Canada?
The Throne speech emphasized our focus on trade agreements to achieve economic growth.
Our top priority for a trade agreement now is with the European Union. This is a great opportunity for Canada, Estonia and the other 26 EU countries to set the path for future growth and prosperity.
How is the government going to climb out from the deficit? How long will it take?
The foundation of this budget is that governments should live within their means.
In this year’s budget the Government of Canada made a commitment to reduce the deficit by half next year.
At the end of our five year plan, we will have virtually returned to fiscal balance.
Our Government will introduce legislation to freeze the salaries of the Prime Minister, Ministers, Members of Parliament and Senators, and freeze the overall spending on Minister’s offices.
Our Government will also freeze the total amount spent on government salaries, administration and overhead costs.
How are you finding your new portfolio? What part of the budget expects income from international trade?
I have held the International Trade portfolio since January 19th of this year. It has been a very successful month and a half.
In my first month, we were able to achieve an agreement with the Obama Administration to have a waiver from the „Buy American“ provisions of the US stimulus funding programs.
This creates opportunities for Canadian businesses and workers to sell their goods and services into the US market and expands the free trade space beyond that created in the NAFTA accord.
I’ve also had the opportunity to meet with many European leaders to support our free trade negotiation with the European Union, including Estonian President Toomas Hendrik Ilves and Latvian Prime Minister Valdis Dombrovskis.
Our Government believes that free trade creates jobs and leads to prosperity for all countries involved. This ultimately leads to a higher quality of life. That’s why it will be my priority to promote free trade and move forward on trade negotiations with the European Union.
What would you like to specifically say to readers of Eesti Elu, Estonian-Canadians?
I am proud of my Estonian heritage. The unique history of our country has deeply influenced my world view and my strong commitment to promoting freedom, democracy, human rights and the rule of law. I look forward to using the opportunity of serving as Minister of International Trade to advance these values.