On June 15, 2007 the Right Honourable Stephen Harper, Prime Minister of Canada, presided over a round table session with certain members of the National Ethnic Press and Media Council of Canada (NEPMCC) at the Westin Hotel on Dixon Road, near the Pearson Airport. Mr. Harper was accompanied by Mr. Wajid Khan, MP, his advisor on Middle East affairs.
After Mr. Harper's brief but comprehensive speech, every journalist was called out by Mr. Tom Saras, President of NEPMCC, to pose a question to the Prime Minister. Mrs. Elle Puusaag, Editor-in-Chief of Eesti Elu, represented the Estonian community.
"Canada's government has been very effective in repelling terrorist attack for which everyone should be very grateful, but in light of recent massive cyber attacks in Estonia I would like to ask what is Canada's position and is Canada prepared for this kind of attack?" asked Mrs. Puusaag.
Mr. Harper named Russia directly when suggesting that it should not attack other countries.
In his speech, Mr. Harper dealt with a number of issues, multiculturalism, foreign credential recognition, childcare, the GST cut and crime agenda.
On the crime agenda the government is proposing 1,000 more RCMP officers, arming border security officers, investing $14 million over 2 years to improve front end screening of first time firearms license applicants, allocating $16.1 million over 2 years for youth at risk projects aimed at preventing crime and investing $9 million over 2 years to set up counterfeit currency enforcement teams across Canada.
Reduce the GST from 7 to 6 percent.
With regards to childcare the government will introduce a new child tax credit, which will provide up to $310 per child in tax relief for more than 3 million Canadian families.
Many of the questions from the ethnic media had to do with the present lack of advertising by the government in the ethnic media. During the Martin and Chrétien Liberal governments the advertising of federal programs was more noticeable, as a means of angling for votes in larger ethnic communities. However, answers to that question – of how advertising in the ethnic press is decided and how often - have been avoided by the federal government, regardless of party, for decades now.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper meets ethnic journalists (1)