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Elsie Picone represented the very best of Dundas

By David Sweet, MP

Before updating you on a couple of recent federal initiatives, first let me say how saddened I was to hear of the passing of Elsie Picone. She was such a positive person.

To say she was a much-loved person is most certainly an understatement. Elsie represented the very best of Dundas and as a founding member of Dundas Community Services, her deep caring for those in her community lives on in their work.

Elsie was recognized with many awards over the years, but nothing was more important to her than her seven children. Our thoughts and prayers are with them at this difficult time. Elsie will be deeply missed.

• • •

A number of local business owners participated in a red tape reduction roundtable I held back in March 2011. It was one of hundreds of consultations across the country conducted by the Red Tape Reduction Commission, which gathered practical suggestions to reduce the burden on the small and medium-sized businesses.

Since then, a three-year Red Tape Reduction Action Plan was announced with 90 department-specific reforms.

On Jan. 21, three more of those reforms were rolled out. These included a straight-forward regulatory change that will save pharmacies millions in administrative costs, as well as a reduction in the corporate reporting burden for 32,000 businesses.

Changes are also being made to the Canada Revenue Agency business enquiries phone service to improve user-friendliness and customer service. This is just one of the ways we’re working to improve the service that small businesses receive from federal departments.

• • •

I’d also like to report that the federal government continues to take action on the issues raised by First Nations leaders in their January meeting with Prime Minister Harper.

It was recognized that more needed to be done to reduce risk levels and deliver results for water and wastewater systems on-reserve – so that First Nations communities would have the same access to safe drinking water that all Canadians enjoy.

On Jan. 13, the Minister of Aboriginal Affairs announced a federal investment of $330.8 million over two years to sustain progress made toward building and renovating water and wastewater infrastructure on reserves and to support the development of a long-term strategy to improve water quality in First Nation communities.

This investment is part of a comprehensive long-term plan to improve on-reserve water and wastewater. The plan is founded on three pillars — enhanced capacity building and operation training, enforceable standards and protocols and infrastructure investments.

David Sweet is the Conservative MP for Ancaster/Dundas/Flamborough/Westale.

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