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Martin hands GST rebate to cities


Well-Known TRIBEr
Martin hands GST rebate to cities
Last Updated Mon, 02 Feb 2004 17:19:10
OTTAWA - Prime Minister Paul Martin promised a half-billion-dollar "downpayment" to cash-hungry cities on Monday in his first speech from the throne, promising them a full rebate on the GST they pay for goods and services.

Paul Martin listens to Adrienne Clarkson read the speech from the throne
(CP photo)

The Martin government estimates the rebate is worth $7 billion over the next decade.

That was one of the promises spelled out as the Liberals march toward a federal election, expected to be called as early as April.

Gov. Gen. Adrienne Clarkson read the speech in the Senate chamber as tradition dictates in her role as the Queen's representative in Canada.

She arrived on a sunny Parliament Hill in a horse-drawn carriage at 3 p.m. ET to receive the traditional vice-regal salute from members of the military.


Then she proceeded inside to read the speech that Martin's people had prepared in what is expected to be an election year.

In fact, the speech was seen as a first draft of the Liberals' campaign platform, promising to ease hospital waiting times, improve student aid programs, address the concerns of aboriginal people and the disabled, better protect children, review Canada's foreign policy for the first time in a decade, and reform Parliament.

It also pledged to set up an independent ethics commissioner, put more money into military equipment and commit $4 billion to a variety of environmental cleanup projects.

More details of these promises will come in the federal budget. That's expected in April.

Martin, who took over the Liberal government when Jean Chrétien retired in December, has repeatedly warned that he won't run a deficit. Cabinet ministers have been told to brace for a period of restraint.

The last throne speech by the Liberals was in September 2002. Among other things, it called for "a new urban strategy" and "a new approach to healthy communities."

As well as all sitting MPs and Senators, invited guests and life members of the Privy Council filled the chamber for Martin's first speech from the throne, including:

His wife Sheila and two of his three sons.
Former Liberal politicians Monique Begin, Marc Lalonde, Warren Allmand, Mitchell Sharp, Jean-Jacques Blais and David Peterson.
Assembly of First Nations Grand Chief Phil Fontaine and many other aboriginal leaders.
Former Progressive Conservative politicians such as Bill Davis, Perrin Beatty, David MacDonald.
Former NDP leader Ed Broadbent, who recently announced his intention to re-enter politics and seek an Ottawa-area seat.

Written by CBC News Online staff


TRIBE Member
It's a shame that the federal government was collecting GST from municipal governments in the first place. This change is well overdue.