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Jan 26, 2015 at 05:21 AM

Welcome to my online office. I have set up this website to give you a chance
to interact with me directly and to learn a little bit more about my work to
Stand Up for St. Catharines in Ottawa. I hope you will take the time to read
my blog, check out the community calendar and look at the services available
through my Community Office. Most of all, I hope you will take the time to
communicate your ideas and concerns by commenting on my blog, voting for the
online polls or sending me an e-mail. This website is here for you, so
please share your thoughts and ideas.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Rick Dykstra

Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Canadian Heritage


Minister MacKay & Rick Dykstra Seek Canadians’ Ideas on Creating Jobs, Growth, Long-Term Prosperity
Jan 16, 2015 at 07:26 PM

January 16, 2015  St. Catharines, ON 

The Honourable Peter MacKay, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada andMP for Central Nova, and Rick Dykstra, MP for St. Catharines, today hosted one of a series of cross-country pre-budget roundtable discussions. The purpose of these consultations is to listen to Canadians and hear their views on how Canada can create jobs, growth, and long-term prosperity. This formal process comes after months of meetings with Canadians about what matters to them and their families.

Minister MacKay and Mr. Dykstra also highlighted new proposed measures to make life more affordable for Canadian families and to help them prosper including:

  • Increasing the Universal Child Care Benefit (UCCB). Parents will receive a benefit of $160 per month for each child under the age of 6;
  • Expanding the UCCB to children ages 6 through 17;
  • Introducing the Family Tax Cut, a federal tax credit that will allow a spouse to transfer up to $50,000 of taxable income to a spouse in a lower tax bracket;
  • Increasing the Child Care Expense Deduction dollar limits by $1,000, effective for the 2015 taxation year; and
  • Doubling the Children’s Fitness Tax Credit and making it refundable.

Finance Minister Joe Oliver launched pre-budget consultations on November 27, 2014, with a clear message. First, the Government will not engage in reckless new spending or new taxes that will lead Canada down a path of fiscal deficits and economic decline. Second, the Government will remain focused on creating jobs and growth.

All Canadians will be able to participate to pre-budget consultations online. The Government is seeking the input of Canadians on five key questions that can be found by clicking on the following link: http://www.fin.gc.ca/prebudget-prebudgetaire/1-eng.asp.

Quick Facts

  • Our Government’s top priority is creating jobs, growth, and long-term prosperity;
  • We are on track to balance the federal budget in 2015;
  • With balanced budgets in sight, our Government is delivering close to $27 billion in tax relief for hard-working families over this year and the next five years, by:
    • Increasing and expanding the Universal Child Care Benefit;
    • Introducing the Family Tax Cut; and
    • Increasing the Child Care Expense Deduction dollar limits.
  • Canada’s Economic Action Plan is working.
  • Since the depths of the recession, we have created more than 1.2 million net new jobs—overwhelmingly full-time, good-paying jobs in the private sector.
  • The overall federal tax burden is at its lowest level in over 50 years.
  • Bloomberg ranks Canada the second most attractive place in the world to do business.

“Our Government is focused on creating jobs, growth and long-term prosperity for Canadians. I am pleased to be here with Rick Dykstra today to consult on how our Government can continue to create jobs and long-term prosperity right here in St. Catharines while remaining on track to balance the budget this year. We also discussed our Government’s focus on making life more affordable for hard-working Canadian families. By providing tax relief and benefits for  child care and after-school sports, every family with children will have more money to spend on their priorities as a family.” —Hon. Peter MacKay, PC, MP, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, Member of Parliament for Central Nova

“I am pleased to welcome Minister MacKay to St. Catharines as part of our Government’s pre-budget consultation.  Our Government is committed to keeping Canada’s finances balanced and on a sustainable track to reduce the debt, while building on our commitment of respecting taxpayers’ dollars.” —Rick Dykstra, M.P. for St. Catharines


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Brock loses a giant with the death of David S. Howes
Jan 14, 2015 at 01:07 PM

Brock University joins the St. Catharines-Niagara community in mourning the loss of David S. Howes, a longtime friend and passionate supporter of the University, who died on Jan. 12 after a lengthy illness.

Probably more than any individual in Brock’s history, Howes was a symbol of the bond between the University and its host community.

A successful businessman who shunned the spotlight, Howes had a legendary reputation for supporting his local community by funding and serving on a wide range of boards and organizations.

In the case of Brock, Howes developed a relationship that saw him significantly guide and support the University through an era of major growth. Besides spending 12 years on its Board of Trustees as a trustee, chair and immediate past chair, his personal support helped create, expand or improve facilities and events that enriched the student experience.

Brock President Jack Lightstone said the loss is immeasurable.

“Dave Howes was a giant,” said Lightstone. “He lived and breathed Brock University in every aspect of his being. His commitment to Brock over many years has been a constant, and it will live on as long as there is a Brock University.

“It is impossible to quantify the full impact he had and the difference he made for so many people. He obsessed about supporting students and their experience, and he was adamant about honouring our history and our relationship with the community.”

John Suk, Chair of Brock’s Board of Trustees, said Howes put an indelible stamp on the University.

“Dave was an inspiration whose values every one of us should follow,” said Suk. “In so many ways that most people never saw, he was a relentless advocate and leader for this institution.”

The connections between Howes and the University run deep.

The David S. Howes Theatre on campus bears his name in recognition of a gift made through his company, Lincoln Fabrics.

In 2012 he received an honorary degree from Brock for what Lightstone called his “commendable community leadership and commitment to our University, our students and our history.”

In 2013 he made a major gift to fully underwrite the cost of a bronze sculpture of University namesake and War of 1812 hero Maj.-Gen. Sir Isaac Brock. The sculpture by renowned Canadian artist Danek Mozdzenski is expected to arrive on campus in the coming weeks.

Each spring Howes would chair the President’s Golf Tournament, which has raised more than $900,000 for bursaries and scholarships that have helped more than 1,000 student athletes.

He founded General Brock’s October Soirée, a fundraising gala held every autumn to commemorate the University’s namesake. Now in its seventh year, the Soirée has raised more than $400,000 to support student initiatives and scholarships.

One legacy was particularly important to Howes himself. He was the driving force in creating the Spirit of Brock medal, presented to students who best embody the spirit of Sir Isaac Brock - leadership, courage, innovation, inspiration and community service. Lightstone said these values are why Howes himself was the only person to ever receive the medal who was not a graduate of the University.

“Dave believed that since the University had taken the name of Major-Gen. Sir Isaac Brock, then it must live up to Brock’s legacy and embody the traits for which the General is remembered.

“I know that Brock University lived in the heart of Dave Howes, and Dave will live on in the heart of Brock University.”

Born and raised in St. Catharines, Howes received his primary education in the city’s schools. He graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Western Michigan with a major in History and minors in English and Political Science.

In 1983, he became the second generation to lead the family business, Lincoln Fabrics, which was founded by his father A. Stewart Howes in 1955. He became President & CEO of the company in Canada and the United States, which produces technical fabrics for high-performance and life-critical applications, including automotive, defence and emergency services products.

His fingerprints are all over the community. At various times he chaired or served on the Business Education Council; the Wise Guys Charity Fund; the Niagara Health System’s North Niagara Campaign Cabinet; St. Catharines Community Fund Development Team; St. Catharines Sports Hall of Fame; St. Catharines Athlete and Sports Person of the Year Selection Committee; and chair of the Joint Executive Committee steering the downtown Academic and Cultural Arts Centre - a joint venture between the City of St. Catharines and Brock University.

He was a past board member of the YMCA of Niagara, Past President of the St. Catharines Sports Council, Past President and Board member of the St. Catharines Golf and Country Club, and a past provincial appointee to the Niagara Parks Commission.

Howes was also a generous benefactor of the Niagara Community Foundation, United Way and Walker Family Cancer Centre.

The University is still awaiting details about funeral arrangements, and will publish this information when it becomes available.

- See more at: www.brocku.ca

PM marks bicentennial of Sir John Alexander Macdonald’s birth
Jan 12, 2015 at 09:11 AM

Prime Minister Stephen Harper today visited the City of Kingston, Ontario, to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the birth of the Right Honourable Sir John Alexander Macdonald and to pay tribute to the important role he played as one of Canada’s founding fathers and as Canada’s first Prime Minister. During the ceremony, which was held in the Memorial Hall of Kingston City Hall, the city unveiled a restored portrait of Sir John A. Macdonald along with a special bicentennial stamp from Canada Post and a coin from the Royal Canadian Mint. The Prime Minister was joined by former Prime Ministers Kim Campbell and John Turner, Bryan Paterson, Mayor of the City of Kingston, Elizabeth Dowdeswell, Lieutenant Governor of Ontario, The Honourable Peter Van Loan, Leader of the Government in the House of Commons, The Honourable Lisa Raitt, Minister of Transport, and Gord Brown, Member of Parliament for Leeds–Grenville.

Born two hundred years ago on January 11, 1815 in Glasgow, Scotland, Sir John A. Macdonald played a key role in shaping Canada's history. He was instrumental, along with Sir George-Étienne Cartier, in the negotiations that led to Canada’s Confederation and later in expanding our country to the Pacific Ocean. They are two of the 36 Fathers of Confederation who met to share their vision on union and, ultimately, to forge a new country. During his years as Prime Minister, Canada experienced rapid growth and prosperity. Manitoba, British Columbia and Prince Edward Island all entered Confederation between 1870 and 1873, while the last spike of the Canadian Pacific Railway's transcontinental line was driven into the ground in 1885. Sir John A. Macdonald established the North-West Mounted Police, the precursor to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, and the first Canadian national park in Banff, Alberta.

The bicentennial of the birth of Sir John A. Macdonald is one of a number of nation-building milestones the Government of Canada is commemorating in the lead up to Canada’s 150th anniversary in 2017. Each of these milestones represents an opportunity to celebrate the events that have shaped our history and made Canada what it is today.

Quick Facts

  • The City of Kingston is launching the Sir John A. Macdonald 200th anniversary year of celebration on January 11, 2015. Sir John A. Macdonald had a life-long connection with the city as a child, student, member of the militia, lawyer, businessman, alderman, Member of Parliament and community member.
  • The portrait was presented to John A. Macdonald in 1863 and shows the self-assured young Macdonald standing in a classic pose typical of formal full-length portraits fashionable at the time.
  • At all three conferences that led to Canada’s Confederation (Charlottetown and Quebec in 1864 and London in 1866), Sir John A. Macdonald was a strong advocate for a federation of provinces and was one of the main architects of the new constitutional structure, uniting colonies of British North America into one Dominion on July 1, 1867.
  • In recognition of his role in Confederation, John A. Macdonald was named Canada’s first Prime Minister, a position that he held for almost 19 years from 1867 to 1873 and again from 1878 to 1891.

“Sir John A. Macdonald is one of Canada’s most important political and historical figures. His accomplishments are cemented in our country’s history. Our Government is committed to protecting and preserving his legacy of patriotism and his dedication to Canada.” – Prime Minister Stephen Harper


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