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42nd PARLIAMENT, 1st SESSION

EDITED HANSARD • NUMBER 037

CONTENTS

Tuesday, April 12, 2016




Emblem of the House of Commons

House of Commons Debates

VOLUME 148
NUMBER 037
1st SESSION
42nd PARLIAMENT

OFFICIAL REPORT (HANSARD)

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Speaker: The Honourable Geoff Regan

    The House met at 10 a.m.

Prayer



ROUTINE PROCEEDINGS

[Routine Proceedings]

  (1000)  

[Translation]

Foreign Affairs

    Mr. Speaker, on behalf of the Minister of Foreign Affairs and pursuant to Standing Order 32(2), I have the honour to table, in both official languages, the treaty entitled “Ministerial Declaration on Trade in Information Technology Products” adopted in Nairobi on December 16, 2015.

[English]

Committees of the House

Agriculture and Agri-Food 

    Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the second report of the Standing Committee on Agriculture and Agri-Food in relation to its study of the main estimates for the fiscal year 2016-17.

Business of the House

    Mr. Speaker, there have been discussions among the parties, and if you seek it, I think you will find unanimous consent for the following motion. I move:
    That, notwithstanding the provisions of any Standing Order, for the remainder of 2016, when a recorded division is to be held on a Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday, except recorded divisions deferred to the conclusion of oral questions, the bells to call in the Members shall be sounded for not more than thirty minutes.
    Does the hon. parliamentary secretary have the unanimous consent of the House to propose the motion?
    Some hon. members: Agreed.
    The Speaker: The House has heard the terms of the motion. Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?
    Some hon. members: Agreed.

    (Motion agreed to)

Petitions

HIV/AIDS  

    Mr. Speaker, I rise today to present two petitions.
    The first is from constituents in my riding of Saanich—Gulf Islands calling on the government to move to a national strategy on HIV/AIDS, particularly based on the principle of treatment as prevention.

Security Certificates  

    Mr. Speaker, the second petition deals with the very troubling ongoing issue of the violation of human rights and the Charter of Rights and Freedoms in the use of security certificates. In particular, the petitioners are very concerned that security certificates risk deportation to countries that conduct torture.

Health  

    Mr. Speaker, I have a petition, signed by dozens of my constituents, who are concerned about the imbalance in health care that was created by the government with regard to health care provided to regular Canadian citizens versus that provided to refugees presently.

  (1005)  

Questions on the Order Paper

    Is that agreed?
    Some hon. members: Agreed.

[Translation]

Request for Emergency Debate

Situation in Indigenous Communities  

[Standing Order 52]
    Mr. Speaker, suicide in indigenous communities is an international scandal. The entire world is appalled at the scale of the tragedy in northern communities and is urging the Government of Canada to take action. I therefore request an emergency debate about this tragedy because it is happening not just in Attawapiskat, but in all indigenous communities in Canada.

[English]

    The crisis in Attawapiskat has gathered world attention, and people are looking to this Parliament to explain the lack of hope that is not just in Attawapiskat but in so many indigenous communities. They are looking to us in this new Parliament to offer change.
    I am asking for this emergency debate because we do not have the opportunity in this session of Parliament to raise this through opposition day motions. We have raised individual questions in the House of Commons; however, that is not sufficient to be able to address the lack of mental health services, police services, and community supports in so many of the communities.
     Also, question period is not sufficient for Parliament to talk about how we can actually build a national response, working with indigenous youth, families, and leaders, to actually bring a hopeful solution.
    In closing, the Prime Minister called the situation in Attawapiskat heartbreaking, but it is up to us as parliamentarians to turn this into a moment of hope-making. That is why I am asking my colleagues to work with me, to work together, to discuss this issue tonight, and to start to lay a path forward to give hope to the children of our northern and all our indigenous communities.

Speaker's Ruling  

[Speaker's Ruling]
    I thank the hon. member for Timmins—James Bay for this request for an emergency debate. I note the gravity of this situation, and I believe this does meet the exigencies of the Standing Order. I therefore grant an emergency debate for this evening.

GOVERNMENT ORDERS

[The Budget]

[English]

The Budget

Financial Statement of Minister of Finance  

     The House resumed from April 11 consideration of the motion that this House approve in general the budgetary policy of the government, and of the amendment, and of the amendment to the amendment.
    Mr. Speaker, I am going to be splitting my time today with the member for Burlington.
    I rise today to speak to the budget that was delivered by our hon. Minister of Finance, but before I begin, I would like to take a moment to sincerely thank my constituents of Kitchener South—Hespeler for the trust they have placed in me. I truly am blessed and honoured to represent them here in Ottawa.
    Also I would like to thank all the volunteers and donors who played a vital and critical role in the election campaign. I cannot thank them enough for their hard work and commitment. From the bottom of my heart, I truly appreciate their efforts and thank them very much. I would not be here without them.
    Because time is limited, I will focus on five key areas in budget 2016: the middle-class tax cut, the child benefit, the historic infrastructure plan, benefits to seniors, and help for young people. However, first I would like to establish some context by telling everyone about the people of Kitchener South—Hespeler, the electoral district I represent here in the House.
    Kitchener South—Hespeler is a new electoral district created in Waterloo region. I know Kitchener South—Hespeler very well. It is where I grew up and have lived most of my life. I would be remiss if I didn't say how beautiful it is. There are two rivers that run through it, the Speed and the Grand, where people canoe and fish to their hearts' content in the summer and fall.
    Historic Hespeler Village has been the setting for many movies and TV series. The natural settings are a photographer's delight. There are lots of hiking trails and green space, and plenty of soccer fields and baseball diamonds to play on.
    Right in the centre of the riding, there is the 165-acre Chicopee Ski and Summer Resort, where families hike and bike in the summer and ski and snowboard in the winter. We are a blend of suburban settings with a lot of manufacturing and business parks, Canada's premier polytechnic, Conestoga College, some regional government and health institutions, and all the usual retail providers.
    The most recent data from Statistics Canada tells us that the residents of Kitchener South—Hespeler number about 98,000 people, 23,000 of whom are children under age 18, and 10% of us are seniors, around 10,000. Our average age is 36.
    This means that my riding has many young families that will be assisted by our child benefit plan, which I will get to in a moment.
    In brief, Kitchener South—Hespeler is home to the middle class and those seeking to join the middle class.
    The budget is one that will grow the middle class and help hard-working Canadians keep more money in their pockets.
    For nearly a decade the middle class has seen stagnant growth, lack of job opportunities, and cuts to services. Real wages have not seen a significant increase for many years, and house prices keep increasing, making it harder for the average Canadian to enter the market.
    Families are working longer hours, overtime shifts, night shifts, and even two jobs just to make ends meet. At what cost are Canadian families forced to work two jobs and long hours? This is robbing them of time better spent with family.
    I will be addressing five key areas of budget 2016. The first commitment is the middle-class tax cut.
    Our Liberal government knows that, when we have a strong, healthy, and vibrant middle class, we have a strong Canada. I am sure all in the House will agree that we live in the greatest country on earth. It is up to us as elected officials to keep Canada great and prosperous, but with the shrinking middle class, some of us have lost hope, lost hope that no matter how hard families are working, their efforts are not leading to greater wealth and prosperity. Great opportunities in a great country are slipping away from average Canadians.
    However, during the election campaign we listened to Canadians. We heard their concerns and we made a promise to Canadians that we will help the middle class and we will stand next to them and ensure opportunity and prosperity can and will be achieved under our Prime Minister and our current government.
    As of 2016, we have cut taxes for the middle class from 22% down to 20.5%. This is a much-needed 7% tax reduction, which will benefit nine million Canadians. This means the average individual will save up to $670 per year.

  (1010)  

    The second commitment is the child benefit plan.
    With the new child benefit plan, nine out of ten families will benefit. Hundreds of thousands of children will be lifted out of poverty. This represents an essential core value, a value that ensures all children in this country have a fair chance at success in achieving their goals and aspirations.
    This child benefit plan is dear to my heart. Coming from a single-parent household, I can appreciate how this plan will make a significant and positive impact upon many families.
    This child benefit plan is tax-free; it is better targeted to those families that need it the most, and it is more generous. Families will see an average increase in child benefits of almost $2,300 more per child.
    This is a great plan, a plan that not only helps parents with the high cost of raising children, but it also helps long term. When we assist one individual like a single mother with a generous child benefit plan, we provide her and her children with the opportunity to succeed. This is a long-term plan that will build and grow our nation, with more generous assistance to those who need it the most. We are helping to change the trajectory of many families toward prosperity for a better future.
    The third commitment is an historic infrastructure investment plan.
    This is a promise that the Liberal government would strengthen the middle class, create jobs, and grow Canada's economy by making a historic new investment in the kind of infrastructure projects that our community needs, such as public transit, affordable housing, early learning and child care, cultural and recreational facilities, and green infrastructure that will adapt to climate change.
    The fourth commitment is to seniors.
    The Liberal government made a series of promises to protect income splitting for seniors, to restore the OAS and GIS eligibility back to the age of 65, and to increase the GIS payments to single seniors. I am happy to stand here today in support of the fulfillment of this promise to ensure that our government is helping those who have worked hard in building this great nation.
    The fifth and final commitment is to young people.
    It is important that we help young Canadians succeed in our country's prosperity. It depends upon the young generation. That is why it is vital that youth get the training they need to prepare for the jobs of today and tomorrow. That is why budget 2016 proposes to increase Canada student grants by 50%.
    Furthermore, our government is committed to making student debt more manageable. No student will have to repay their loan if he or she is not earning at least $25,000 per year. I am happy to stand here today in support of that fulfillment of the commitment to helping young Canadians succeed in their studies.
    We understand that the middle class is struggling. Middle-class Canadians have not been able to get ahead. They are not able to assist their children in post-secondary education. They are not able to save for their much-deserved retirement, and they are struggling to keep their homes. That is why we are focused on helping the middle class. We understand that the middle class plays a critical role as the engine of growth. The prosperity of our country lies in the hands of the middle-class Canadians. When middle-class Canadians are given the tools and opportunity to succeed, they go above and beyond. Their passion and drive leads them to great success, here at home and abroad.
    That is why, with our tax cut to middle-class families, our child benefit plan, our infrastructure investment plan, our help to seniors, and our assistance for youth, we will build an even better Canada, a Canada that we can be proud of, a Canada where every child, senior, and individual has a fair and equal opportunity for a brighter future. We live in the greatest nation on earth, and with our 2016 budget, we will keep Canada great. That is our commitment, and that is what we will deliver to Canadians.

  (1015)  

    Mr. Speaker, if I do the math under this new budget for middle-class families, I see an extra $600 a year for the middle-class income tax reduction. I see another $2,200 for the child benefit, if there are a couple of kids. However, I see that they lose $3,000 for the tax fitness credit if they have a couple of kids. They would lose another $3,000 or more, if they think about income splitting, then maybe $200 more for CPP increases, and another maybe $100 for EI. That means that all of these middle-class Canadians will be paying about $3,500 or more in taxes, and that is before we put in the carbon tax. In fact, everyone under this budget will be paying more taxes.
    Has the member done the math?
    Mr. Speaker, I have done the math, but I do not think the member has checked our child benefit plan. It targets nine out of ten families, and it would lift over 300,000 children out of poverty. As an example, a single mother making $45,000 a year with one child under six, would get roughly $2,300 more under our plan. I think the member is missing the math on this one.
    Mr. Speaker, in looking at the budget, I still feel that we are dealing with this shell game, with promises made but not necessarily kept in terms of indigenous children. What we are talking about is that 30% of that money will be the next government's mandate. That is not closing the gap; that is just putting out a press release.
    We see that in child welfare the government is refusing to meet the standards. Cindy Blackstock said that the government is failing indigenous children. My real concern is that there are zero dollars to deal with the health care issues, particularly the mental health crisis in indigenous communities. With the suicide pandemic in so many communities, it astounds me that there are zero dollars to address health care in the budget. I want to ask my hon. colleague why the Liberals felt that was something they could skimp on.

  (1020)  

    Mr. Speaker, first I would like to tell the hon. member that my heart goes out to everyone who is suffering in Attawapiskat right now.
    Our commitment was to invest in indigenous communities. That is why we have invested billions of dollars in indigenous communities. We are working with the provinces and territories to look at a better health care system, and hopefully we will come out with a great plan. We are working to discuss with provinces and territories on the best way forward with that.
    Mr. Speaker, I applaud the member on his speech. In essence, he encapsulated a number of positive things that are coming out of this particular budget. One of the underlying themes in the budget is that it is trying to build a healthier, stronger middle class. Ultimately, if we have a healthier middle class in Canada, we will have a healthier economy.
    I wonder if the member might want to provide some of his thoughts in regard to how important it is that we give additional strength to our middle class. If we look at the core of this budget, we are saying that Canada needs a healthier middle class. This budget would in fact meet that need. Would the member not agree?
    Mr. Speaker, I do agree. The middle class is vital. In my speech, I said it is the economic engine of this country. We need to ensure that we are helping the middle class in order for those people to achieve prosperity and health, and to achieve a great future for their children.
    In my region of Waterloo, we are investing in the middle class, in transit, and we are investing in the high-tech sector. That is how we can grow our middle class.
    Mr. Speaker, it gives me great honour to rise in the House today to express my support for budget 2016.
    Over the past three weeks, my office in Burlington has seen over 250 people visit the community volunteer income tax program that we are hosting. The program helps low-income Canadians file their taxes. I was glad to see an additional $4 million in the budget to expand this excellent program, which enables low-income earners to receive the benefits for which they qualify. This might come as surprise to many who often think of Burlington as a wealthy community, and in many ways we are.
    We have a beautiful, vibrant, safe community. However, we also have many people who are struggling with the high cost of living. In the year leading up to the election, my team and I knocked on over 44,000 doors. What struck me when I asked the people in my community about issues they cared about most was that, for the majority, it had to do with making ends meet; social issues, such as opportunities for youth, retirement security, affordable housing; the environment, and climate change. Importantly, Canadian values, such as our generosity and inclusiveness and our good international citizenship, were at the top of the list.
    In my nomination speech, I spoke of several of the issues that propelled me to seek office and serve my community and my country. These are issues such as affordable and quality child care, affordable housing for seniors and newcomers, efficient and reliable transportation and transit, a focus on fostering an innovative global-oriented economy to ensure dignified jobs, support for sustainable local farming practices, a balanced approach to global affairs, and restoring funding and respect to our research facilities and environmental agencies across the country, particularly in relation to our great lakes and fresh water, as well as having a thoughtful and consensual plan when it comes to managing our natural resources.
    I am proud that budget 2016 recognizes each of these issues and demonstrates that this government will be both a partner for provinces, territories, and municipalities, and a true leader for Canadians.
    While there are many parts of this budget that I would like to speak to, since I only have 10 minutes, let me focus on five areas that are particularly important for my community of Burlington: seniors, youth, infrastructure, our innovation agenda, and equality.
    Let me begin with our deliverables to seniors.
    As members may know, my riding of Burlington has a large, vibrant seniors population. We have an active seniors centre with over 3,000 members, which the Prime Minister had the opportunity to visit around this time last year. If there was one issue that I heard at the door, it was with respect to seniors.
    In the region of Halton, there are over 4,000 people on the waiting list for affordable housing. Our commitment to renew the subsidies for federal housing, build more affordable rental housing, and provide over $200 million for affordable seniors housing will have a meaningful impact on helping seniors in my community live in dignity.
    I have met many seniors who rely on OAS and GIS and who have been struggling to make ends meet. Our increase to the GIS by 10% will have a tangible, positive impact to improve the bottom line and the quality of life for many low-income seniors in Burlington. I am proud that our government has fulfilled its promise to make their lives a little better.
    This next issue bridges generations, and I am encouraged to see it highlighted in the budget: enhancing the Canada pension plan. From business leaders to organized labour, seniors groups and youth, I have had many conversations about the importance of pension enhancement. While I encourage all Canadians to save for retirement and encourage organizations to develop pension plans for their employees, sometimes there just is not any money left over to put away. The CPP is a well-managed fund and could make a real impact toward a dignified and secure retirement for all Canadians. I applaud the Minister of Finance for taking on this challenge and working with his provincial and territorial colleagues to provide secure retirements for future generations of Canadians.
    This budget also highlights our government's commitment to youth and our desire to build a robust economy that will provide quality opportunities for our young Canadians. After completing high school, many of the young people in my community head off to universities and colleges across Canada. The youth employment strategy and the Canada summer jobs program will help create jobs in Burlington, so that when students come home for the summer, they can find good jobs in their hometown that may lead to opportunities after graduation. A young, vibrant workforce is essential in my riding of Burlington, and many ridings across Canada, to support the aging demographic while also continuing to build for the future.

  (1025)  

    A good education is fundamental to joining today's workforce. The Canada student grants program is an asset for those embarking on post-secondary studies. It is long overdue that these amounts be raised to reflect the rising costs and to keep debt loads manageable for our young people to get a toehold into a successful adult life. This budget is a strong reflection of the issues raised by so many young people I have spoken to in Burlington.
    Importantly, budget 2016 recognizes the existential need for physical infrastructure improvements and additions.
    In the summer of 2014, Burlington experienced unprecedented levels of rain, which overwhelmed our sewage systems and resulted in a major flood that affected over 4,000 homes. The reality of climate change and increase in extreme weather literally flooded into our homes. I welcome the $2 billion commitment to a new clean water and waste water fund.
    My riding, like many in the GTA, is no stranger to congestion. There are solutions, and widening all roads is not the only one. We must invest in and expand our public transit systems. The new public transit infrastructure fund would help shorten commute times and reduce air pollution. Not only will this be better for the environment, but getting people where they need to go in a timely and efficient manner will improve our physical and mental health as well as our collective productivity, which leads me to what is Burlington's best-kept secret: our innovative and varied manufacturing sector.
    I have had the distinct honour of touring a number of companies that are thriving and rising to the challenges of a competitive global marketplace. I want to see them grow and continue to prosper. They create good jobs and add value to our local communities. However, they can do more, and this budget aims to support their ambitions and add new successful enterprises to their ranks.
    By providing the National Research Council's IRAP with additional funding, this government will help the small and medium-sized companies in my riding innovate and grow. The new high-impact firm initiative will assist firms in furthering their global competitiveness. Our plan to foster a clean growth economy will provide new opportunities to the next generation of entrepreneurs. I am heartened to see the importance placed on all aspects of the manufacturing sector, including the auto sector, in the recent budget.
    Finally, I would be remiss if I did not mention two additional items in this budget that are important for me: the increased funding for shelters for victims of violence and the additional funding for status of women.
     President Obama recently said that a country should be judged by how it treats its women. While we still have work to do in this country, having a feminist Prime Minister, a gender-balanced cabinet, and a commitment to equality is a good starting point.
    Our commitment of $500 million over the next five years toward a national framework for child care and early learning is another important step toward gender equality.
    I am proud to support budget 2016, as it responds to many of the issues I heard from my constituents at their doorways. This budget lays out the plan to put our country back on a path toward growth and social inclusion, and it reaffirms the values generations of Canadians have cherished as the foundations of our national identity.
    It is clear that these issues are intertwined. Skills, training, and experience develop our young people, but we need to ensure that young people have the opportunities to excel. We will achieve this by fostering a robust environment and economy by providing the infrastructure—social, green, and physical—for all Canadians to thrive at every stage of life in an inclusive society that is based on equality for all. Yes, this sounds like my Canada.
    I have met thousands of people in my community and across Canada. The ingenuity, the resilience, and the possibilities the people of our country take hold of every day never cease to amaze me.
    Another prime minister by the name of Trudeau once said, “The Canadian ideal which we have tried to live, with varying degrees of success and failure for a hundred years, is really an act of defiance against the history of mankind.” In Canada, we work to overcome our challenges peacefully and to create a fair society. It is my hope that we will continue to defy history.
    For the individuals and families, the parents and seniors who have come to our community volunteer income tax clinic, the measures in this budget will make a meaningful impact on their lives.
    A fair society is a strong society, and that is good for us all.
    Budget 2016 speaks to our present and to our future, a future that is focused on creating the opportunity for all Canadians to reach their full potential. I encourage my colleagues in this place to join me in supporting this budget and the opportunities that lie ahead.

  (1030)  

    Mr. Speaker, I know everyone is proud of their budget. Budgets are what governments do, I guess.
    It is interesting that they talk about the middle class, actually the middle-income group, which under our government was actually the wealthiest in not only the developed countries but one of the wealthiest in the world. What is interesting is that the Liberals are actually going to tax them $1.3 billion over this coming year and another $2.4 billion over the next year. It is going to increase the taxes on Lambton—Kent—Middlesex agriculture and small businesses. The Liberals will also increase the payroll taxes and EI, and they did not drop the small business tax as promised.
    I have always believed that it is not what people say but what they do. The Liberals said they would have a modest $10 billion deficit; it is now $30 billion plus. They said the tax shift from the top to the middle class would be revenue neutral, but the biggest benefit is if someone makes just under $200,000, so I guess that is an indication of middle class. However, they were out by $2 billion a year. Then they said they would balance the budget. That is at least three within the first six months. If they cannot make any predictions come true in their budget, I am wondering why Canadians would believe them about finishing their mandate in the next year until the next budget comes along.
    Mr. Speaker, it is very clear that some promises are going to be delivered right away. On July 1, 2017, the guaranteed income supplement is going to be increased by 10% for low-income seniors. The Canada child benefit and the tax cut for the middle class are measures that have already come into force.
    This budget is about investing, growing the middle class, and putting Canada back on a path toward growth.
    My colleagues on the other side tend to forget that the past 10 years saw some of the lowest growth in Canadian history since the Great Depression. We have a plan to get Canada back on track, to expand the middle class, and to expand opportunities for all of us so that we can all be stronger together.

  (1035)  

    Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the member for her speech and for her listing of priorities. Those priorities are the same as they are in my constituency. Sadly, though, the budget does not address those priorities.
    I am happy to see that the green infrastructure is going to include an expansion of LRT. My mayor is certainly happy that there will be additional money, but in this budget, sadly, there will be no monies to actually extend the line. The decision was to base it on ridership, but ridership cannot be increased until the line is built.
    I welcome an increase, and my mayor is happy. It will be 50% potential funding by the federal government, but it costs a billion dollars to build the line. We need more than $130 million.
    Here is my big concern. The hon. member says that one of her top priorities is seniors. It is the same for me in my riding. The Liberal Party promised $3 billion over three years for health care, but it is not in the budget. The Liberals are not committed to renegotiating the cutting of $36 billion over 10 years in health care, and there is no money for pharmacare.
    Could the member please speak to the matter? They promised additional action on providing health care to Canadians. Where are the dollars?
    Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague from Edmonton for her question and for her concerns and for the issues that we share. They are issues that are relevant not only in Burlington but across Canada.
    One of the things that is important to note is this is the first of four budgets in the cycle. We have an entire mandate. We have four years. Although the previous government tried to take Rome down in a day, it takes more than a day to build it back up.
    We are working together. The Minister of Health is negotiating with and working with her provincial colleagues to see how we can renegotiate the Canada health accord and hopefully talk about issues that are important for my constituents, for me, and for everyone in the House, such as pharmacare and home care.
    Mr. Speaker, since this is my first chance in the House to actually spend more than 60 seconds asking questions or doing S. O. 31s, I want to take the opportunity to thank my constituents for the opportunity to represent them again in Niagara West for the fifth straight time. I certainly want to thank all the volunteers who helped out and those who created donations, because we realize campaigns do not work unless we have the finances to make them happen.
    I also want to indicate that I will be splitting my time with the member for Cariboo—Prince George.
    My perspective in talking about the budget today will be around small business and confidence, as well as some other things.
    I have a concern when I look at creating jobs. I realize that governments do not actually create jobs, but they create a set of circumstances that create a climate that gives businesses confidence to invest in the country.
    In looking at some of the things that our government did in the last nine years, I will use the acronym TIRE to put in perspective all the things we did to try to give the economy confidence and give Canada a great reputation on the world stage as a place to invest. That has been borne out by a number of articles. As a matter of fact, in January, Forbes rated Canada as the number one country in the G20 to do business in.
    Let us think about that. Considering what went on over the last number of years and the great economic meltdown around the world in 2008, Forbes Magazine is saying in 2016 that Canada is number one in the G20 as a place to do business. That is because of all the hard work our government did over the last 10 years.
    Here is why I use the acronym TIRE.
     The “T” in TIRE is because we reduced corporate taxes. One of the things I will talk about is not dealing with the small business tax reduction, which I think is important. There were also the trade deals that we fostered with over 51 countries, including the TPP, which is the most recent one. We can look at how we lowered taxes for corporations, which made us one of the lowest-taxing jurisdictions in the G7. When global companies are deciding where they are going to invest money, they take a lot of things into consideration, and that is certainly one of them.
    The “I” in TIRE is with regard to infrastructure, investments, and immigration reforms. We did a number of things around infrastructure. The new government is committed to infrastructure as well, which I think is great, because these are important things, but our previous government had unprecedented investments in infrastructure around this country and certainly in my region of Niagara as well. We were able to accomplish a number of things over a short period of time that have made Niagara a much better place to be. Not only were there a number of infrastructure projects there, but work was also done at the border, which enhanced transportation and a number of different things.
    The “R” in TIRE is for research and development and red tape reduction. I had the opportunity to sit on a red tape reduction round table, and one of the things we heard was that red tape continues to be an issue for businesses in terms of their confidence when they have to deal with a bunch of red tape issues in one country versus another. It is an important issue. It is something that I hope the new government will continue to pursue, because, quite frankly, we can look at red tape once and have a commission to deal with it, but one of the laws of government or bureaucracy is that red tape will always continue to creep back in. We need to be diligent on this issue, and the current government needs to be committed to pursuing it.
    Last, the “E” in TIRE is for entrepreneurship and the economy. As I mentioned previously, Forbes said that the best place to invest within the G20 is Canada, and I think we need to focus on entrepreneurship and small business. One of my concerns is reflected in some of the commitments made earlier by the current government, which is that business needs to have the confidence to know that if they invest money and move forward with something, the rules are not going to change and they can count on the rules of engagement as they move forward. One of the things we need to continue to do in this country is nurture small business and entrepreneurs.
    One of the things our previous government did was to set aside $400 million for a venture capital fund, which is a good start, but I do not think it goes nearly far enough to address one of the most serious issues that small business has in this country, which is access to capital.

  (1040)  

    One of the reasons why we have hotspots in the U.S., whether it is Boston or Silicon Valley, is that there is a lot of money there. Yes, there is a lot of other factors. There are very smart people, but we have very smart people Canada. Access to capital continues to be one of the things that we will need to change in our country if we are to be more effective and have a chance to attract the businesses. Businesses need grow.
    What sometimes happens is we get a great idea, we move forward and then we lack the ability to raise additional funds, so businesses invariably go next door because there is a lot of cash and big private markets and equity markets down there. These are some of the things we need to do to move forward.
    In light of that, one of the promises the Liberals made, and they campaigned on it before the election, was that they would continue to lower the small business tax. This is one of the underlying factors in confidence, where small businesses could decide, or SMEs in general, how they invest and how they grow. If things do not line up that make it easier for them to do these things, then they will either sit on their funds or they will have a lot of other opportunities.
    A number of manufacturers in my riding said that they could not believe the offers they were getting from the southern U.S. to move there. We are not just talking about taxes, but other things like energy costs, which are crazy. I realize that is a provincial issue, but all governments need to be concerned about this. It troubles me when I hear manufacturers in my riding say that the only reason they are here is because they are committed to the community, that they have roots there because they grew up there. It is great for the individuals who do that, but we are competing in a global economy for dollars, for talent and all these other things that go into it.
    The Liberals promised to reduce small business taxes to 9%. Now they have said that they will not do that, and that concerns me. Once again that undermines the confidence of small businesses to make a difference in moving forward.
    Another challenge was dealing with the whole issue of EI. It is great that we look out for the most vulnerable, but we need to be careful over time. Businesses have to pay those premiums.
     We have talked about CPP expansion. On the surface, that is a great idea. The challenge, though, is there is only one taxpayer, and that is individuals and businesses. They have to bear the brunt of that.
    The challenge I have from that point of view is that we continue to place more burdens on small businesses. We continue to not look at all the other things that affect what is going on. Then what happens? There is a lack of confidence and businesses may decide not to invest additional money here. They may decide to move to other countries such as the United States. That is troubling because the previous government worked very hard over the last nine years to instill that confidence.
    As we saw in various articles written about our country over the last number of years, whether it was Forbes or Fortune, all indicated that Canada was on the right track.
    I also want to talk a bit about the comments of the parliamentary budget officer in trying to determine the budget. It is interesting that the opposition gave us a hard time when we were in government. It talked about how we did not listen to the PBO, that we were not open, transparent, and all those things. Now the parliamentary budget officer is saying that there is no openness or transparency. Once again, whether it is changing or playing down forecasts of long-term spending plans, how can the public understand what is really going on? The Liberals campaigned on the ability to be open and transparent.
    Unfortunately, 10 minutes is not nearly enough time to talk about all the issues that one would talk about in the budget. However, Canada is facing a number of issues right now, whether it is dealing with pipelines and our resource sector, or a whole bunch of other things.
    As a government, the Liberals have to create confidence for businesses. My concern is with the number of broken promises already. No one forced the Liberals to campaign on those promises and now they are reneging on some of them. Ultimately, that creates instability among SMEs and businesses in general and causes them to question whether the Liberals will keep their word. As a result, those funds can actually flow to other places. Businesses, as we know, are the ones that create jobs.

  (1045)  

    Mr. Speaker, I tend to disagree with the concluding remarks of the member. Maybe I will put it in a different perspective.
    I want to refer specifically to the tax break the middle class will be receiving. Hundreds and millions of dollars will go directly into the pockets of the middle class. With that additional disposal income, that will help invest in small businesses. An increase in disposable income means more consumer spending. When there is more consumer spending, businesses hopefully will hire more people.
    We are adding more value to the economy. By investing in the middle class, we are investing in Canada's economy. A healthier middle class means a healthier economy.
    All the other stuff aside, would the member not at the very least agree that if the middle class has more money, there is more money to spend and it helps small businesses, no matter what region of the country they are in?
    Mr. Speaker, once again, this is one of the issues we have. Individuals who have more money to spend does something.
    We have to understand that with a population of 35 million people, and I know the member across the way understands this, for us to increase our GDP, we need to sell goods outside the country.
    One of the greatest challenges we have is free trade deals. I did not actually mention TPP. We have heard mixed signals from the government on where it stands, and the compensation it will provide agriculture groups, which we negotiated.
    One of the most important ways we increase the GDP in our country is by ensuring we have places for our businesses to sell goods. There is certainly a benefit to selling goods locally, and we need that to happen. However, for businesses to really grow, we need to sell those goods outside our country.
    With an almost $2 trillion economy, we know 35 million people are not actually driving that as much as businesses and exports. This is one of the things I believe will help improve the standard of living for all Canadians and will create more jobs in the future.

  (1050)  

    Mr. Speaker, I listened with interest to my hon. colleague. Living in northern Ontario, we are resource-dependent. Many of us have small businesses, but our small businesses are dependent on the fact that if we do not have the resource economy, we do not have the small business.
    I am looking at the FedNor portfolio. I know the member is not from the north, but FedNor is where money is reinvested so we can create economic development opportunities. All the resource shares go to Queen's Park in Ontario, and we get very little back from the Wynne government. There is no augmenting in the FedNor budget.
    Second, there is no action on the Ring of Fire. For the last 10 years, the Wynne government has sat on the sidelines. This project will bring generational economic change to all the regions and the indigenous communities of the north. However, we see no action on it.
    The previous government did not move on it. The present government has not moved on it. Does my hon. colleague not agree that if we are to build this economy, we have to maintain that balance and we have to ensure that small businesses in our resource-dependent regions actually have the economic development dollars they need to diversify the economy?
    Mr. Speaker, I know the member did not intend to debate the job that Ms. Wynne has been doing in Ontario. We would need another full day on that one and on the disastrous legacy of her government.
    The member's question was around the Ring of Fire and resource development. Once again, I look at programs like FedNor, FedDev, and some of the regional agencies, and they do have their place. These are important.
    For development in the north, I do not think there is anything more important than getting the Ring of Fire right. It has been a lost opportunity, as far as I can see. We could do a much better job of coordinating efforts there. There is a whole bunch of assets there and resources that, quite frankly, if we could get our act together, we could do a great job at not only extracting those resources, but creating jobs for our north and for indigenous communities as well.
    That was a great question. My concern is that there is more to be done in Ontario. If we could get that right, we would have a thriving economy in the north.
    Mr. Speaker, I am here on behalf of hard-working families and friends of Cariboo—Prince George. We have some concerns with the budget released by the government three weeks ago.
    Historically speaking, budgets are presented once a year. They identify planned government spending and expected government revenue, and provide a plan for job growth and a road back for when borrowed money will eventually be paid back. More important, they provide hope.
    In releasing the national budget, governments send a message to Canadians that they have a sound fiscal plan. The budget serves to build confidence with investors, business, and political allies throughout the world that Canada remains stable, that our country is sound, and that it will continue to be a leading country for investment, growth, and partnership.
    Budget 2016 did one thing extremely well. It confirmed that we were in for another era of broken Liberal promises. A few of these broken promises include tripling the modest $10 billion deficit projection, backing away from the Liberals' pledge to balance the budget by 2019, and a broken promise to bring the debt-to-GDP ratio down every year of their mandate. That is not even touching their spending promises. I most certainly need more than 10 minutes to get into that.
    The price tag is $29.4 billion for 2016 alone. That is a broken promise in the magnitude of almost 300%. I am not sure about anyone else, but I cannot run my finances off of credit, and the government is doing just that: maxing out Canada's corporate credit card.
    Over the years, I was fortunate to have been part of a few incredibly talented teams tasked with building business plans, long-term budgets, and strategic forecasting, where our vulnerability as an industry and as an organization lay. I can say with complete sincerity that no way would a budget with no plan to make a company flush, let alone turn a profit, ever have been accepted. Why should we ask Canadians to approve such a plan, especially when they are the ones who will be left footing the bill for years to come?
    Not only is the government saddling Canadians with enormous debt, it backed away from the promise of an open and transparent model of government. Even a report from the independent parliamentary budget officer found that Liberals were hiding information from Canadians, creating their own economic growth projections, and exaggerating job growth expectations. Debt just does not go away no matter how hard the Liberals try to wish it away. Borrowed money is not free money.
    Over the last 20 years, my wife and I have been small business owners, and we know first-hand how challenging it can be to make ends meet. Instead of falling through on their election promise to lower the small business tax from 10.5% to the scheduled 9%, the Liberals have left it at the current level. However, should this surprise us?
    The Prime Minister had this to say on this matter during the campaign, “We have to know that a large percentage of small businesses are actually just ways for wealthier Canadians to save on their taxes”, to hide money, “and we want to reward the people who are actually creating jobs, and contributing in concrete ways.” We all know the Prime Minister has never had to worry about choosing between putting food on the table for his family or making payroll for his employees at the end of the month, but the constituents in my riding of Cariboo—Prince George have.
    I would like to relay a recent conversation I had with local farming families. There are over 4,000 beef producers in B.C., employing roughly 8,800 people directly and indirectly. Beef producers contribute approximately $25 billion to Canada's economy, $35 million of that alone from one of the communities in Cariboo—Prince George. There are over 68,000 beef producers Canada-wide, yet there is not one mention of hard-working farm families in this budget.
    The message I was asked to deliver is this. The hard-working farm families, many of which have worked their operations for generations, are small business owners. Their businesses are run 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The money they make is not spent on fancy cars, condos, or vacations. That money is spent directly in the communities in which they live.

  (1055)  

    The current government failed the hard-working farm families in its Speech from the Throne and, once again, in its first budget speech. The government failed rural Canada. This is simply unacceptable. Our farm families have faced increasingly challenging times in the last six months due to market volatility stemming from the current government's lack of recognition of the importance of this vital industry.
    Now that the Prime Minister has approved his first budget, I think he is just figuring out that budgets do not balance themselves. That is why the Liberal government has chosen to raise taxes on our job creators by ending the hiring credit for small businesses. I can only assume, based on his words, that the Prime Minister believes that these are the wealthy Canadians who can afford to take the hit. Dan Kelly, president of the Canadian Federation of Independent Business said this:
...the new government promised to reduce the small business corporate tax rate to nine per cent by 2019. That promise was broken...[when they] announced the rate will remain at 10.5 per cent.... This decision will cost small firms over $900 million more per year as of 2019.
     One does not need to be an economist to realize that job creators in this country, be they the hard-working entrepreneurs, the local farmers, or the neighbourhood grocery stores, will find it harder to operate in light of these Liberal tax hikes.
    The current Liberal government was elected on a promise to address a perceived infrastructure deficit. To do so, it is borrowing $12 billion over the next five years. However, the majority of this money would not go toward roads, bridges, and public transportation, the infrastructure promises on which the current government was elected. The Liberals had the perfect opportunity to invest in projects that would provide concrete, long-term benefits in the form of jobs and increased economic activity.
    The review of the Canada Transportation Act, released in December, pointed out a need for a national transportation strategy, saying it will be fundamental for Canada's economic development, moving forward. Canada is a trading nation. We need trade agreements that give our producers the ability to compete in global markets. We need secure and seamless movement of these commodities and access for business to and from our country and our communities. This is critical for Canada to remain competitive. I may have missed it, but I did not see any money set aside in the budget for our ports and our airports, Canada's vital transportation gateways. While investment in green infrastructure is commendable and remains important, the current Liberal government is so blindsided by its own buzz words and pet projects that it is failing to invest in the crucial projects that are the foundation of our regional and national economies.
    I too was elected on a promise to fight for my hard-working constituents of Cariboo—Prince George, to keep taxes low, be a strong voice in Ottawa for the people who do not feel they are being heard, and to bring the priorities of Cariboo—Prince George to Ottawa. I look at budget 2016 and I see nothing for rural Canada, nothing for the mills, mines, farmers, or small businesses. Investment in high-speed transit in major centres would not create jobs or opportunities in the industries that fuel the economies of Cariboo—Prince George, where people have been hit hard by the downturn in the resource sector. Giving them an additional five weeks on EI is nice, but they need jobs.
    We are still waiting for a softwood lumber agreement. We are still waiting for the trans-Pacific partnership agreement to be ratified. We are still left with higher taxes, a large national deficit, no additional resources for our police forces, and measures that actually do more harm than good for small businesses that are the backbone of our economy.
    For my colleagues across the floor, I would say that Canadians did not give the Liberals a mandate to borrow beyond our means, they did not give them a mandate for a pile of broken promises, and they most certainly did not give them a mandate for higher taxes that would be passed on for future generations.
    I will leave with a quote from the late Jim Flaherty, regarded as the world's best finance minister, who shepherded us through the world's worst economic recession since the Great Depression while having the strongest job growth in the G7, keeping taxes low, and balancing the budget. He said,
...nearly 150 years ago, Canada was founded with fiscal responsibility as its cornerstone. The men and women who carved this great country out of the wilderness simply called it “good government”.
     That is what minister of finance John Rose was talking about when he stood before this assembly to deliver Canada's first budget speech in 1868. He said, “...I say that we ought to be most careful in our outlay, and consider well every shilling we expend”.
    Canadians deserve a responsible government that is thinking about the long-term interests of this country. Simply put, Canadians deserve better.

  (1100)  

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for his speech.
    I would like to ask some questions about the budget. People in my riding have a lot of questions about social housing. Municipal housing office representatives in Drummondville have asked me what is holding the government back from investing in social housing.
    The federal government promised to invest $520 million over four years to build new affordable rental housing. However, the budget seems to suggest that promise will not be kept.
    What does my hon. colleague think of that? There are probably social housing needs in his riding too. It is extremely important to invest so that our neediest citizens can thrive and become productive members of their communities once again.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, without a doubt we need to do everything in our power to look after those who are most vulnerable. In my riding of Cariboo—Prince George, we indeed do have a necessity for affordable housing, but these are questions I am getting. How is the money going to be rolled out, being a provincial responsibility? Who is the government talking to? How do people get in line for these dollars to be doled out?
    There has been no plan. Again, there are more vague answers, more in the coming weeks and months. There is a concern over whether the money that has been allocated will make it to rural Canada or simply go to the major cities across Canada.
    Mr. Speaker, I know we will disagree—the Green Party's point of view looking to a colleague in the Conservative Party. The previous 10 years' budgets left me devastated in terms of the things that did not get attention. When I look at this budget, my heartbreak is that the words are there, but the commitment is not sufficient to meet the promises.
    For instance, I agree that we need to see infrastructure dollars in those parts of the country, because we know that the infrastructure deficit is massive. One of the things that I am glad is preserved by the government from the previous administration is the $3 billion a year gas tax for infrastructure.
    Does my hon. colleague agree that we need more investment in infrastructure, particularly for public transit that right now has $3.4 billion in the budget over three years, which is quite insufficient to the need?

  (1105)  

    Mr. Speaker, while we may differ on many issues, we do agree and share our passion for our communities and for Canada and for doing the best we can in representing our regions and ridings.
    My concern is that rural Canada has seemingly been forgotten in the budget. Whether it is high-speed transit or any transit, it does nothing in my riding. If I go to my municipalities and say they have to choose between a transit program and a road infrastructure program, where is that balance or that priority is going to be?
    Again, high-speed transit does nothing in our riding. We are okay with our transit program. We need investment in infrastructure. We need investment in jobs and creating an environment so that we have investment in our region. We need a softwood lumber agreement to bring confidence to our softwood lumber industry, to our forestry industry. We need a trans-Pacific partnership so that our producers from across Canada can have some confidence that they will be able to access new markets to compete on the global stage.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, I will be sharing my time with the member for Toronto—Danforth.
    I am delighted to rise in the House this morning to speak to the budget tabled by our government a few weeks ago. While we were in our respective ridings recently, I had the opportunity to present our budget to some of the chambers of commerce in my region. I met with just over 200 people to share the budget's main points with them.
    To answer my colleague across the aisle, I would like to talk about what the budget will do for our regions and our communities. This budget includes some very positive things for our rural communities and regions like mine, such as eastern Quebec and the Gaspé. That is what I want to talk about here in the House this morning.
    First I would like to paint a picture of my region's socio-economic situation. My riding covers an area of about 16,000 square kilometres and has 57 municipalities and as many elected representatives. As for population density, one of the counties has about 6.5 people per square kilometre and therefore has a vast expanse of land. The population is relatively evenly distributed in terms of age. There are about 2,500 people aged zero to 14, 2,000 people aged 15 to 24, and 4,000 aged 25 to 44.
    My region has a negative migration flow, which means that it is slowly losing its population, and this saddens me. The same is true for three of the four municipalities in my riding. In addition, the population is aging, and the employment rate is 69%.
    In my riding, per capita disposable income is $23,000. It is one of the lowest average disposable incomes in Canada, if not the lowest. It is a particularly tough economic situation. When the budget was brought down, I was very proud of the tangible measures that the Minister of Finance and our government put in place to help those in great need who are having a hard time making ends meet. Solid commitments were presented and announced in the budget to address this. We also talked about lowering taxes for the middle class. It is quite an achievement.
    We also committed to presenting tangible measures for families, young people, and seniors. I would like to quickly mention those. The first pillar of budget 2016 is the Canada child benefit. Many families in our region need this benefit. It will allow families with children under six to receive up to $6,400 per child. Families with children between six and 17 will receive up to $5,400 per child. That is a lot of money for families in our regions who need extra money to make ends meet. We clearly indicated in the budget that these benefits would not be taxable, which is very important.
    As far as young people and students are concerned, we announced a 50% increase in student grants, meaning an extra $1,000 for students from low-income families. We are also very proud of this measure.
    We also announced a student loan repayment exemption for students who earn less than $25,000 when they enter the labour market. In other words, students will not have to repay their student loan until they are earning at least $25,000 a year. That is an increase of $5,000. It is very important for them to have a small financial cushion before they have to start paying off their student debt.
    We announced the creation of many student jobs under the Canada summer jobs program. We committed to increasing the number of jobs in the regions. We estimate that this could represent 350 more jobs for students in my riding. We are very proud of that.
    Obviously, we did not forget about our seniors. These individuals are proud, active members of our community who do volunteer work. We announced a 10% increase in the guaranteed income supplement for single seniors. Our government's excellent approach in this regard seeks to recognize the financial difficulty that some members of our population are experiencing. These are practical measures that will affect our communities.

  (1110)  

    Other measures have also been put in place, including improvements to the employment insurance program. That is important in my riding. Unfortunately, people sometimes may need to rely on employment insurance, whether it be on a temporary or a periodic basis. Significant improvements have been made to the program, including the reduction of the two-week waiting period to one week and a decrease in the number of hours required to be eligible for EI benefits. New entrants and re-entrants to the labour market had to accumulate up to 910 hours of employment to be eligible for EI benefits. We recognized that that was a problem and now, in our region, they will have to accumulate only 420 hours to qualify. We are very proud of that measure.
    We are eliminating the requirements that forced claimants to accept jobs at lower rates of pay and with longer commuting times. That was a very obvious problem in my riding. These sorts of measures, which were brought in by the Conservatives in 2012, have been eliminated. That is a promise that we made during the election campaign, and I am proud to see it in the budget. The people in my riding are very happy that these types of changes have been made.
    We have also undertaken to extend the working while on claim pilot project to August 2018. That is very important to us. We have also decided to continue and increase investments in skills training, and we have increased that budget to $675 million. Obviously, I am also very proud of the fact that we are reinstating the 15% tax credit for labour-sponsored funds. That is another important element of our platform that is being implemented with this budget.
    There has been a lot of talk about infrastructure. We believe these investments are important because they can benefit our communities. For example, we have allocated $1.5 billion over two years for affordable housing. It is very important to be able to access such housing in our communities. Another example is the $342-million investment over two years for cultural and recreational infrastructure. It is important for our communities to have cultural and recreational infrastructure.
    We will be investing $2 billion over four years to immediately improve water treatment and distribution infrastructure. We are even committing to paying 50% of eligible costs.
    Different measures for infrastructure are very important to us. Once again, we are very proud and we believe that investments in Quebec could total up to or over $700 million.
    There were some big announcements in the budget for arts and culture, such as increased funding for CBC/Radio-Canada. There was also more funding for the Canada Council for the Arts, Telefilm Canada, the National Film Board of Canada, and Showcasing Canada's Cultural Industries to the World. Cultural organizations in our region welcomed these reinvestments in arts and culture. We are very proud that these measures are in the budget.
    We have heard a lot about SMEs. We obviously want to support them with technology and help them improve and modernize their organizations and businesses. These SMEs also want contracts, to help keep their businesses going. By investing in infrastructure, we think we will be in a position to create jobs that will generate economic spinoffs in our regions and encourage people there to spend and invest. For example, they may buy a pair of skis or a bike this summer, which will have a direct impact on our regional businesses.
    We also promised to invest $197 million over five years in Fisheries and Oceans Canada to increase monitoring and research activities. That is very important to us. The Maurice Lamontagne Institute is in my riding and is one of the top francophone research centres in the world. We are very proud of this institute, and we obviously hope that this measure will benefit the Maurice Lamontagne Institute.
    In conclusion, I am very proud of the budget that was presented. This budget will help my community and our municipalities develop economically and create jobs. Once again, this is a step forward for us.

  (1115)  

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, the member across the way provided a laundry list of measures in the budget for employment insurance, not all of which will come into effect until 2017. Despite those measures, the budget projects keeping spending on EI benefits below EI premium revenues for four of the next five years. Therefore, I would ask the member whether there is enough money there to make some further improvements to EI, such as including oil and gas-producing regions like Edmonton, Regina, and southern Saskatchewan in the temporary extension of EI benefits, which was supposedly intended as a response to the downturn in oil and gas.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, what our workers need is jobs. They want to work 52 weeks a year. People in my region need that. They do not want to resort to employment insurance, but they have to periodically or temporarily because they lose their jobs or their industry is seasonal. Once again, we are very proud of the improvements we announced, such as investments to speed up employment insurance claims processing.
    When I was campaigning, people told me that getting their first cheque took a long time. I am very proud that, in this budget, our government decided to invest in speeding up employment insurance claims processing.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, like my colleague, I have had the opportunity over the past number of weeks to discuss the budget with stakeholders in my area of London, and I was pleased with the response. We had a number of round table discussions with employment groups, high-tech companies, and aboriginal citizens, who feel that we are on the right track.
    Would the member agree that the reception in his constituency has been as positive as I have found it to be?

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for her question. I would say the response has been extremely positive. I met with a number of stakeholders and elected officials during the two weeks I spent in my riding. Once again, the response was very positive. Some of the people I talked to called our measures historic. We have covered a whole range of important issues, including employment insurance, infrastructure, arts and culture, and our indigenous communities.
    I have three indigenous communities in my riding, and they are delighted with the investments we are making to help them. They were satisfied with the way we handled consultations both before and after the budget to arrive at the major initiatives we announced. The response has been very positive.

  (1120)  

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, the Liberals campaigned on a number of promises that have been broken over the last six months. Could my colleague tell me if they misled Canadians or if they simply do not have a plan?

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, I am always surprised to hear this kind of negative attitude from the other side of the House. As I said, the people I met were extremely proud of the budget presented to them. They see the concrete measures that will help them make ends meet.
    We talked about the Canada child benefit. That is a promise we made during the election campaign and a promise kept. This promise will give families in our respective regions extra money that they can use to make ends meet. That is the kind of promise we made and what we committed to Canadians. I am very proud of that.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, I rise today to speak to budget 2016. This budget aims to help Canadians put themselves on the best footing to build for the future.
    We talk a great deal about building infrastructure, but this budget goes further. It is about building communities and a strong base for the future of our country.
    It will be no surprise to many of those assembled today to hear me say that I am an advocate for better food policy. I am going to talk about how this budget would impact food security and families across our country.
    Food policy covers a wide range of issues. It concerns agriculture and how we maintain and sustain our local agriculture. It also concerns the impact of climate change on agriculture. Food policy considers how we process our food and the impact of processed foods on our health.
    I have asked questions in the House about reducing sodium and eliminating trans fats in our processed foods. These are important health issues. Another issue related to that is how we label our foods so that consumers can make proper decisions about the foods they eat.
    Perhaps most importantly, we need to consider food security as a part of food policy. We need to ensure that people have access to healthy food, because we all need healthy food to thrive.
    Budget 2016 takes many important steps forward on the food policy issues that I have mentioned.

[Translation]

    Children do better in school when they are properly nourished, and people work harder and get sick less often when they eat fresh, nutritious, unprocessed food.
    Our local farmers and the economy as a whole do better when Canadians purchase locally grown food. This budget will bring us closer to achieving these objectives.

[English]

    I would like to begin by addressing food security, because this issue comes up a lot in discussions with people in my riding.
    A key issue when we discuss access to healthy food is poverty. We have many food banks and nutrition programs in my riding. The reason we have them is poverty.
    On the occasion of National Volunteer Week, I would like to thank the people who work so hard to run these food banks and nutrition programs. They do tremendous work in our community, and we need to take a moment to thank them.
    However, budget 2016 will take steps to help people so they may be able to move beyond dependence upon such nutrition programs and food banks. That is important.
    The most significant impact for families with children will come from the Canada child benefit. During the election campaign, I spoke with parents across my riding. The common issue for many of these families is the high cost of raising happy, healthy children in Toronto. The Canada child benefit will help families with children who have the greatest need.
    The previous system treated all families alike, but we know that not all families are alike. They do not all have the same needs. Our government believes in helping those Canadians who need the help the most. The effect of the Canada child benefit is to raise over 300,000 children out of poverty. It will increase benefits to nine out of 10 families. It is akin to creating a guaranteed annual income for children. When we raise children out of poverty, we increase their food security.

  (1125)  

[Translation]

    That is what the benefit will do. Its impact on family budgets will be almost immediate. It will be tax-free, unlike benefits under the previous regime. Canadian parents will therefore be able to plan their finances without having to worry about paying taxes on the money they receive for their family.
    This targeted benefit will enable those less fortunate to provide their children with the same opportunities as wealthier families. This program will have a huge impact. Not only will it help poor children and their families, but it will also help make our society fairer and more prosperous, which is what we all want.

[English]

    Another part of the budget that will provide help for families and people in need is the guaranteed income supplement.
    Single seniors are nearly three times more likely to live with lower incomes than seniors generally across the population. Our elders have contributed so much to our country, and we need to support them when they need it.
    Budget 2016 more than doubles the current maximum GIS top-up benefit. It is expected that this initiative alone will improve the financial security of almost one million single seniors.
    Increased financial security, as I mentioned when I was talking about the Canada child benefit, means increased food security. This measure will help our most vulnerable seniors get access to healthy food.
    This benefit will have a direct impact in my riding, where many seniors make their home and struggle against the rising costs of living in downtown Toronto. As I meet them in coffee shops across the riding or talk with them at their doorsteps to discuss the work we are doing in Ottawa, I hear about their difficulties. Now that we have released this budget, they are telling me that they appreciate the GIS increase. They believe there will be a felt benefit, that it will improve their lives.
    In talking about access to healthy food, I am mindful of the needs of the people who live in our far north.

[Translation]

    The budget also proposes another important investment: $64.5 million over five years to enhance nutrition north Canada, a program that helps northern and isolated communities obtain nutritious and perishable foods at a reduced cost.
    We must support that program. I do not need to tell members how costly it is to ship fresh food to those communities.

[English]

    In my own riding of Toronto—Danforth, another issue that impacts good security is housing. Being in downtown Toronto, residents of my riding feel acutely the impact of high housing costs. Too many people need to make a choice between having a roof over their heads or food on their table.
    Budget 2016 invests in affordable housing. The government will develop a national housing strategy. The budget sets out measures to invest in the construction of new affordable housing units, the renovation and repair of existing affordable housing, and measures to support housing affordability. The measures include designing an affordable rental housing financing initiative. I am personally particularly happy to see included in the budget specific funding proposed for the construction and renovation of shelters and transition homes for victims of domestic violence.
    These are all important steps to address helping people in need by giving them the building blocks to build their future.
    I have spent most of my time talking about food security and the budget's impact on this issue, but at the beginning, I raised the question about food processing and labelling. The budget supports a strengthening of the food safety system. It also sets out that the government will take steps over the next year to improve food labels to give more information on added sugars and artificial dyes in processed foods.
    What Canadians eat is an important aspect of health outcomes in the short term and the long term. The ongoing conversation Canadians are having regarding sugar, obesity, and diet-linked illnesses like diabetes is indicative of the very serious health consequences of not being able to get healthy fresh food on the table.

  (1130)  

[Translation]

    My constituents often talk to me about food insecurity and the associated health risks. They are concerned, as are most Canadians, about the amount of sugar and artificial substances found in the processed foods that fill the shelves and freezers of our supermarkets.

[English]

    The budget's commitment that the government take steps over the next year to improve food labels is very important.
    As well, this morning I had breakfast with members of the Ontario Federation of Agriculture. They were so happy to hear about the investments we will be making in science for agriculture.
    All of these aspects are covered in the budget. I believe it is a great step toward better food policy.
    Mr. Speaker, according to the debt clock that has been running on my desk, since the member started speaking the Liberals have managed to add at least $500,000 on to the debt.
    She mentioned the children's benefit. In annex 1 on page 240 of the budget under “Outlook For Program Expenses”, it shows that they would be spending less on child benefits starting in 2017-18. It actually starts going down. Are they planning to start cutting the child benefit? If so, why did they not provide further fiscal information on the next page where it explains what is happening with the numbers, except for the child benefit plan, for which there is no explanation? I would like the member to comment on why the government chose not to provide that information in the budget document.
    Mr. Speaker, I thank my friend for expressing concern and interest in the Canada child benefit and the need to support our families across the country, because that is what the budget is about.
    We have been quite clear about the fact that the Canada child benefit is going to be a steady source of money for families in greater need. Indeed, what we will see is some people will be receiving less, but they are the people who have less need for it. What we have created is a targeted benefit that will have the best impact on families who truly need it to help put food on their tables.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, I just want to say that the Liberals' budget is full of half-measures. We are disappointed at how many election promises were broken.
    For example, my colleague across the way talked about buying local and agriculture. However, with this budget, even the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food had little to say about investments. There is no mention in the budget of compensation for farmers whose livelihood is being threatened by trade agreements.
    Farmers in my riding are quite upset to see no mention of the diafiltered milk that goes through the U.S. before it enters Canada. As far as job creation and public transit are concerned, the budget has only half the money that was previously announced.
    In Salaberry—Suroît, small municipalities are waiting to find out whether they will have guaranteed access to their fair share of infrastructure. There is a public transit problem. People want to go to work, but do not know how to go about getting to town to access quality, lasting jobs. They are a bit stuck because they live in rural areas. They want to find jobs so they can feed their families. The budget offers only half-measures for public transit.
    I could go on about small businesses. The Liberals promised to lower the tax rate from 11% to 9%, but that did not happen in the budget. Small and medium-sized businesses are the biggest job creators in the country. People are very disappointed.
    What does my colleague have to say about that?

  (1135)  

    Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my colleague for her very detailed question.
    She asked me what we are going to do for farmers. I spoke a little about this already. This morning, when I spoke with Ontario and Quebec farmers, they were very pleased to see that we have taken steps to invest in science in order to support them. They, too, have noticed how climate change is affecting agriculture.
    We are prepared to help them respond to this situation. Personally, what I see is that we have supports for farmers.
    In terms of infrastructure, we are investing in broadband Internet service across the country. People living in rural areas will have access to it.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, it is an honour to share my time with the hon. member for Haldimand—Norfolk.
    I am pleased to rise to speak to budget 2016 presented by the Liberal government. However, I would like to waste no time at all though and express my opposition to the direction of this budget and particularly where the Prime Minister is taking the country.
    I am here on behalf of my constituents in Edmonton Riverbend, and I owe it to them to represent our views and our vision for the future. I have pledged to view every decision made in the House through that very lens, but this budget makes it so very easy to feel like we have been let down in Edmonton and in Alberta.
    This budget took away what hope struggling Canadians had left and failed to explicitly do what Liberals promised Canadians during the 2015 election campaign. The Liberal candidates in Edmonton paraded around the city saying, “Don't worry, it's only a $10-billion deficit,” and “Don't worry, we have a plan to ensure people don't lose their jobs.” These are words that perhaps every Liberal candidate in my city believed, and perhaps even some Liberals in this House still believe. However, this budget is something that should make every member of that caucus go back to his or her riding, particularly in Edmonton, and feel embarrassed. The messages of “don't worry” are certainly worrying Albertans more and more each day.
    The unemployment situation in western Canada is dire. Families are struggling to pay their bills, and some are even foreclosing on their homes. Their hardships are made even worse when many are facing layoffs, and the ones who are wondering when it will be their turn cannot simply, as the Prime Minister put it, “hang in there”, nor should they be forced to. These hard-working Canadians deserve a budget that gets them back to work.
    The Liberals said, “Don't worry, we'll build bridges, roads, green transit.” However, the infrastructure announcements in the budget go absolutely nowhere to help those in the energy sector. My constituency office phone is ringing off the hook with not only my constituents but those from the ridings of Edmonton Centre and Edmonton Mill Woods asking for my help and if I can talk any sense into the Liberal government, the Liberal members, and the Prime Minister. They want to know where the Liberal government's claim that its spending will create 143,000 jobs over the next two years and boost the GDP by 0.5% in 2016 and 1% in 2017 came from. Bank economists have said that the Liberal budget as delivered vastly overestimates the jobs that will be created, and will only increase GDP by 0.1% to 0.3%. This is a “real” change.
    I cannot ignore the major focus of Edmontonians over the past two weeks without addressing the impact of leaving Edmonton out of the EI expansion. Edmonton and area residents were the only region in Alberta that were left out of the expansion and left without any sort of financial relief, even though Edmonton is a region that is uniquely positioned within our country.
    It is easy to look at the cold, hard mathematics, as the Prime Minister said, and determine that Edmonton is a very small percentage, below the arbitrary number selected by the Prime Minister for this expansion. However, that is not understanding Edmonton; that is not understanding Alberta, and that certainly is not understanding the energy sector.
    Edmonton and the Edmonton area have an immense impact on the energy sector in our province. For example, in my riding I have a number of workers who live in Edmonton Riverbend; however, they commute weeks on and weeks off to Fort McMurray. These people are counted in the Fort McMurray mathematics and not the Edmonton mathematics.
    Another example, and a place I had the honour of touring over the last week is Nisku. Nisku, if members have ever visited, is a hub of activity for heavy machinery and industrial work specifically related to the oil sands. This region has been hit hard, so hard that a major company like PCL Industrial does not know where its next job will come from six months from now. That is scary. Denying these workers and these companies the expansion of EI benefits like the rest of the province shows a serious lack of understanding of how our province operates.
    When the Prime Minister did come to Edmonton, flanked by two very uncomfortable MPs for that matter, and proceeded to tell us that we should be, and I quote, “thankful”, I was shocked. The previous day I was asked by a number of media outlets to comment on the visit by the Prime Minister. To be completely honest, I was expecting the Prime Minister to adjust his thinking, show up in Edmonton, and say that Edmonton is now included, what a terrible oversight that was, and offer an apology to Edmontonians. I was ready to commend the Prime Minister and tell him he did the right thing, but he did not say what I had hoped he would say, and we are still fighting with his office to have him reconsider the unique situation Edmonton is in.

  (1140)  

    To further drive home the point of how out of touch the Prime Minister really is, even the provincial New Democrats pulled themselves away from their latest attack on Alberta workers and jobs in the province, to raise alarms on what the decision to exclude Edmonton from the extended EI benefit means to the Edmonton region. Granted, they did it a day too late, as the Prime Minister had already left town, but at least they were making an effort.
    Setting this aside, I wonder why there was an EI expansion package plan but no formal road map to get unemployed Canadians back to work. It seems that the Prime Minister would prefer to grasp at the low-hanging fruit and spend money giving a few more weeks of EI rather than providing a necessary job growth plan that would allow workers to be financially independent and generate revenue for the government. Getting hard-working Canadians back to work, not in a decade but right away, should have been the primary objective of this budget. It is jobs that are ultimately going to put money in Canadians' pockets and help to balance the budget without raising taxes.
    I am proud of the previous Conservative government's record of prioritizing jobs. Under the Conservative government, 1.3 million net new jobs were created, the most per capita in the G7. These were high-quality jobs, with 80% of them full time and in the private sector. The budget presented by the Liberals is a failed budget attempt and has let down hard-working Canadians who are struggling to pay their bills and seeing their savings dwindle away. It is obvious that the Prime Minister and the finance minister do not truly understand what is happening in western Canada.
     However, to be honest, I am mostly disappointed with the Liberal MPs from the west who, in caucus, had a real opportunity to raise these issues on behalf of their constituents and did not. That is something that these MPs will have to live with back home. Perhaps some of them have been too busy over the past few weeks attending JUNO celebrations, hockey games, farewells to arenas, and hosting the Prime Minister in his riding. I can tell those MPs' constituents that on this side of the House, we listen to our constituents. We are here for them, and we will not let hard-working Canadians down.
    Mr. Speaker, I am somewhat amazed at the member's speech, in the sense that he has forgotten what is important to the Prairies, in particular Edmonton, which is pipelines. For over 10 years, the Conservative government, which he gloats about, failed miserably at developing one inch of pipeline to tidewater. That had a devastating impact on the province of Alberta. Edmontonians are not going to be fooled by this or any member of the Conservative caucus saying that they understand Alberta's problems when the former government failed so miserably in delivering progress.
    I can talk about the pipelines; I can talk about the Wheat Board and what the Conservative government did. The previous Conservative government failed western Canada, and that is why Liberals won as many seats as they did. I think the potential in the future is going to be greater because of this budget. Manitobans, Albertans, and people in the Prairies understand that this is a budget that is progressive, that is going to invest in Canada and Alberta. It is going to employ more Canadians, including those on the Prairies.
    My question to the member is this. Would he not recognize that the Conservative government failed at delivering the important jobs related to the pipeline industry for over 10 years?

  (1145)  

    Mr. Speaker, I appear to have caused the member for Winnipeg North to get worked up over there, which is fine.
    Quite honestly, I thought it had been determined in the House that four pipelines were approved during the tenure of the previous government. He keeps spouting off about there being zero. I guess we will agree to disagree on that point.
    However, the point he brought up about how Liberals are supporting western Canada, I find laughable. He mentioned that he was amazed at my speech. I was amazed by watching Liberal after Liberal vote against the energy east motion that the Conservatives brought before the House, which explicitly asked members to show support for western Canada. They stood en masse and voted against it.
    The most shocking part, getting back to my speech, is the four Liberal members of Parliament from Alberta who stood one after the other and voted against the energy east pipeline. If winning four seats in Alberta is the record number that he is so excited about, then I would encourage him to keep working.
    Mr. Speaker, I was somewhat disappointed that the member for Edmonton Riverbend used his speech to take a shot at the Alberta NDP government for allegedly being a day or two late in critiquing the fact that the federal budget EI extension omitted Edmonton.
    That strikes me as very interesting. In the question period following the budget, not a single one of the Conservative MPs who represent Edmonton, Regina, or southern Saskatchewan said anything at all about our regions being left out of this extension of EI benefits that were supposedly targeted to areas hit by the downturn in oil and gas. In fact, it was only the NDP that raised this issue and called for the inclusion of Edmonton, Regina, and southern Saskatchewan in this extension.
    My question for the member would be this. Does he recognize that the previous Conservative government's cuts to employment insurance are a major part of what led to this situation in which a majority of unemployed Canadians, including in Alberta and Saskatchewan, are not receiving EI benefits at all?
    Mr. Speaker, it is rich coming from the NDP, which time and time again in Alberta has devastated our job market, has devastated our workers. People are losing jobs en masse, largely because of what has happened not only at the federal level but also at the provincial level. To stand up in the House and defend what the provincial NDP is doing is borderline laughable.
    However, the member does bring up a good point. It is making sure that all of us together are standing up for Edmonton, for southern Saskatchewan, because quite frankly, it is not being done by the government. If that member is willing to stand up and fight for Edmonton, I support him 100%.
    When I go—
    Resuming debate, the hon. member for Haldimand—Norfolk.
    Mr. Speaker, on March 22, the Liberal government released its 2016 federal budget, and I stand here today deeply disappointed with the many broken promises in that document.
    The Prime Minister made promises to support the middle class while keeping the annual deficit at no more than $10 billion a year for three years. This is what Canadians were led to expect, but the Liberal's own deficit forecast has come in much higher than that, and over many more years. Indeed, over the term of the current government, there is no end in sight to deficit financing.
    It is so bad that the Liberals are actually repealing the Federal Balanced Budget Act, because, as the budget itself says, the current legislation is “inconsistent with the Government’s plan”. In other words, the law is an inconvenience. This is a plan that is reckless. It is ineffective, and it is one that gives little consideration to the future financial health of our families, or indeed our country.
    The budget confirmed that the Liberals are raising taxes on honest hard-working families, eager young students, and on enterprising small businesses, which will only hurt the people in my home of Haldimand—Norfolk.
    Members know, and I know, and every responsible Canadian knows, that borrowed money has to be paid back. That is why I guess the Liberals are already raising taxes. In fact, personal income taxes are set to go up by $1.3 billion this year and $2.4 billion next year. Yet, despite promising support for middle-class families, the Liberal government is going to repeal many tax programs that were brought in by our last Conservative government, especially to help families. These are programs such as the family income splitting, the child tax benefit, and the universal child care benefit, of which I am particularly fond. Over 9.4 million families in Canada will be directly affected by these changes, including 32,000 families in my home riding.
    The new Canada child benefit claims to boost payments to some families, but it comes at the expense of existing child benefits. At least 10% of families will be losing support altogether, and mark my words, that 10% number could go a whole lot higher.
    The Liberal government is also taking away the children's fitness and arts tax credits. In Haldimand—Norfolk alone, the parents of some 21,000 children under the age of 16 have been eligible for these tax credits up until now. These are tax credits totalling $1,500 each year. Unfortunately, these families will no longer be eligible.
    Conservatives have always understood that Canadians work hard, and we support policies that put more money where it belongs, back in the pockets of Canadians.
    One of the things I was pleased to see in the budget is that there will be an increase to the guaranteed income supplement for seniors. However, I was disappointed in the Liberal's changes to the Canada student loan program. Despite what they said, their own numbers show that only one in five students will benefit. That is certainly not the way that they are promoting it. This becomes even more disturbing when we realize that they are also taking away the tax credits introduced by Conservatives for text books and tuition, which were available not just to a few but to all post-secondary students.
    Another huge hit is going to be to Canadian small businesses through higher payroll taxes. The government will not be lowering the business tax rate to 9% as it promised. Instead, the government will hold it at 10.5% and introduce new conditions around eligibility.
    Many small businesses describe this broken promise as a shock. Here is what the Canadian Federation of Independent Business had to say:
    In its platform, in a written letter to CFIB members, and in campaign stops across the country, the new government promised to reduce the small business corporate tax rate to nine per cent by 2019. That promise was broken today....
    This was said by Dan Kelly, the president of CFIB.
    This decision alone will cost firms almost $1 billion per year, starting in 2019.

  (1150)  

    This broken promise comes as no surprise, considering that the Prime Minister himself called small businesses tax havens for the rich. Canadians know that this is simply not true. Small business owners devote countless hours to their businesses, with a 51% survival rate over five years. There are some 1.2 million SMEs in Canada with the average worker taking home just $750 a week before taxes, which is $100 lower than the average of $850.
    The government has to do better for small businesses because small businesses are the backbone of the Canadian economy. Small businesses are indeed a key to a thriving Canadian economy because they make up 98% of all Canadian companies and employ 70% of the private sector labour force.
    The Liberal budget did not renew the tax credit for EI premiums paid by small businesses, and over $1 billion in new EI expenditures points only to higher premiums for all employers in the near future.
    Another disappointment was that there was nothing new in the budget that offered support for our agricultural producers such as I have in Haldimand—Norfolk, or indeed anywhere else in Canada, despite the agrifood sector accounting for over $100 billion in economic activity and employing more than two million Canadians. There was no direct commitment to this key part of our economy.
    Conservative MPs have always supported infrastructure, investing more than any federal government in history, to the point that we ranked second among the G7 in 2014. Infrastructure spending needs to be prioritized in a way that creates both short-term and long-term jobs and makes Canada an attractive place for a business to invest.
     Most people envision infrastructure as building roads and bridges. They think of investments that reduce gridlock, thereby making it easier for people to get to work, to get home, and to get their goods to market.
    To the Liberals, infrastructure is divided into three main project pots: transit, green initiatives, and what they refer to as social infrastructure.
     For transit, the budget allocates $3.4 billion over three years, which does nothing to help rural ridings like Haldimand—Norfolk. Their green infrastructure fund accounts for $5 billion over five years, but only $650 million is to be spent this year.
    The Liberals also claim that they will spend $3.4 billion on social infrastructure over the next five years. Now we have to wonder if that will be put off until after the next election too. Also, will it too focus only on the cities?
    If we add it all up, infrastructure spending is far less than what the Liberals promised Canadians in order to get elected. In fact, by 2019, only one-fifth of the promised funding will be available to create jobs.
    It is a fact that roads, highways, ports, and rail infrastructure will get their funding from existing funds that our previous Conservative government already committed under our new building Canada plan.
    The bottom line is that, over the next five years, the Liberal government will borrow billions of dollars with little to show for it. Budget 2016 contains undisciplined spending, has no plan to balance the books, will fail to boost economic growth, and will raise taxes on families, on individuals, and on small businesses, taxes they cannot afford to pay if they are to not only grow but thrive.
    Therefore, that is why the Conservative Party of Canada and I as a member of it cannot support the budget.

  (1155)  

    Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the member for Haldimand—Norfolk especially for her approval of the increases to GIS and the old age security, and also the priorities we put on infrastructure spending. These are also important to the people of St. John's East.
    What I find a little unusual is the member's feelings on the idea of balancing budgets and that the balanced budget scheme the Conservatives passed is something that the current government needs to follow. However, the previous Conservative government added $130 billion of new debt that Canada will have to pay for. Over the past year in the election campaign, the Liberal Party campaigned long and hard on the idea of using deficit spending to finance growth. This is exactly what we have done.
    Therefore, while the member would say the Conservatives are going to balance the budget at all costs, it was a promise they could hardly ever deliver upon, whereas the Liberal government's plan has achieved the confidence of Canadians using deficit spending to finance growth. Why can the member not look to the House and say that deficit spending is something Canadians support and voted for in the previous election, and it is exactly what the government is delivering?

  (1200)  

    Mr. Speaker, the hon. member was not here in the day, but during the worst global recession since the 1930s, our government made a reluctant but responsible decision to invest in the economy, to invest in programs that would create jobs right away, things like the home renovation tax credit.
     That is one of the reasons that our country went into the great recession later and more shallowly and came out stronger and faster than almost any other country in the world. It was necessary under those conditions, but we also made a promise to balance the budget.
    The difference between our government and the Liberal government is that we kept our promise. The Liberals, in the election, promised a deficit, but they have far exceeded everyone's expectations by multiple factors. As well, they have no plan and have made no promise to balance the budget.
     In fact, that is why they are throwing out the balanced budget legislation, so they do not ever have to balance it. That is not a responsible course. No family can survive that way, no business can survive that way, and no country is going to be healthier that way.
    Mr. Speaker, I was astounded to find out that, with the $113 billion deficit the government is going to create, the Bank of Canada will charge us about $10 billion of interest every year, ongoing. That is on top of the almost $2 billion from this non-tax neutral middle-class income tax cut.
    It makes it increasingly difficult for the government to ever balance the budget and work its way out. That is $12 billion before it starts doing anything else. At the end of the day, if I read the numbers right, it is only going to reduce unemployment by 0.3%.
    I am extremely concerned. In my riding of Sarnia—Lambton, we have a project for an oversize load corridor. For $12 million of infrastructure investment, we could create 3,000 jobs. However, it was totally ignored in the budget.
    I wonder if the member could comment on the deficit and how it is really going to help.
    Mr. Speaker, there is no question that paying interest on burgeoning debt loads does not create jobs, certainly not in the private sector and not in the Canadian economy.
    That is where the Liberal budget fails. The Liberals think that by borrowing more money they can create jobs, and yet their infrastructure investments are all slated to be pushed off, with a very small fraction of them happening this year, when they say it is needed. The Liberals are planning to spend it later, in fact most of it after the next election. That is not going to create jobs.
    Meanwhile, they are burdening Canadian taxpayers with extra debt, which means taxes will have to go up. That $12 billion that my colleague cited is money that is not going into job creation programs nor is it going into things like health care, transfers to the provinces, or social programs that would help look after Canadians, when it should.
    Mr. Speaker, I will be brief.
    The Conservatives brought the HST to British Columbia and Ontario, and they borrowed $2 billion for British Columbia and they borrowed $4 billion for Ontario. An independent study analysis showed that if they balanced the budget right away, the interest to pay that off was actually going to be between $8 billion and $10 billion.
    How does the member justify borrowing money from Canadians to bring in a new tax on them and having to pay interest for that in perpetuity?
    Mr. Speaker, the member should know that, when the HST was introduced in those provinces, it was at the request of those provinces. We did not impose it upon them; it was not our choice. We worked with the provinces to do this.
    My real fear when it comes to the GST is that the Liberals, somewhere along the way over the next four years, probably sooner rather than later, are going to feel compelled to raise the GST. That is a tax on everyone. There are very few ways that the Liberals can raise as much money as would pay for these programs and pay for that $12 billion a year in extra debt, just the interest on it, without doing that.
    Canadians deserve better than that, because w know, we believe, and we have seen evidence that, if Canadians have more money in their pockets, they will save it, they will invest it, and they will invest in their children's education and in projects that stimulate the local economy, which stimulates the national economy, and the whole country is better off for it.

  (1205)  

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, I will be sharing my time with the hon. member for York South—Weston.
    First, I would like to point out how honoured I am to be able to talk about the historic budget tabled by the government on March 22. I am proud that this budget reflects the hopes and expectations not just of the people in my riding of Vaudreuil—Soulanges, but of many Canadians across the country.
    When I was elected to represent Vaudreuil—Soulanges, I promised to help seniors, because they played a part in building our great nation. I promised to help the middle class because theirs is the typical Canadian success story. Finally, I promised to help all families who are working hard to become part of the middle class.
    As the Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister for Youth, and especially as a father, I made a commitment to our youth because they are our future and our legacy. They represent our hopes for the country.
    In Vaudreuil—Soulanges, too many seniors need help. Even though they worked hard all their lives to contribute to the success of our country by building our cities and communities brick by brick, business by business, many of them cannot live with dignity and are not proud of their current standard of living.
    Given the contributions they have made to Canada's prosperity, we recognized in the budget that we must guarantee that seniors no longer need to lie awake at night worrying about whether their retirement plan is viable.

[English]

    I am proud of the fact that we are responding to the needs of our seniors in numerous ways. First, as promised during the election campaign, we would increase the guaranteed income supplement of our most vulnerable seniors by 10%, ensuring that those who worry for their future may no longer have to do so. However, we did not stop there. We realize that increasing income every two, four, or even six years may not always be adequate, as staples for seniors, such as medications, certain foods, and other expenses including transportation are subject to rising costs and fluctuations in the global market. This poses an unnecessary risk to the security of our seniors.
    Our government is committed to ensuring that old age security and guaranteed income supplement benefits keep pace with the actual cost of living faced by seniors. The government is therefore looking at how a new seniors price index that reflects the cost of living faced by seniors could be developed. If deemed viable, this idea could ensure that, when seniors receive their monthly support, they would no longer have to ask if it will be enough.
    We have also kept our promise to ensure that income splitting for seniors is kept in place. We recognize this as a valuable financial tool for countless seniors across our country. Further, this budget would significantly increase investment for social and affordable housing as part of the new infrastructure investment strategy. After Canada's seniors built this country, I believe this budget recognizes that they are owed a life of dignity and a life they deserve.
     All of these investments would benefit the seniors all across Canada as well as in my riding, and so I am proud to support them in this budget.

[Translation]

    In Vaudreuil—Soulanges, from Île-Perrot to Rigaud, and from Vaudreuil to Saint-Lazare and Hudson, I see small business owners, teachers from many schools in the region, firefighters, aerospace workers, public servants, and particularly parents, who are working harder than ever to build a good life for themselves and their children.
    They are our country's middle class. However, many of them worry that they will never manage to make ends meet. I am therefore proud that we have taken the first steps toward changing that.
    Just 35 days after we took office, we lowered taxes for nine million Canadians. Along with that, there is the new and more progressive Canada child tax benefit, which will put more money in the pockets of nine out of 10 Canadian families.
    According to the parliamentary budget officer, this measure will lift 300,000 young people out of poverty. One in five Canadian children lives in poverty. That is unacceptable, and I am proud that we are taking action.
    In my riding alone, hundreds of children go to school in the morning on an empty stomach.

  (1210)  

    Some needs are being met thanks to the extraordinary work of community organizations, but these organizations cannot do it alone. They need a government ally, and this budget ensures they have found one. We have helped the middle class and those working hard to join it. We are giving Canadians the financial security they need to raise their families, help grow our economy, and build their lives.
    Although Canadian parents are working harder than ever these days, government assistance no longer takes into account the needs of our young people. It is becoming more and more difficult for them to find work. Today, I can finally confirm with pride that our government is going to help young people to find their path.
    We are increasing Canada student grant amounts for low-income students. This investment will give thousands of students access to the classrooms of our best universities and colleges and help them build a real future for themselves.
    Furthermore, in order to lessen the impact of student debt, we will ensure that recent graduates will not have to repay their loan until they are earning at least $25,000 per year. To give our young people the professional experience they need to break into the job market, we are investing more than $300 million in the Canada summer jobs program. This will create an additional 35,000 summer jobs for young people, every year, for the next three years.
    Although these investments show a clear commitment to our young people, they also show that we are committed to all Canadians. All young people have a chance to succeed, and their success will strengthen the new middle class; this will in turn help our seniors and make Canada stronger for everyone.

[English]

    Our budget also considers the Canada we are going to leave behind. With new and historic investments in infrastructure and in Canada's environment, this budget shows the commitment that this government has to the literal foundations of our country and to our long-term prosperity. Our infrastructure investment strategy will serve to work with provinces and local communities to build and develop new projects where they are needed most.
    In my riding, one of the main concerns raised with me is that our current public transportation infrastructure is insufficient to keep up with the fast growing pace of our community. This echoes the concerns of far too many Canadians in communities across the country. Through consultation and input from people who are affected by our decisions in Ottawa, federal funding will be less of a roadblock to action in increasing our collective potential for growth, development, and long-term success. Through unprecedented investment in infrastructure, including public transportation, much-needed and overdue projects that will improve the lives of Canadians will finally be realized.
    Finally, I would like to speak to what the budget would do to ensure a cleaner, healthier environment and to protect the rightful legacy of future generations.
    As part of our plan to modernize the way we go to work and move around our communities while also reducing emissions, we have announced $3.4 billion over the next three years in public transit.
    To ensure that we are building the communities of tomorrow that are smarter, more efficient, and more sustainable, we are investing $5 billion over the next five years in green infrastructure, including investments in water infrastructure and electric vehicle charging stations.
    Further, my constituents have worried for years about the potential hazards posed by oil being transported through their neighbourhoods and backyards without a well-funded, thorough, and transparent environmental impact assessment process in place. Modernizing the National Energy Board and following through on our pledge to strengthen and reform the environmental assessment process with an investment of $30 million is something that is strongly supported by my constituents.
    Budget 2016 is also about investing in new technologies that will take key steps toward our country playing a leading role in efficient and clean innovation. With our investment of $400 million over two years, we will create strong Canadian green tech companies and create good paying jobs for Canadians.

  (1215)  

[Translation]

    I took this opportunity to rise in the House and speak to the budget, on behalf of the people of Vaudreuil—Soulanges. With this budget, this government has expressed loud and clear that Canada's greatest asset is, without a doubt, its people: our seniors, our young people, our middle class, and those who are working hard to join the middle class. By investing in them, in our communities, and in our future, we are ensuring that our country will flourish.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, the government is throwing around words, saying that it has followed through with its promises. What we see is a string of broken promises. It misled Canadians during its campaign by saying that it had a plan.
     The Liberals like to point out the promises they think they have followed through on, but going through their budget, some key areas are missing, some of the things that resonate for Canadians from coast to coast to coast. One is that the government campaigned on a promise to invest $3 billion over the next four years to deliver more and better home care services for all Canadians, palliative care for all Canadians who are facing terminal illnesses and challenges within their end of days and, indeed, some of our seniors.
    Is this something that was merely overlooked, or is this not important for the government?
    Mr. Speaker, when we looked at the budget, we considered how we could help the most vulnerable seniors living across the country. We felt strongly about ensuring that money was in the budget to invest in social housing for those seniors who needed it most.
    Over a quarter of a million Canadians took part in our budget consultations across the country. They made their priorities very clear to us and we incorporated those priorities into this budget.
    We are very confident with this budget, and we are doing right by our seniors.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, my colleague, who represents the riding next to mine, and whose path crosses mine from time to time, said that the Liberal budget included a lot of investments for seniors.
    However, in the budget that was tabled, there is next to nothing for home care. The Liberals announced that they would spend $3 billion to help seniors, but that is not reflected in the budget. There is nothing about federal transfers either, which is what would help the aging population in Vaudreuil—Soulanges, Salaberry—Suroît, and across Canada.
    However, it looks like there will be $36 billion less in our health system, which means that it will be harder for seniors and everyone else to access the health care system.
     I am the NDP youth critic, and all of the youth groups that come to see me want to talk about unpaid internships. There are 150,000 to 300,000 unpaid internships across Canada, which means that unpaid internships will affect this generation more than any other. These are good jobs that young people cannot really benefit from because they are unpaid. The Liberals are not tackling this problem either.
    I would like to hear my colleague's thoughts on that.
    Mr. Speaker, I thank my hon. colleague from Salaberry—Suroît.
    To answer her question regarding what we are doing, we are investing in the future of our young people to help them find jobs. We want to invest so that young people who are struggling to go to school because of their financial needs or because they have no money can actually go to school. We are increasing the student grants available to young people so that they can attend college or university and find a job in order to fulfill their dreams.
    We also invested an extra $300 million to double the number of positions available through the Canada summer jobs program, in order to ensure that young people can find work and avoid being forced into an unpaid position because they cannot find a paying job.
    We are investing in our young people. That is precisely what we are doing with this budget.

  (1220)  

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, Canadians have spoken. When a budget is viewed over 70% favourable, that should tell the party opposite something.
    Do cuts lead to prosperity? No, they do not. We have seen what cuts over the past 10 years have done to our country. They have hurt our families and people living in poverty, first nations, veterans.
     Canadians were ready for a budget that delivered for all Canadians. I am particularly proud of the Canada child benefit, which is transformational. What does my colleague think about the Canada child benefit and how will it be transformational for his riding?
    Mr. Speaker, the Canada child benefit will be transformational in what it will do for young people and their future in our country.
    My hon. colleague asked me what it would do for young people. I stand here today as the son of a single mom who raised my brother and I on a secretary's salary for 24 years. The reason I am here today is because our social system, the Government of Canada, the governments of various provinces across the country, gives young people with little or no hope, the ones who are at the bottom, who dream of better things, that foundation from which to grow their lives. I used that to go to university, get an education and find a good job. I am now sitting in this chair, coming from where I came.
    That is the kind of future I hope for every single young Canadian who is thinking about a better life, and every parent who is hoping for a better life. They will benefit from this program.
    Mr. Speaker, I want to begin by thanking the people of York—South Weston for the trust and support they have shown me. I intend to honour that trust with hard work and a commitment to be the voice of the community in Ottawa and the champion for all the issues that matter to them.
    I also want to thank my family, my campaign team, and supporters for all their hard work and support, as well as their belief in my vision of bringing a new generation of leadership to York—South Weston. I remain deeply grateful to all of them.
    Our government recently tabled the federal budget 2016, restoring hope for the middle class. The budget puts people first. People in communities such as York—South Weston will benefit from our government's investments to boost the economy and create jobs. By carrying out these investments, the budget will deliver the help Canadians need right now. It is also about our government's sustained and strategic effort to restore optimism and prosperity to our country. Our government believes that we must do more to help Canadians prosper.
    I am proud of the fact that we have cut taxes for the middle class. Since January 1, 2016, roughly nine million Canadians have seen more money in their pockets. In addition to this, our government has introduced the new Canada child benefit, a plan to help families and lift hundreds of thousands of children out of poverty. For example, a single mother earning $30,000 a year with one child under the age of six will receive an annual benefit of $6,400 tax-free. A family earning $90,000 with two children will receive $5,650, an increase of $2,500 from the current system. The Canada child benefit will be simpler, tax-free, better targeted to those who need it the most, and much more generous.
    Budget 2016 has a big role for infrastructure. Our plan to invest in new roads and bridges will help Canadians move goods and services faster. Investing in waste-water treatment plants, sewers, and water mains ensures the safety and integrity of our water system. Our plan to invest in social housing will ensure that Canadians have access to affordable homes. Our record investment in mass transit will ensure that there is much less congestion in communities like York—South Weston, and will allow Canadians to spend less time commuting to school or work.
    Budget 2016 includes a historic plan to invest more than $120 billion in infrastructure over the next 10 years. Phase one of the plan includes $3.4 billion over three years for a public transit infrastructure fund, and $5 billion over five years to invest in water, waste-water, and green infrastructure projects across Canada. Phase two of our plan will deliver on the remaining eight years of the government's long-term infrastructure plan to invest more than $120 billion over 10 years in transit, green, and social infrastructure.
    In addition to this new funding announced in 2016, our government will continue to make available approximately $3 billion each year in dedicated funding for municipal governments and infrastructure projects through the gas tax fund and the incremental goods and services tax rebate for municipalities.
    Budget 2016 is also about stronger communities. My government will make significant investments totalling $1.5 billion over two years in order to create access to safe, adequate, and affordable housing, including shelters for victims of violence. My government will also support the construction of up to 4,000 new affordable housing rental units through an investment of $208.3 million over five years. The government will also provide up to $500 million in loans each year for five years.
    Finally, for stronger communities, our government will support the establishment of a national framework on early learning and child care through a proposed initial investment of $500 million in 2017-18, recognizing the deep connection between child care and the economic security of families.

  (1225)  

    When it comes to young people, as I continue my work in York South—Weston, I have been approached by many young people who are worried about access to jobs and the affordability of post-secondary education. I am proud to say that our government has listened to these concerns by raising the Canada student grant by 50%, from $2,000 to $3,000 per year for students from low-income families, and from $800 to $1,200 per year for students from middle-income families. These measures will provide assistance of $1.53 billion over five years, starting this year. To help these students gain valuable work experience, we will create up to 35,000 additional jobs for young Canadians in each of the next three years under the Canada summer jobs program.
    Young people will have access to a regime of expanded eligibility for Canada student grants to help even more students receive non-repayable assistance through an investment of $790 million over four years starting in 2017-18. We will increase the loan repayment threshold under the current Canada student loans program's repayment assistance plan to ensure that no students will have to repay their Canada student loans until they are earning at least $25,000 per year. This measure will provide assistance of $131.4 million over five years starting this year.
    In addition to this, budget 2016 is about creating employment opportunities for youth through an investment of an additional $165.4 million this year for the youth employment strategy. Budget 2016 also helps young Canadians to gain valuable work and life experience through an investment of $105 million over five years to support youth services.
    I am proud to say that our budget includes support for new co-op placements and work-integrated learning opportunities for young Canadians through an investment of $73 million over four years starting in 2016-17 for the post-secondary industry partnership and co-operative placement initiative.
    Seniors in communities such as York South—Weston have been concerned about their living costs. To address this, I am proud to say that our government will increase the guaranteed income supplement top-up benefit for single seniors to help lift low-income seniors out of poverty. The government will also provide support for low-income seniors by introducing legislative changes so that couples who receive GIS and allowance benefits and have to live apart for reasons beyond their control will receive higher benefits based on their individual incomes.
    In conclusion, I know that the people of York South—Weston will benefit greatly from our government's budget 2016, which contains investments to help Canadians now by boosting the economy and creating jobs, as well as making the necessary long-term investments to ensure prosperity for all. Our middle-class tax cut has already ensured that roughly nine million people have already seen more money in their pockets. Our Canada child benefit will mean that nine out of ten families will get more help than they do under existing programs. Our infrastructure plan will invest in new roads and bridges to enable Canadians to move goods and services faster. Our record investment in mass transit will ensure that there is much less congestion in communities like York South—Weston. We will help students and seniors and we will ensure that Canadians can prosper today and tomorrow.

  (1230)  

    Mr. Speaker, many members have spoken already, and on that side of the House they have focused on the spending side of things, how much they are spending and what they are spending on. It is easy because they are spending so much they can pick and choose what they would like to talk about.
     However, I want to talk about fiscal anchors and how important they are to public budgeting. On page 53 of the budget, it says, “Repealing the Federal Balanced Budget Act”. In fact, the government does not talk about amending it. The Liberals are going full out and eliminating any fiscal anchors that we used to have.
    Fiscal anchors ensure that when budgeting, the government is going to return to a balanced budget some day to pay off that debt and it is planning for it. In this budget document, there is no such section and the government does not talk about it at all. All the Liberals really talk about is how much they are spending.
     I would like the member to comment on that. Does his government have a plan to reduce the deficit to zero and start paying down the national debt, and if so, when?
    Mr. Speaker, I would like to begin by saying that our government understands one key point: Canadians need help now. Canadians need their government to step forward and assist them, and that is what we have done. We have listened to Canadians and we have put together a plan that makes the necessary investments for prosperity today and tomorrow. We are investing in infrastructure and innovation, making sure that families have more money in their pockets and students have better access to post-secondary education, making the necessary long-term investments in the environment and moving toward clean technologies. These are necessary things to do, and they are what Canadians have asked our government to do.
    Mr. Speaker, what really shocked me in the budget was the lack of mention of the importance of health care, particularly the issue of palliative care. The current Prime Minister stood in the House and voted for a national palliative care strategy, and then did not deliver.
    We are on the eve of the Liberal government bringing in right-to-die legislation so that people will be able to terminate their lives in any jurisdiction in the country, but they will not have access to quality palliative care. That is an oversight and a lack of willingness to ensure that the most vulnerable in society are given the support they need.
    I want to ask my colleague why the government has not followed through on the call from Parliament to work with the provinces and territories to establish a proper palliative care strategy and to ensure that people who require health care in the federal system, such as veterans, the military, prisoners, and particularly indigenous people, have access to quality palliative care. There are zero dollars for that. How can the Liberals justify overlooking that important issue for Canadians?
    Mr. Speaker, I would like to respond by stating that our government intends to take the lead on health care and exercise the traditional role of the federal government to provide that leadership. We are committed to having discussions with provincial and territorial governments on all aspects of health care, which includes palliative care. I am proud to say that this is a government that will move forward on health care and all aspects related to it in conjunction and consultation with the provinces and territories. We will provide the necessary leadership that the federal government traditionally does with respect to health care.

  (1235)  

    Mr. Speaker, I would ask the member to comment on the Canada child benefit program.
    Many in the House are saying that one could almost draw a comparison between this program and what Liberal administrations have done previously with regard to health care services. This is a policy shift which I believe ultimately will lift literally hundreds of thousands of children out of poverty and allow for a better quality of life for them. In the long term, if we continue in the direction we are going, this will, in fact, become a treasured program, something that was initiated in this budget, a commitment to children in every region of this country.
    I wonder if the member would comment on the significance of this particular program and what the Prime Minister and the government have been able to accomplish for children in such a short period of time.
    Mr. Speaker, I am very proud of the Canada child benefit that our government has instituted. It really simplifies life for families.
    First, it is one benefit as opposed to three, so families will receive one payment every month. Second, it is tax-free, which means there will be more money in the pockets of families. Third, it is better targeted toward those who need it the most. This means that those who are very well off and do not need this benefit will not get cheques in the mail. The savings from that will be better targeted to those who need it the most.
    Finally, the Canada child benefit is much more generous than existing programs. This benefit, in and of itself, will ensure that hundreds of thousands of children will be lifted out of poverty.
    Mr. Speaker, I will be splitting my time with the member for Lac-Saint-Louis.
    I am happy to participate in the debate on budget 2016.
     Our government believes in the importance of scientific knowledge to create a better society. Science plays a central role in a thriving clean economy and in providing evidence for sound policy decisions.

[Translation]

    Support for science is an essential pillar in the Canadian government's strategy to create sustainable economic growth.

[English]

    Science, both fundamental and applied, delivers economic, environmental, health, and social benefits. It creates jobs and opportunities and is at the heart of an innovation economy, but we know science is so much more than that.
    Scientists work for a better tomorrow by making exciting discoveries, from aerospace to astronomy, from biotech to clean tech. I would argue that science matters more than ever before, because the challenges we face, such as climate change and shrinking biodiversity, are ever greater.
    The government is committed to fostering scientific research and supporting the scientists who carry it out. We are committed to ensuring that sound evidence forms the basis of our investment and policy decisions.
     The Prime Minister has asked me to make the creation of a chief science officer position one of my top priorities. This position will be key to ensuring that scientific analyses are considered when government makes decisions, that scientific communication is sustained across government in an effective way, and that the Canadian public has access to the science behind our decisions.
    Consultations are now finished with chief science advisers in other countries, the broader scientific community, and all parliamentarians to seek input on what shape this position should take.

  (1240)  

[Translation]

    We will take the time we need to make sure that we put the appropriate mechanisms in place to do this right.

[English]

    As Minister of Science, I work diligently to support science promotion and activities to inspire the next generation of leading Canadian researchers while ensuring young Canadians have the science, technology, engineering, and math skills required for rewarding careers in the modern Canadian economy.
    I will now turn to budget 2016.
    I will start by underlining that this budget is very different from those of the previous decade. The government has defined a new vision in 2016: to build Canada as a centre of global innovation renowned for its science, technology, creative and entrepreneurial citizens, and globally competitive companies offering high-quality products and services. Through 2016 and 2017, the government will define a bold new plan, its innovation agenda, to achieve the vision of Canada as a centre of global innovation.
    To become the innovation leaders of tomorrow, we must equip Canadians today with the skills they will need to succeed. Post-secondary and other research institutions are front-line agents in fostering science and research excellence. To ensure these facilities continue to develop highly skilled workers, scientists, and researchers and support the growth of innovative firms, budget 2016 will invest up to $2 billion over three years in a new post-secondary institutions strategic investment fund.
    Work is already under way, in consultation with partners, to begin projects quickly. Not only must we invest in spaces that enhance our innovative potential, but we must also invest in Canadian researchers themselves, particularly those on the cusp of new discoveries.
    In Canada, this funding typically flows through the three federal granting councils. This year we will provide an additional $95 million for these councils to support discovery research, the highest amount of new annual funding for this purpose in over a decade, and to make sure that federal support for research, including through the granting councils, is strategic and effective, we will undertake a comprehensive review of federal support for fundamental science.

[Translation]

    We also want to ensure that we make the most of all the new areas of research in which Canada could excel.

[English]

    For example, we will provide $237 million to support the pan-Canadian activities of Genome Canada, $50 million to support the world-class Perimeter Institute, and up to $12 million for the stem cell network.
    We will also support the Canadian agriculture and agri-food sector. A century of farmers and ranchers have together helped feed the nation and today help feed the world. My colleague, the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, will deliver on this commitment through investments of $30 million to support advanced research in agricultural genomics in priority areas, including on climate change, and the identification and prevention of biological threats to agriculture.
    As a former scientist, I am aware of the risks posed to the health and well-being of Canadians and people around the world by a rapidly changing climate. In the interests of preserving our natural environment, I am pleased to be working with my colleagues in the review and reform of Canada's environmental assessment process to ensure that these decisions are based on science, facts, and evidence. Budget 2016 commits $16.5 million over three years to implementing an interim approach to a federal environmental assessment for major projects until a broader review can be undertaken.
    Further to our goal of better understanding the impacts of climate change and improving our capacity to adapt to these changes, I have been mandated to work with the Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard to examine the implications of climate change on Arctic marine ecosystems. Budget 2016 provides $19 million to gather existing research and traditional knowledge of the Arctic environment and conduct new research where gaps in knowledge exist.
    In order to lay the foundation for new technologies and approaches that will help Canada become a low-carbon economy, budget 2016 provides $20 million to create two additional Canada excellence research chairs in fields related to clean and sustainable technology.
    We aim to foster the emergence of a strong culture of science and innovation in Canada, one that recognizes the key role of scientific evidence in the important decisions our government makes. The measures proposed in budget 2016 will enable Canada to build upon its science and technology strengths in genomics, stem cells, brain research, and physics to support discoveries that will help to fuel economic growth and position Canada to succeed in the knowledge-based global economy.
    The announced funding will flow as quickly as possible in order to reach our post-secondary institutions, researchers, and innovators.
    To close, I would like to say that this is an exciting time for science and research in Canada. We are returning science to its rightful place, a place where science and scientists are respected and scientific evidence and advice are given the careful consideration they deserve.

  (1245)  

    Mr. Speaker, I would like to congratulate the minister on her speech and on the collaborative way in which we work together on the science file so far.
    I applaud the maintaining of the funding for applied research from the granting councils, which our government put in place, and the conversion of the knowledge infrastructure fund to support post-secondary infrastructure with a view to increasing innovation and increasing jobs and I agree that we need to get better as Canadians at commercializing our innovations to create jobs, so I wonder if the minister can explain how the $100 million announced for commercialization will be used.
    Mr. Speaker, it has been a pleasure to work with my hon. colleague.
    This is really about building an innovation agenda. We will see increased support for incubators, accelerators, the emerging national network of business innovation and cluster programs, and the industrial research assistance program, IRAP. It will be $100 million in the future. There was an $800 million investment announced in budget 2016.
    I look forward to maintaining this close working relationship. This is about working with all sides of the House and building a stronger science and innovation culture in Canada.
    Mr. Speaker, I am curious with regard to the value of supporting research science and our research chairs and our universities when at the same time the government is cancelling a program called Auto21, which worked with the University of Windsor to provide excellent input and value-added contributions of up to $1 billion in the auto industry and had over a decade of significant contributions for the environment, our ecosystem, and our manufacturing sector.
     It is also providing a facility that is, right now, structured to provide students with the greatest opportunity in everything from greenhouse gas emissions to safety for baby seats in cars. It was a few million dollars for this program, which has contributed over $1 billion in value-added resources and contributions. Why would the minister cancel this program?

  (1250)  

    Mr. Speaker, I will begin by saying that it was a pleasure to teach at the University of Windsor for seven years. I loved teaching at that university. I taught climate change, meteorology, and environment. These are very important issues to me.
    I will talk a bit about some of the investments we have made in clean tech.
    As I said, there will be two research chairs coming forward in clean and sustainable technology. Some of the other investments made in the budget are $379 million for the Canadian Space Agency, $237 million for Genome Canada, $95 million for the granting councils, and $50 million for the Perimeter Institute, one of the top three theoretical physics institutes in the world. We have made significant investments in universities, colleges, and polytechnics.
    I will remind all members of the House that there is a strategic infrastructure program, and they should let their institutions know that the due date is May 9.
    Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. minister for her intervention and for all the work that her department is doing on behalf of science for Canada.
    As chair of the post-secondary education and innovation caucus, I am very encouraged to see the renewed focus on science and research in this budget. I wonder whether the hon. minister could comment on how these investments might contribute to Canadian scientists attending international conferences, publishing their work, sharing their work among their peers, and regaining a position that Canada had for many years up until recently.
    Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my hon. colleague for co-chairing this important caucus.
    This investment, particularly in the three federal granting councils, is unfettered money. Under the previous administration, we often saw that the money was tied, but this type of investment is going to allow our researchers to build bigger teams, to take on new projects, and to publish, which is so important.
    I will finish by talking about the strategic infrastructure fund. This is available for the universities, colleges, and polytechnics in our ridings. The due date is May 9, and we hope the members will share this good information with the institutions in their ridings, because $2 billion is available.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, the budget is a document that is both nuanced and comprehensive. It implements many election promises that, taken together, constitute the economic vision that the Liberal Party laid out during the election campaign and that earned the confidence of Canadians on October 19.
    In fact, the budget plays a dual role. It focuses on the immediate needs of today's economy, as well as the challenges that we must address in the longer term if we want to make a better future for our children and our grandchildren.
    The budget addresses the needs of our times, this economic period where growth has been slow for far too long. It addresses the increasingly pressing need to lay the foundation to increase the longer-term productivity of our Canadian industries. Without that, we will not really be able to support and encourage the strong growth we need in the coming years to create the necessary tax revenue for funding the social programs that are so dear to us and are often at the very heart of our Canadian identity.
    In addition to the temporal aspect of the budget, there is the fact that it is multifaceted because of an insightful and wise acknowledgement that the economy is complex and composed of diverse and related elements and that we must act on different fronts simultaneously to create the growth that will allow each and every one of us to prosper with dignity and to have a good quality of life.
    The budget recognizes, for example, that we must look after the economy and the environment at the same time. We have to ensure that our businesses are healthy and also protect the well-being of our children. We need major infrastructure, such as efficient public transit networks, but also meeting places where people can get together for socialization and recreation and to talk to, support, and help one another.
    We have to innovate with new technologies and products brought to market, but we must also provide our university researchers with the means to explore these concepts that are sometimes still in the early stages and whose practical application and economic viability are still unknown.
    In short, its comprehensive vision truly makes this a Liberal budget.

  (1255)  

[English]

    There has been much talk about the deficit. No one really wants deficits as a matter of ideology, at least not on this side of the House. In fact, as Liberals, we have been in the past elected to wrestle deficits to the ground.
    However, there is a time when deficits are helpful on a short-term basis to stabilize the economy, build the confidence of consumers, businesses and investors and sow the seeds of future growth, and Canadians have determined that this time is now.
    The need to invest in Canada's future, even at the cost of modest deficits, was not only endorsed by Canadians in the last election. The idea is reverberating in other developed nations as they come to realize that monetary policy has come up against its limitations, and cannot by itself move the economy out of its current doldrums.
    No lesser a Canadian business leader than Michael Sabia, hardly a promoter of socialist economic fantasies, has said that it is time “to focus on the real economy”, as opposed to the monetary economy only.
    Bank of Canada Governor Stephen Poloz has recently said that he is putting off further monetary easing, namely through further interest rate cuts, until he evaluates the extent of the fiscal stimulus coming from the federal government.
    David Watt, chief economist at HSBC Canada, as per an article in The Globe and Mail of March 12, said:
    What we need is more of a change in perception of where we want the economy to go and set the stage for not just government, but for the private sector to start creating jobs...The private sector doesn’t have confidence to start adding jobs and that’s what we need.
    What he is saying is that the previous government after 10 years did not create that confidence.
    This budget, both subtle in design and forward-looking and comprehensive in scope, will achieve dual results. It will create jobs in the short term by investing in projects to renew Canada's social, green, and public transit infrastructures and it will also spur confidence in the future by acting today to create the conditions needed to support growth in the years ahead.
    According to The Economist in its February 20 issue:
    The good news is that...Plenty of policies are left, and all can pack a punch. The bad news is that central banks will need help from governments. Until now, central bankers have had to do the heavy lifting because politicians have been...reluctant to share the burden. At least some of them have failed to grasp the need to have fiscal and monetary policy operating in concert. Indeed, many governments actively worked against monetary stimulus by embracing austerity.
    I would add that the previous government was repeatedly criticized specifically for pursuing an inherently self-contradictory economic policy.
    The Economist goes on to say:
    Bond markets and rating agencies will look more kindly on the increase in public debt if there are fresh and productive assets on the other side of the balance sheet. Above all, such assets should involve infrastructure...
    In line with this prediction by one of the world's most reputable publications read by leaders and finance ministers around the world, on March 30 The Globe and Mail ran the following heading, “Investors, rating agencies see Liberal deficit plan as manageable”.
    The Conservatives believe in markets and market signals. They sometimes even elevate markets to the status of religion and attribute magical powers to markets to solve a whole range of problems that are not necessarily economic in nature.
    The financial markets are speaking to the Conservatives right now. Moody's Investors Service's vice-president Steven Hess has said that the deficit is not large as a share of the economy and that the federal debt-to-GDP ratio is low by international standards.
    David Madani of Capital Economics has said, “the market’s 'shrug' is hardly a surprise because the risk that the budget’s projected deficits would trigger a surge in Ottawa’s borrowing costs 'is practically zero'.”
     To the foregoing I would reference another headline in The Globe and Mail, on March 3, “Big banks urge Ottawa to spend $20-billion in rapid stimulus”.
    This is a finely designed budget that focuses on real problems. That is what Canadians wanted and that is what Canadians were expecting.
    One of my policy interests is water. I am proud to say that for the first time in as long as I can remember in this House a budget is giving a specific priority to water namely, water filtration and waste water infrastructure. As announced in the budget, there will be $5 billion for green infrastructure of which a large amount will be for water and waste water infrastructure.
    Water is becoming a greater priority for Canadians not only because of the impact of climate change on water supplies, but because Canadians are becoming more concerned with the quality of the water in their ecosystem. We have seen this repeatedly with a number of issues. This budget takes a step in the right direction in making water a priority of public policy at the federal level.
    The budget is a step in the right direction. There will be more to come in the years to come throughout this mandate. This Liberal government acted quickly to implement a good number of the promises that were discussed in the election campaign and that Canadians resoundingly supported.

  (1300)  

    Mr. Speaker, the member mentioned The Globe and Mail, so I am happy to bring up an editorial of March 22 in which the editorial board said, “It’s not building roads or bridges or public transit. It’s ongoing program spending, locked-in and permanent....it’s mostly about writing cheques to seniors, parents, aboriginal Canadians, the unemployed and provincial governments”, which will inevitably lead to higher debt.
    In fact, the government, on page 242 annex 1 of the budget, says, “Public debt charges are projected to increase from $25.7 billion in 2015-16 to $35.5 billion in 2020-21...”. It also says that this reflects an increase in borrowing requirements due to a projected rise in interest rates over the forecast horizon.
     The government is even admitting that it is expecting interest rates to go up. It is expecting the cost of borrowing to go up. In fact, according to its budget documents, probably the fourth-highest spending element on the program side will be debt financing.
    What does the member have to say to this, that his government is basically increasing our national debt with absolutely no plan to pay it down?
    Mr. Speaker, first, when we run a deficit, we increase debt. This is a truism. There is nothing surprising in that. However, it is important to look at certain important ratios, like the projected ratio of the deficit to GDP. If we look at 2015-16, it will be under 1%. If we look at 2016-17, it will be under 2%. Then by 2019-20, it will be under 1% again.
    I would like the hon. member to look at the period in history that saw Conservative governments in power in Ottawa. In 1984-85, the budget deficit, as a percentage of GDP, was 8%; then 7%; then 6%. If we look at the most recent Conservative government, the deficit as a proportion of GDP was higher than we are expecting for the next few years.
    I think the figures speak for themselves. Yes, when we have a deficit, we have to borrow. However, long-term interest rates are dropping, and that is a good sign for future interest payments.

  (1305)  

    Mr. Speaker, I will let the Liberals and the Conservatives decide who outspent each other and put us into more deficit and debt. However, the member made some interesting comments. One of them was that the central banks had done the heavy lifting, which is certainly not the case in the United States. In Canada, I remember the days of John Manley, then finance minister, when he tried to bring us toward Americanization of our banks and the New Democrats advocated to keep our banks from doing that. It was a very lonely battle at that.
    However, I want to specifically deal with the member's comments with regard to water treatment facilities and improving our fresh water drinking supply, and I commend him for that.
     Yesterday I asked a question in the House of Commons which was very germane to this issue. I mentioned that 40 million water drinkers and the ecosystem were at risk because the Liberal government was considering allowing nuclear waste to be stored for up to 100,000 years within less than a kilometre of the Great Lakes. This is opposed by a number of different Democrats and Republicans in the Congress and also in the Senate where they have legislation against this. We also have a letter from our then foreign affairs minister, Mr. Joe Clark, who was an excellent Canadian contributor to all political respects. He opposed the U.S. doing this and it agreed with those terms.
    Does the member support putting nuclear waste within a kilometre if the Great Lakes system when there have only been tests done three times in history, with the most recent resulting in a fire and spewing radiation?
    Mr. Speaker, the question is not really about the budget, but I appreciate the hon. member's interest in water issues as well.
    I have been speaking to people in that community and learning about the issue. I know evaluations and studies have been done. I also know that the Minister of Environment and Climate Change is looking at the issue. It is a big decision, and I have faith in her ability to do the right thing.
    Mr. Speaker, I will be sharing my time with the hon. member for Beauport—Côte-de-Beaupré—Île d'Orléans—Charlevoix.
    I rise in the House today to speak to the Liberal government's proposed budget or, as I like to call it, the government's line of credit plan, which aims to withdraw a whopping $113 billion, using the future of hard-working Canadians as collateral.
    Members probably realize that I am no big fan of the budget. I would like to take a few minutes to explain in detail the various problems in budget 2016, which is mislabelled as “Growing the Middle Class”.
    For starters, it is clear the budget does not grow the middle class; it only grows the debt of the middle class. Why is that? It is because the budget is the Liberal's plan to run a projected $29.4 billion deficit this year alone. That is right, nearly $30 billion. That is $20 billion more than the Liberal's campaign promise of running, in the wise words of a certain hon. member of the House, “a teeny-tiny little deficit of $10 billion”.
    The budget contains undisciplined spending, has no plan to balance the books, will fail to boost economic growth, and will raise taxes on families, individuals, and corporations. The Conservative Party of Canada does not stand for this, and neither do I.
    The bottom line is that over the next five years, Canada will borrow $113 billion, with little to show for it except a raging debt hangover. That is $4,300 for every taxpaying Canadian. The only good thing about having so many Liberals on that side of the floor is that they will be on the hook for a larger percentage of this than our side.
    The government is quickly becoming known as one that has misled Canadians on many election promises. These are promises that it obviously had no intention of keeping. It is not just the modest $10-billion deficit promise that the Liberal government has broken with the budget. It has broken its promise to return to a balanced budget within a term, and it has broken the promise to reduce the debt-to-GDP ratio to below current levels in this term.
    The Liberal government is selling the new budget as a plan to boost and grow the economy. Unfortunately, budget 2016 has zero plans to make this sales pitch a reality. I would like to point to the most infamous part of the budget, something that the Prime Minister himself tried to sell during the previous election: infrastructure.
    The budget allocates $11.9 billion towards what the government calls infrastructure. Unfortunately, only a small minority, $3.4 billion, over 3 years no less, is allocated to improving transit systems across Canada, the hallmark infrastructure investment that the government promised in the recent election. That is $3.4 billion over three years across the entire country, to build subways, LRT lines, and expand and improve other modes of transportation. What a shame, especially when we consider that much of this funding had already been promised under our previous government. The cost of the proposed 32-kilometre expansion of the Toronto subway system, for example, rings in at $9 billion. Even if the government were to fund only one-third of the cost, not the half that it was promising, it would deplete nearly all of the funds allocated for public transit expansion infrastructure. The rest of the country would see virtually nothing for their transit systems.
    Staying on the topic of infrastructure fairness for Canadians, it disappoints me to see the allocation of infrastructure spending across the country in budget 2016. My home province of Alberta is only set to receive $347 million for public transit expansion over the next two years, which is 10% of the amount of funds available. Yet, Alberta holds 12% of Canada's population, leaving Alberta underfunded 13% on a per capita basis. I shudder to think what would happen if we were not fortunate enough to have the Minister of Infrastructure himself in Alberta.
    Meanwhile, Ontario is set to receive $1.5 billion for public transit expansion. That is 44% of the total funds available, yet it has 38% of the country's population. Quebec is to receive 27% of the funds, yet it holds just 23% of the population.
    This means that Albertans will see significant delays in projects like the Edmonton LRT extension and the Calgary CTrain long-term extension, as federal funding for these projects will fall far short of the needed financing. Clearly, fairness is not of importance to the Liberal government. In fact, I brought up this exact point a couple of weeks ago, right after this very budget was tabled in the House.
    The budget claims to extend employment insurance benefits to areas across the country that are facing economic hardship. However, the problem with the EI extension plan is that the Liberal government is omitting certain areas of the country that are being significantly impacted by an economic downturn. Take, for example, my hometown of Edmonton. It is a well known that the entire province of Alberta is currently facing a severe economic downturn, a slowdown made worse by the government's poisoned attitude towards pipelines.

  (1310)  

    As members know, the energy sector is what drives Alberta's economy and many other industries throughout the province. Construction, mechanics, tourism, housing, and the service industry all rely on the wealth and growth of the energy sector. They are industries that are under stress right now.
    Yet, as the energy sector has largely slowed down, leading to thousands of layoffs in Alberta, the city of Edmonton has been excluded from this government's EI extension plan. Why? It is because the government says that the statistical unemployment rate in Edmonton capital region is too low for the government's standards. However, what the government does not seem to understand is that the Edmonton region employment sector is dominated by government employment, and this artificially lowers the region's unemployment number in comparison to other regions. While it is great to see that the unemployment rate in the Edmonton capital region is lower than the rest of Alberta, it does not mean that there are not thousands of laid-off employees in an area that has been hit hard by the collapse in the energy sector.
    Our own Edmonton Liberal MPs have been missing in action when it comes to speaking up for unemployed people in Edmonton. Tellingly, the Liberal member for Edmonton Centre himself commented that Edmonton was snubbed because it has not felt the same dramatic jump in unemployment as other parts of Canada.
    In April of 2015, unemployment in Edmonton was 5.8%. Today Edmonton's unemployment rate is 6.9%, which is a 19% jump in one year. Yet the Liberal government is waiting for a dramatic increase to happen before assisting laid-off Edmontonians. A 19% increase in unemployment in one year is the cold hard mathematics that the Prime Minister speaks of but does not seem to understand. However, what is not cold hard math is that these are real people who are suffering. They are not mere numbers but real people. I guess the Liberal mantra of “a Canadian is a Canadian is a Canadian” does not apply if one is from Edmonton or has the wrong postal code.
     I wrote to the Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour about this issue, voicing the concerns of our constituents. While I hope the minister will take this into consideration, I also hope that the Minister of Finance and the Prime Minister will take into consideration the grave consequences of the debt of this budget.
    The fact remains that the Liberals are on a spending spree, with absolutely no plan for paying back the tens of billions of borrowed dollars. However, what is clear is that today's debt will have to be paid by tomorrow's taxpayers, which means our children, grandchildren, and their children will have to pay for the spending being proposed in this budget.
    I, as a responsible individual, cannot in good conscience support a budget that does this. I cannot agree to indebting our children. It is unjust, unfair, and simply un-Canadian. We ought to be paving the way forward for the next generation, making life better for them, and not indebting them with billions upon billions of dollars of debt.
    It is for these reasons that I will not be supporting this budget.

  (1315)  

    Mr. Speaker, I thank the member opposite for his passionate speech, but again I need to point out that the party opposite has a twisted view of economics and of the last 10 years.
    This is a party that ran seven straight deficits. This is a party that came forth with a smokescreen surplus in the last year of its mandate by throwing in EI funds, GM stock sale funds, and then the rainy-day fund. Let me be very clear. The rainy-day fund maybe could have been used to help the province of Alberta, but the Conservatives did not.
    Alberta's problems did not happen in the last five or six months; they happened over the last 10 years. Therefore, the party opposite is very responsible for the same economic position that we see today.
    The member talked about mortgaging our future for our children and our grandchildren. Was it not the Conservative's former finance minister who said that Mr. Harper's grandchildren were going to have to pay for the tax-free savings account?
    I would remind the hon. member that the right hon. member for the riding of Calgary Heritage remains a member of this House, and we do not use the proper names of other hon. members.
    The hon. member for Edmonton West.
    Mr. Speaker, it is important to revisit the member's comments.
    If you go back in time, I think you will remember that it was your party that teamed up with the separatist Bloc Québécois and the NDP, and the coalition demanded an immediate $50-billion deficit. This was during the worst economic period since the Great Depression. We are not in a great economic recession. The economy is actually growing now. It is mind-boggling that the member would compare massive irresponsible deficit spending during a time of economic growth with a time of great collapse.
    With regard to your comment about Alberta, I would point out the Conservative's support for the province of Alberta. In the last 10 years of a Conservative government, there was $3.4 billion of infrastructure spending. Let us go back 10 years to the Liberal era. I have to put my reading glasses on because the number is so small. There was $351 million for Alberta. Therefore, do not sit over there and lecture me on supporting my home province.
    I would remind the hon. member to address his comments and responses, all remarks in fact in the House, to the Chair.
    Questions and comments, the hon. member for Regina—Lewvan.

  (1320)  

    Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the member for Edmonton West for his remarks. It has been a pleasure working with him on the government operations committee.
    He is quite right to point to the hard economic times in Edmonton and that his city is very deserving of being included in the budget's extension of employment insurance benefits. Things are even worse in my province of Saskatchewan, which is not benefiting from the progressive policies of Rachel Notley's government. The last labour force survey from Statistics Canada showed that full-time employment in Saskatchewan had fallen by 2.4% over the past year, the largest drop of any province west of Prince Edward Island.
    I wonder if the member for Edmonton West would agree that Regina and southern Saskatchewan also need to be included in the budget's extension of employment insurance benefits.
    Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague from Regina—Lewvan for his question. I hope he enjoyed a wonderful week in Edmonton, my hometown, recently.
    I agree with him that the EI policy needs to be reviewed for Regina as well. The region includes a lot of hard-hit oil areas, and it is disgraceful that the Liberal government is not addressing this issue.
    I will take offence to his comments about our colleague Rachel Notley. I think she is more of a hindrance than a help in Alberta, but I fully agree with my colleague that there needs to be more for Regina and the hard-hit people in that region as well.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, I have the privilege of rising in the House to speak to the budget.
    On March 22, I listened carefully as the Minister of Finance presented this government's budget. The Liberals are using a line of credit without worrying about the limit. This is a far cry from their election promise to borrow a modest sum of $10 billion a year, which was completely ridiculous, in my opinion. That amount was set aside and replaced with an amount of no less than $30 billion for this year alone.
    I am wondering whether Canadians think that a deficit of over $100 billion over four years is a modest deficit.
    What is more, I was not at all surprised to learn that the Liberals had no plan to return to a balanced budget. That term has been deleted from the Liberal dictionary. The Liberals are promising to put our country into debt, but they have not presented any sort of plan or approach for putting an end to this spending spree.
    Since we are debating the budget, I would like to remind the House that government budgets involve spending other people's money. The government members, on the other side of the House, seem to have all too easily forgotten that.
    It seems as though the Minister of Finance closed his eyes, took a shot, and hoped to hit as many targets as possible. This is an unfocused, directionless budget.
    The budget does not have a plan for how and when to return to a balanced budget. However, the government will make up the difference by increasing taxes for families, young people, and businesses.
    This government should take some more time to think about the families in our ridings that are having a hard time making ends meet, paying their mortgages, and paying their grocery and other bills.
    Families are already footing the bill for the Liberals' spending promises through increases in the costs associated with enrolling children in sports, arts programs, and post-secondary studies.
    The Liberals abolished income splitting, the children's fitness tax credit, the children's arts tax credit, and the post-secondary education and textbook tax credits. While the Liberals are busy spending other people's money, it is easy for them to forget that they have access to all of this money as a result of the former Conservative government's policies, not their own.
    We implemented targeted stimulus programs to help create and maintain about 200,000 jobs. We kept our promise to balance the budget, and we left the Liberals a $3.2-billion surplus. We lowered taxes to the lowest rates in 50 years and we put more money back into Canadians' pockets, while at the same time balancing the budget.
    Unfortunately, instead of focusing on lowering taxes for Canadian families, this government is playing politics with family benefits. On top of that, the Liberal government will force the provinces to charge a national carbon tax that will cost Canadian families about $1,000 a year. This government is not helping to grow the middle class, and Canadian families will once again pay the price.
    I also noticed that this reckless budget plan will only make government bigger and will do nothing to create jobs. There is nothing to help unemployed Canadians get back to work.
    Small and medium-sized businesses are the pillars of our society and our economy, but there are no measures here to help them diversify or grow. These are the businesses that create jobs, and that is what Canadians really need right now. Those same businesses will have to foot the bill for the Liberals' spending spree.

  (1325)  

    During the campaign, the Liberals promised to cut small business taxes from 11% to 9%. Unfortunately, they got rid of that tax cut. The Minister of Small Business and Tourism even said that she would work closely with the Minister of Finance to keep their promise to reduce the small business tax burden.
    The small business tax cut was undeniably a Liberal election platform promise in 2015. That promise was broken, as was the promise to cap the deficit at $10 billion.
    Stability enables businesses to prosper. Budget 2016 means that the only thing businesses can be sure of is fiscal uncertainty. These businesses are important to our regions. It is clear to me that the government has completely abandoned them in this budget. There are precious few measures to foster job creation and development.
    The government decided to build on the work of the previous government, our government, to renew the broadband connection program to promote digital access, but that is the only ray of hope here for our regions.
     Here is an example of an initiative currently under way in my area. It is critical for the survival of our small businesses to make citizens aware of the impact of choosing to do their shopping close to home.
     In my riding, in the Charlevoix area, there is currently a buy-local campaign, aimed at supporting our small and large businesses. I strongly support this campaign, because its goal is to boost our businesses with small, concrete measures, in order to preserve our stores close to home. It is this kind of initiative that we should encourage, in order to promote regional development. This is a good example to give the Liberal government.
     The government has done away with aid to the regions of Quebec and Canada. It has failed to make the necessary effort to ensure the vitality of our regions, which are the economic heart of our country.
     Unfortunately, it is not the only sector that the government has abandoned. With regard to official languages and la Francophonie, I am very disappointed in the government’s budget. There are no concrete measures to strengthen francophone and anglophone minority communities. In a country like ours, promoting bilingualism is important. I am disappointed that the government has turned its back on many of those communities.
     In addition, as official opposition critic for la Francophonie, I was dumbfounded to see that there was no reference to Canada’s francophone partners in the budget.
    At the last meeting of the Organisation internationale de la Francophonie in Dakar, the partners adopted a resolution recognizing the important role that the private sector must play in implementing the economic strategy for La Francophonie, especially its components dealing with promoting French as a language of work and a driver of economic growth.
     It is also important to strengthen co-operation with francophone regional economic communities in order to boost regional integration, which is a driver of market expansion, economic vitality and job creation. The government’s budget is a missed opportunity to pursue our commitment to la Francophonie. In my opinion, it was a good opportunity to do so.
     To conclude, I would like to say that the budget ignores a number of sectors of our society, including families, small and medium-sized businesses, and official languages, despite the lovely promise of a deficit of more than $100 billion over four years.

  (1330)  

    Mr. Speaker, could my colleague tell us where she gets the idea that the Conservatives were able to generate a $3.4-billion surplus between 2015 and 2016? If we look at the monthly figures instead of the annual figures, we can interpret them in all sorts of creative ways, but the reality is that the Conservative government’s balanced budget contained a deficit of more than $5 billion for the fiscal year. Indeed, there is only one Conservative prime minister who succeeded in eliminating a deficit and generating a surplus, and that dates back to the 19th century.
    Would my colleague care to admit that, historically, the Conservatives have been chronically incapable of managing a budget?
    Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for his question.
    Historically, the biggest spenders have always been the Liberals. We succeeded in balancing a budget, and in Mr. Flaherty, God rest his soul, we had the best minister of finance.
    Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my colleague for her speech. We work together on the Standing Committee on Official Languages, and it is truly disappointing that the Liberal government did not take this opportunity to reinvest in official languages. As you know, unfortunately, the budget for the roadmap has not been indexed for more than 12 years. Funding is frozen, and it was badly needed. The organizations need it; they are hurting at the moment. It is regrettable.
     I would like to speak about something else that is very important in my constituency, and that is social housing. The employees of the municipal housing authority in Drummondville came to see me and told me that there were serious needs, particularly for new social housing units for single seniors. We were expecting more than a token gesture from the government; we were expecting concrete measures. Unfortunately, there is very little information about the $520 million over four years that was announced for the construction of new affordable rental units.
     I would like to know whether the same is true in my colleague’s constituency. Would she agree that social housing needs are enormous and that it is necessary to invest to improve the living conditions of the people most in need?

  (1335)  

    Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for his question. I represent a rural constituency, but there is certainly a great need for social housing in the urban part. However, as we have seen, despite the $30-billion deficit promised by the Liberals, nothing has been done on this issue. Families are being ignored. Our regions are being ignored. We are asking the Liberal Party, the government, not to accept the budget, because it does not measure up to what Canadians were expecting.
    Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the member for Beauport—Côte-de-Beaupré—Île d'Orléans—Charlevoix. That is a long riding name.
     I would like her to comment on one subject in particular. According to the Canadian Taxpayers Federation, the Liberal government has saddled every Canadian with a debt of $17,222. At the moment, the national debt is growing by about $1 million every 30 minutes or so. The parliamentary budget officer has had difficulty getting information from this government so that he can tell us what the estimates are for the future.
    What does my colleague think of the national debt that we are going to leave our children?
    What does she think about the fact that the parliamentary budget officer, Jean-Denis Fréchette, has been unable to obtain information from day one on the contents of the budget to determine whether what the Liberals printed in their budget was true?
    Mr. Speaker, I thank my hon. colleague for that excellent question.
     Obviously, as a grandmother, I find this debt absolutely horrendous. This is not the Canada I want to leave to my grandchildren. With the Liberal budget that was recently tabled, all of the promised transparency is nowhere to be found either.
     The Liberals are mortgaging future generations without considering the fact that tomorrow it is they who will have to pay for this government's unbridled spending. Quite simply, I will be voting against this budget, because for me as a grandmother, this is not the Canada that I want for my grandson.
    Mr. Speaker, I would like to share my time with my colleague from Brampton East.
    On March 22, Canadians witnessed real change with the tabling of the budget by my colleague, the Minister of Finance. As a member, a businesswoman and a person involved in my community, I can only be delighted at a budget that leaves no one behind. Seniors, families, workers, entrepreneurs, and job creators all have been presented with a budget of opportunities and above all a budget of compromise and openness. I say compromise because there is one thing we Liberals understand. We have two ears and just one mouth. As a mother of four, this is something I have often said to my children. The logic goes something like this: you have to listen twice as much as you talk. In other words, we have understood that we have to engage citizens in public affairs and listen with one ear to their concerns, but with the other to their ambitions, their dreams, and their goals for both themselves and their community. That is why the finance minister and his parliamentary secretary toured Canada from sea to sea to listen to Canadians. I want to underscore this leadership and this openness.
     The choice that our government made on March 22 is thus perfectly in line with the concerns of Canadians. For my part, together with my parliamentary colleague from Thérèse-De Blainville, I held a pre-budget consultation with some 50 local stakeholders who let us know their concerns and their ambitions for Rivière-des-Mille-Îles. We welcomed their ideas and we recognize that interest rates are really low. The time has come to invest in our infrastructure, in the environment, and above all in our people.
    During the election campaign, we proposed to Canadians that we invest in them. As a result, we form a majority government that knows for a fact how Canada’s economic wheel turns. Its gears are the middle class. That is why we brought in a middle-class tax cut that will benefit nine million people. That is how to walk the talk. It is also important to point out that when the middle class has more money in its pockets, all the players in our economy benefit, including our small and medium-sized businesses that work hard all year long.
     In my introduction, I raised a concept that is important to Canadians, just as it is to the people of Rivière-des-Mille-Îles. That is the concept of opportunity.

  (1340)  

[English]

    Better is always possible.

[Translation]

     That is why we are proposing a massive investment in infrastructure: $3.4 billion in public transit and roads, $5 billion in green infrastructure, and $3.4 billion in social infrastructure, including affordable housing and seniors’ housing.
     I can confirm that this money is being very well received by the people in my riding, even though Rivière-des-Mille-Îles already has affordable housing, especially in Saint-Eustache and Deux-Montagnes. Municipal officials now feel as though they are being heard. Their concerns have been heard, and now they will have dedicated funds for the renovation and construction of social and community infrastructure. Furthermore, this infrastructure plan will enable me to complete, in co-operation with my counterparts in the Quebec National Assembly, the work on highways 13 and 19, as well as the broadening of highway 15 to include a public transit lane from Blainville to the Montmorency subway in Laval.

[English]

    As a government, we note that a strong economy can go along with a better environment.

[Translation]

    As I was saying, as a mother of four, I want to leave a clean environment for future generations. Therefore, starting in 2016-17, $62.5 million will be made available to support the deployment of infrastructure for alternative transportation fuels, including charging infrastructure for electric vehicles. This measure is fully responsive to a recommendation made in the pre-budget consultation in my constituency on January 29, when local economic stakeholders made us aware of the cost of charging stations.
    This is a direct measure that allows us to move forward on the electrification of transportation. After all, this is 2016.

[English]

    Yes, Canada is back.

[Translation]

    People will remember 2016 as the year when our colleague, the Minister of Families, Children and Social Development , proposed a real reform for families in Rivière-des-Mille-Îles and Canada. Budget 2016 will lift 300,000 children out of poverty thanks to a universal Canada child benefit.
     It is therefore quite correct to say that this is not only a sizeable reform, but also the biggest federal social measure in a generation. In tangible terms, it will provide an average of $2,300 more per family per year. What is more, this money will now be non-taxable.
     When Canadian families have resources, the entire country does better. It is therefore not abnormal to see another major measure for seniors in budget 2016. We know that seniors were worried in the weeks leading up to the tabling of the budget.
     I was able to sound out the seniors in Rivière-des-Mille-Îles, not just during the pre-budget consultations, but also when I went to meet with them. However we are proving once again that no one is being left behind in this budget. It is our responsibility to ensure that a quality retirement is available for our seniors, who worked hard to build the Canada we have today.
    I am therefore very pleased about the increase in guaranteed income supplement benefits for our seniors. Not only have we lowered the retirement age from 67 to 65, but a senior citizen living alone will receive an average of $947 more each year. This is an important measure to ensure the financial well-being of elderly people.
     I am proud of the measures in budget 2016. I am certain it will benefit the Lower Laurentians region and my constituency of Rivière-des-Mille-Îles. The families, seniors, and middle-class workers in my riding have been heard, and the budget provisions not only address their concerns, but will also restore their self-confidence.
     I am very hopeful and confident regarding the people of my region, their aspirations, and their dreams. Together, we will build the Canada of tomorrow.

  (1345)  

    Mr. Speaker, during the election campaign, the Liberal Party told Canadians that a Liberal government would run a deficit of $10 billion, but that was not true, since the deficit projected in this budget is nearly $30 billion.
     How does the government explain this large difference to the Canadian people?
    Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague.
    Concerning the deficit, it is in fact what we were left by the Conservatives that is putting us in a difficult position with regard to our planned spending.
     At present, interest rates are extremely low. Now is the time to kick-start the economy, invest in our roads, infrastructure, and affordable social housing, and help the middle class. Everyone will benefit.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, with respect to the infrastructure spending that was announced, I was disappointed to see not much money for the rail infrastructure that is needed in the Windsor-Quebec corridor. There was also nothing for trade corridors and ports, like what I need in my riding of Sarnia—Lambton.
    In addition, with respect to the rural Internet funding that was given, there was no detail for that. Why did this budget leave the rural and small communities out?

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague.
    The investments that we plan to make in the regions include putting $500 million into connectivity. Everyone will benefit, both in some parts of urban areas, which includes me, and in rural areas. In 2016, it is unacceptable for some regions not to have access to cellphone service or a high-speed Internet connection.
     If we want to help the middle class and small and medium-sized business, it is important for the entire country to have cellphone service and connectivity.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, my question to the member is reflecting on infrastructure in Canada.
    This budget is history in the making in the sense that never before have we seen a budget that has made so much of a commitment to invest in Canada's infrastructure. By investing in Canada's infrastructure, we are adding value to the economy, not only for today but well into the future, for future generations of Canadians.
    I wonder if the member might want to provide her thoughts on how important it is that government invest in infrastructure. By doing that, we are giving strength to the Canadian economy. Would the member not agree with that statement?

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for his question.
    Clearly, this massive investment in infrastructure is a major step, especially since, as we know, interest rates are low. Some things were ignored. All levels of government need the federal government to reinvest in both municipal and provincial infrastructure. I believe the time has come to do that. It is incredible how much needs to be done in the area of green infrastructure. Affordable housing was on the back burner. It is truly an exceptional time to do that. At the same time, with regard to the electrification of transportation, it is important to act immediately, if we want to go ahead with these new energy sources.

[English]

    Before we go to resuming debate, I will let the hon. member for Brampton East know that there are only about eight minutes remaining in the time provided for debate on the subamendment. We are a little short of his 10 minutes, but I will give him the usual signal, and we will need to wrap up just before two o'clock.

  (1350)  

    Mr. Speaker, it is an honour to rise today to speak to the government's first federal budget. Just last Friday, I had the opportunity to speak at a budget breakfast hosted by the Brampton Board of Trade. I got to hear first-hand from employers, innovators, and leaders in Brampton about the budget provisions that would help them most.
    The residents of Brampton consistently tell me they are appreciative and supportive of the investments our government is going to make that would help middle-class Canadians succeed. These are investments that would not just help them and their families today but lay the groundwork for the success of future generations of hard-working Canadians.
    My constituents elected me to serve as part of a government that would help the middle class and those who are working hard to join it. To be able to represent these priorities on behalf of the people of Brampton East is a true privilege.
    I am lucky to be a member of the Standing Committee on Finance, which has kept me quite busy thus far. Recently, prior to the presentation of budget 2016, the Standing Committee on Finance undertook pre-budget consultations that were different from most, due to the timing of the fall election. With a very short timeline, over four long days, we heard from more than 92 witnesses, which included individuals, businesses, NGOs, first nation advocates, and other valued groups. We also received 172 submissions online from individuals and groups. The responses we received varied in topic, but the committee concluded its work with a report that offered 56 recommendations, many of which were included in this year's budget.
    Last fall, we offered Canadians an ambitious new plan for a strong middle class and promised we would do all we could to help every Canadian succeed from coast to coast to coast. Budget 2016 is an important part of fulfilling that promise. It offers immediate help to those who need it most and lays the groundwork for sustained, inclusive, economic growth that would benefit Canada's middle class and those working hard to join it. In particular, the budget is about Canadian families. We met with them, we heard their stories, and we share their concerns. The budget is about the things that matter to them most. The net result is that, even though there has been some economic growth in the past three decades, too often the benefits have been felt only by the wealthiest Canadians, while the middle class and those working hard to join it continue to struggle.
    Here at home and across the world, dramatic shifts are taking place that represent both challenges to and opportunities for Canada's economy. Managing Canada's ongoing demographic shift means that we must do more to invest in young Canadians, in post-secondary education, in training, and in innovation.
    This is a time to invest. We have the lowest debt-to-GDP ratio of all G7 nations, which gives us room to make strategic investments now that will grow the economy well into the future. Interest rates remain at historic lows, making now the ideal time to invest in our highly educated workforce, and low business tax costs mean that Canada is well positioned to compete globally.
    I would like to touch upon the investments in budget 2016 that would benefit the riding of Brampton East. Canada has the potential to be a global leader when it comes to innovation. I have seen first-hand the tremendous talent and work ethic of Brampton's business and innovation community. Budget 2016 would support Canada's innovators and entrepreneurs and give them the help they need to access expertise, identify new markets, and scale up for future growth.
    To accelerate economic growth, budget 2016 would make available up to $800 million over four years, starting in 2017-2018, to support innovation networks and clusters as part of the government's upcoming innovation agenda. To increase the number of innovative small and medium-sized enterprises receiving technical advice and product financing through the industrial research assistance program, budget 2016 proposes to provide the program with a further $50 million in 2016-2017. The program supports innovative and growth-oriented small and medium-sized companies through adversarial services, research and development, product funding, and networking.

  (1355)  

    It is also vital for Canada to compete on the global stage in order to create economic growth, which is why, to help high-impact firms grow, budget 2016 proposes to launch a new initiative focused on helping high-impact firms to scale up and further their global competitiveness. The initiative aims to target 1,000 firms in the first few years and expand to more firms thereafter.
    To support an innovative automotive sector, budget 2016 announces the extension of the automotive innovation fund, which is currently scheduled to sunset in 2017-18. We will extend it through 2020-21.
    I have had the opportunity to attend some of the best post-secondary institutions in this country. The power and importance of education is limitless. It can give kids from Brampton an opportunity to make their way to Parliament Hill. Thus, I am a strong believer in the power of education and training for our young people to be the leaders of not just tomorrow but also today. We must invest in this generation of young people in order to support our aging population and create economic growth to last generations.
    Budget 2016 proposes a package of reforms to the Canada student loans program that will make post-secondary education more affordable for more students from low- and middle-income families and ensure that student debt loads remain manageable. These measures will also simplify the application process for financial assistance, making the Canada student loans program more transparent and more predictable.
    Budget 2016 also includes an increase in the loan payment thresholds, to ensure that no students will have to repay a Canada student loan until they earn at least $25,000 per year. This measure will provide $131 million over four years starting in 2016-17.
    Employment opportunities will be available for young Canadians through the investment of an additional $165 million for the youth employment strategy starting in 2016-17. We are also creating an expert panel on youth employment to guide future investments in labour market programming.
    Brampton is one of the most growing and dynamic cities in this country. It is growing quickly, and infrastructure investments are vital during this mandate because people are counting on them to expand their businesses. The economic potential of cities like Brampton is limited by inadequate infrastructure systems.
    I thank the House for its time. I will continue this evening.

[Translation]

    It being 1:59 p.m., pursuant to order made on Monday, April 11, 2016, the question on the amendment to the amendment is deemed put and a recorded division is deemed requested and deferred until later this day at the expiry of the time provided for Oral Questions.

STATEMENTS BY MEMBERS

[Statements by Members]

[Translation]

Bombardier

    Mr. Speaker, since the Liberals are not defending Quebec's aerospace industry, politicians from English Canada have free rein to spew their venom and say that Bombardier is a spoiled child that lives on handouts from the rest of Canada.
    This morning, in The Globe and Mail, a Bombardier vice-president set the record straight. After investing $586 million, Ottawa pocketed $733 million in royalties from the sale of Bombardier aircraft. In comparison, the federal government absorbed a net loss of $3.5 billion after having invested $10 billion to save GM.
    Quebec's aerospace industry provides 41,000 good jobs, 10,000 of which are directly in research and development. It is the cornerstone of our leading-edge industry.
    Here we have 40 Liberal MPs keeping mum while the Minister of Transport is working on dismantling Air Canada's bases, the Minister of Industry is trying to bury Bombardier, and the Minister of Finance is abandoning this leading-edge sector.
    Quebec is paying a high price for the subservience of the Liberal MPs from Quebec.

[English]

Fraud Prevention Month

    Mr. Speaker, I would like to congratulate the Competition Bureau of Canada for a successful Fraud Prevention Month. This is its 12th annual event.
    Throughout the month of March, Canadians were educated on how to recognize fraud and take steps to protect themselves. Any one of us can be a target of fraud. Some of my constituents in Don Valley East have been targeted by fraudsters posing as either CRA or CSIS agents.
    Senior citizens are often targets of this insidious and criminal activity. There are three ways by which senior citizens fall victim to financial fraud: identity theft, credit or debit card fraud, and the grandparent scam.
    All Canadians need to be educated about fraud, so that they can recognize and report it to local law enforcement. I applaud the Competition Bureau for its work on fraud prevention and for raising awareness for all Canadians.

  (1400)  

National Volunteer Week

    Mr. Speaker, this week marks National Volunteer Week, an opportunity to recognize the millions of volunteers across Canada who give of their time to enrich our communities. I would like to recognize the thousands of volunteers in Wellington—Halton Hills who comfort the ill, encourage the young, hearten the lonely, feed the hungry, promote the arts, conserve our environment, and fundraise for countless local charities.

[Translation]

    In Canada, volunteers contribute nearly two billion hours every year. A study by Volunteer Canada reported that the vast majority of volunteers would prefer to be recognized with a simple thank you.

[English]

    To the great volunteers, both in Wellington—Halton Hills and across Canada, I would like to extend a sincere thanks for all they do for our communities and for our country.

[Translation]

Governor General's Awards in Visual and Media Arts

    Mr. Speaker, on March 23, 2016, eight Canadian artists were honoured at Rideau Hall. They are the recipients of this year's Governor General's Awards in Visual and Media Arts.
    Administered by the Canada Council for the Arts, these awards are meant to celebrate Canada's vibrant arts community and recognize outstanding careers in visual and media arts.
    I wish to congratulate Edward Burtynsky, Marnie Fleming, Philip Hoffman, Jane Kidd, Wanda Koop, Suzy Lake, Mark Lewis, and Bill Vazan. We thank you for your contribution to a vibrant and creative Canada.
    I invite all Canadians to learn more about these extraordinary artists by visiting the Canada Council for the Arts website or the exhibition dedicated to them at the National Gallery of Canada.

[English]

UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities

    Mr. Speaker, I rise today to speak of an issue of great significance to every one of us who advocates on behalf of persons living with disabilities. Canada ratified the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities way back in 2010.
     However, this convention has an optional protocol, which Canada has yet to ratify. This protocol provides for a complaints mechanism allowing groups or individuals to take a claim before the UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. If they are not able to obtain justice within their own national jurisdictions, this is where they would go. It is a very important protocol that provides a real mechanism for ensuring that the convention itself is implemented properly within the signatory country.
     If the signatory country is genuine about implementing the convention, then it will ratify this protocol. It is as simple as that.
    Before members, I urge that Canada immediately sign and—
    The hon. member for Sydney—Victoria.

East Coast Music Awards

    Mr. Speaker, I rise as we celebrate the 2016 East Coast Music Awards proudly being hosted in my riding all week long. The East Coast Music Association has been going for 28 years, with over 1,000 members dedicated to the music industry in Atlantic Canada. This five-day non-stop musical celebration will showcase the best music and talent the east coast has to offer, all happening in Cape Breton.
    The East Coast Music Awards is an internationally recognized event bringing together people in the music industry from all over the world to the east coast to discover musical talent and culture. Fans' Choice voting is now open. Visit ecma.com for all the festival details and support local music.
    I ask all members to rise with me to honour the 2016 East Coast Music Awards and the talented east coast musicians, agents, and volunteers who work so hard to keep Atlantic music thriving well.

  (1405)  

Chase Martens

    Mr. Speaker, on March 22, tragedy hit southern Manitoba and captured the attention of many Canadians. It was on this day that little Chase Martens wandered away from his home and did not return. Like so many others, I prayed that Chase would come home to his parents, Destiny Turner and Thomas Martens, and his siblings, safe and sound. Sadly, this did not happen and his body was discovered in a creek four days after he went missing.
    All of our hearts go out to his family and the community of Austin and the surrounding areas. I know we are all grateful to the police officers and firefighters who were first on the scene. It was so amazing to see hundreds of Manitobans from Portage la Prairie and across the province who came to look for little Chase. Although many of them did not know him, they felt like Chase could have been their own son or grandson.
    There is no silver lining in the loss of Chase Martens, only the reminder to hold our own children a little closer and treasure the short time that we have together.

[Translation]

Quebec Breast Cancer Foundation Events

    Mr. Speaker, today I want to draw attention to an event that was held on the weekend in my riding of La Prairie.
    I am referring to the seventh edition of the Soirée Victoire, held in Candiac, which raised the tidy sum of $116,000. As in past years, this money will be donated to the Quebec Breast Cancer Foundation and used mainly for research, different programs to support women, and prevention and awareness programs.
    Over the past 20 years, more than $26 million has been raised for research and more than $10.5 million to support women in their fight against breast cancer.
    I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate the organizing committee and all the partners that helped make the evening happen. I would especially like to thank Danielle Simard, the chair of Les Événements Victoire in Candiac, for her wonderful work. Her commitment to supporting women deserves to be recognized.

National Volunteer Week

    Mr. Speaker, last night, as part of National Volunteer Week, my colleague from Hull—Aylmer and I were honoured to attend the fifth annual volunteer recognition ceremony at the Buffet des Continents in Gatineau.
    Volunteers were lauded for taking action and getting involved in organizing social, cultural, community, and sports activities for young people, adults, seniors, persons with disabilities, and people in need.
    I want to congratulate the nine 2016 honourees:  Diane Dupont-Cyr, Dan Mupendwa Shekanena, Yolande Gravel, Marie-Claude Giasson, Gabriel Ladouceur, Robert Cuillerier, Suzanne Fullwood, France Gaudreau, and Jocelyne Barbeau.
    Volunteering is what helps Gatineau grow. Without the dedication of these volunteers, who knows what would happen to our communities or who would help the most vulnerable. We owe our volunteers a debt of gratitude.

[English]

Daffodil Month

    Mr. Speaker, April is Daffodil Month, which is a time to raise awareness for those living with cancer. Money raised during Daffodil Month will help people living with cancer and their families. Donations fund life-saving research, information and support services.
    My wife Kelly has survived melanoma skin cancer on a number of occasions. In the 40th Canadian Parliament, I tabled my private member's bill to strengthen warning labels on tanning beds on the carcinogenic risks from radiation caused by artificial tanning equipment.
    I am proud that the previous Conservative government strengthened the labelling requirements for tanning beds to better inform consumers about the health risks associated with the use of these dangerous devices. I want to urge people, especially youth and young women, to stay out of tanning beds. Indoor tanning is out.
    The daffodil is a symbol of strength and courage in the fight against cancer. I encourage all Canadians to buy a daffodil pin and wear it in April to show their support for Canadians living with cancer.

Vaisakhi

    Mr. Speaker, I rise today to recognize April 13, 2016, the festival of Vaisakhi and Khalsa Day. It is the 317th anniversary of the birth of Khalsa, which is the first time Sikhs were baptized.
    On April 23, like every year, Surrey—Newton will be home to the largest Khalsa Day celebration and parade, which will bring together hundreds of thousands of Canadians of all backgrounds. I invite everyone to attend.
    I, along with my western Canadian colleagues, am proud to represent Sikh communities throughout western Canada, and we wish everyone a happy Vaisakhi and joyous Khalsa Day.

  (1410)  

[Translation]

National Volunteer Week

    Mr. Speaker, this morning, I had the honour of attending the ceremony where Monique Venne from Mont-Laurier was awarded the Sovereign's Medal for Volunteers.
    Since it is National Volunteer Week, I would like to sincerely thank her for the 25 years that she has spent helping people in need through the Society of Saint Vincent de Paul.
    That is why I would also like to recognize the inspiring attitude of many other volunteers who were recently awarded the Quebec Lieutenant Governor's medal at a ceremony that I attended on Saturday in Sainte-Agathe-des-Monts.
    I would like to congratulate and thank Mathieu Desmarais, Mélissa Campeau, Vincent Mailloux, Alexandre Milette-Gagnon, Robert Ardoin, Ernest Boyer, Denise Comtois-Lalongé, Francine Doré-Paquette, Micheline Drainville, Jacqueline Dumas, Huguette Dumay, Monique Guénette, Rose-Amande Houle, Claire Lalonde, and Yolande Véronneau.
    Our communities would not be the same without volunteers like Ms. Venne and the commitment of these other leaders in our region. Keep up the good work.

[English]

The Budget

    Mr. Speaker, when the Liberals introduced their first budget, the news was not good for Canadians. Despite their election promise, the Liberals have blown through the surplus they inherited from the Conservatives and have racked up a massive $29-billion shortfall.
    Members can imagine giving their credit card to their children to go and buy groceries. They give them permission to spend up to $100, but when they come home and show the receipt, they find that the bill came to $3,000. What did they bring home? Nineteen bags of marshmallows, a case of chocolate bars, bags and bags of chips, and a whole lot of pop, but no eggs, no meat, no milk, not even a loaf of bread. Where is the beef? This is how the Prime Minister has spent our money.
     Canadians were looking for a real plan to get the unemployed back to work, real investments in infrastructure, and a plan to avoid taxes, but the Liberals' budget failed to deliver on any of that. Instead, we have a government that is blocking private sector job creation, like energy east and northern gateway, and the Liberal tradition of raising taxes is back.
    This is not the budget Canadians were looking for.

Claire Kirkland-Casgrain

    Mr. Speaker, I rise today to pay tribute to a woman who was a pioneer in a time of change. Claire Kirkland-Casgrain was the first woman elected to the National Assembly of Quebec and became the province's first female cabinet minister.
    As a member of Jean Lesage's Quiet Revolution government, she helped shape a new and progressive Quebec by, among other initiatives, introducing legislation to further gender equality.

[Translation]

    Before Bill 16 was passed, a woman could not open a bank account or sign a lease in Quebec without her husband's consent. According to Ms. Kirkland-Casgrain, the passing of this bill was her greatest achievement.
    Following her very successful political career, Claire Kirkland-Casgrain was the first woman to be appointed as a judge in the Quebec provincial court.

[English]

    I had the honour of knowing Claire Kirkland-Casgrain. She was a warm and compassionate person with a disarming sense of humour who loved life and people.
    To her husband, Wyndham, and children, Lynne, Kirkland, and Marc, we offer our deepest condolences as we salute a remarkable woman whose determination to move society forward changed the lives of so many for the better.

[Translation]

Laurie-Ève Rhéaume

    Mr. Speaker, I would like to congratulate nine-year-old Laurie-Ève Rhéaume on her desire to make a difference.
    I have a meeting scheduled with this young lady from my riding on Earth Day so that she can tell me about her concerns regarding the environment and poverty reduction.
    Laurie-Ève also asked me to visit her elementary school. Her teacher, Dominique Provost, has made arrangements for me to meet with more than 125 children aged nine to 12 to discuss the environment, citizen engagement, and fighting inequality.
    I would like to thank Laurie-Ève for taking this initiative. Although she is young, we can all look to her as a model of personal involvement in our democracy.

  (1415)  

Wounded Warriors Canada

    Mr. Speaker, today I want to talk about an exceptional group that has helped many of our veterans. The group is called Wounded Warriors Canada and is a national leader in funding innovative mental health programs that help support our soldiers and veterans of the Canadian Armed Forces, their families, and first responders in the community.
    Wounded Warriors Canada is able to offer programs thanks to the care, compassion, and generosity of Canadians and Canadian businesses. I therefore want to thank all Canadians for supporting our women and men in uniform when they need it most.
    As the official opposition critic for veterans affairs, I want to thank Wounded Warriors Canada for the important work it does in order to help our veterans.

[English]

Constable Sarah Beckett

    Mr. Speaker, I rise today to pay tribute to Constable Sarah Beckett of the West Shore detachment of the RCMP, who was killed last week while on patrol in Langford, British Columbia.
    I know I speak for all members of this House in offering our heartfelt condolences to her family, her friends, her colleagues, her community, the community she loved and worked so hard to protect and serve.
    No words can describe the loss this tragedy represents. Each day in communities in Canada, police officers put themselves in harm's way and put their lives on the line to keep us safe. Each day we owe them a debt of gratitude for the safety they work to ensure.
    Today, a grieving and grateful community says goodbye to one of its heroes. Today, we thank Constable Sarah Beckett for her service and acknowledge the sacrifice she made for us.

ORAL QUESTIONS

[Oral Questions]

[English]

The Budget

    Mr. Speaker, experts agree on three things: the Liberals are borrowing way more money than they promised, they are already raising taxes, and none of the spending will create the jobs and growth that they promised. In addition, this budget is the least transparent budget in 15 years. Now we also know that the budget numbers do not add up.
    Let me repeat that: the federal budget numbers do not add up.
    When the numbers do not add up, how can Canadians trust them with their jobs?
    Mr. Speaker, budget 2016 puts forward significant, real help by putting money into the pockets of the middle class and by helping grow the economy in ways that, quite frankly, we have not had for 10 years. The reality is that by investing in public transit, in social infrastructure, in green infrastructure, in university and research infrastructure, we are creating the kinds of good jobs now, the growth for tomorrow, and the long-term prosperity that Canadians right across this country need.
    That is what budget 2016 is all about, and that is a promise delivered.
    Mr. Speaker, first the Prime Minister refused to give the parliamentary budget officer the information that he needs to do his work. Since then, we have seen a former deputy minister of finance conclude that this budget has no transparency. Even the CBC, believe it or not, declared that the numbers do not add up and called it “a shell game”. We have made-up numbers, hidden numbers, and numbers pulled from thin air, so why should Canadians trust the Prime Minister to run our economy?
    Mr. Speaker, after 10 years of the kind of secrecy, of number-twisting, of obfuscation that Canadians got all too used to under the previous government, we put forward an open and transparent budget that actually talks about investing in the kind of growth and opportunities for Canadians that Canadians voted for and that Canadians need.
    We are establishing investments in infrastructure. We are establishing a strategy for innovation that is going to demonstrate the kind of opportunities that Canadians can innovate and create in the coming years. This is exactly the kind of budget that Canadians were asking for with their ballot box choices last year.

Employment

    Mr. Speaker, if we cannot trust the numbers, how can we trust that the economy is in good hands?
    In Alberta, the Prime Minister told oil and gas workers that they should be pleased they were not harder hit, when all they needed to hear was a commitment to build pipelines. Will the Prime Minister finally tell the 100,000 unemployed oil and gas workers today that if the Trans Mountain pipeline and the energy east pipeline are approved, he will also approve them?

  (1420)  

    Mr. Speaker, for 10 years the previous government did everything it could to try and shout those pipelines into being. What that resulted in was delivering no pipelines to tidewater.
    One of the fundamental responsibilities of any prime minister is to get our resources to market. However, in the 21st century, getting those resources to market means doing it responsibly for communities, for indigenous peoples, and for the environment. That is why we are combining both environment and economy as we build for a stronger future, and basing our decisions on evidence.

[Translation]

Infrastructure

    Mr. Speaker, we now know that the Liberal government is going to borrow $30 billion, money that will be paid back by Canadians who are not yet born.
    During the last election campaign, at a photo op in a crane, the Prime Minister promised a lot of money for infrastructure. In this budget, very little money will go to roads, highways, or public transit.
    How can the Prime Minister say that he will run a $30-billion deficit on infrastructure, when there is only $2.9 billion in new money for infrastructure in this budget?
    Mr. Speaker, during the election campaign, we promised to invest $60 billion over 10 years in infrastructure, and that is exactly what we are doing.
    Last week, I was in Montreal to announce that $775 million will be going directly to public transit in order to provide better service for Montrealers. We are doing this across the country. Canadians want a government that has confidence in them and is prepared to invest in their future. That is exactly what we are doing because the other party dropped the ball for the past 10 years.
    Mr. Speaker, we delivered the largest infrastructure plan in Canadian history on two separate occasions. We increased and doubled investments while still balancing the budget, not borrowing from the future.
    The money that will be invested this year is money from the program we put in place, because we respect provincial jurisdictions. As for the funding announced for public transit and social housing, I will come back to that later. However, those are exclusively under provincial jurisdiction. The parliamentary budget officer said that he was missing some information that prevented him from completing and having accurate figures on the economy.
    How can the Prime Minister claim that he is being transparent, when he is not providing all the information—
    The right hon. Prime Minister.
    Mr. Speaker, the official opposition party keeps repeating the same arguments that clearly failed to convince Canadians last fall.
    The Conservatives are talking about their investments in the Canadian economy, but Canadians got nothing out of them. On the contrary, the Conservatives kept giving the benefits to those at the top, rather than helping the middle class and those working hard to join it and investing in the infrastructure that would help them in their communities. That is what we are doing and what we will continue to do.

[English]

Ethics

    Mr. Speaker, after years of ethically challenged Conservative rule, the Liberals promised to do things differently.
    Some hon. members: Oh, oh!
    It is hard to hear the question. The hon. member for Outremont has the floor. Let us try to calm down, everybody. We are all excited.
    The hon. member for Outremont.
    Mr. Speaker, after years of ethically challenged Conservative rule, the Liberals promised to do things differently.
    The Minister of Justice is doing certain things differently. When Conservative minister Shelly Glover was caught holding a dodgy fundraiser in 2013, she promptly gave the money back, but this minister refuses to do the same.
     Will the Prime Minister ask his Minister of Justice to simply give the money back?

  (1425)  

    Mr. Speaker, indeed, after 10 years of ethical failings on behalf of the government, the Liberal Party got elected to government on a platform of openness and transparency and promises that we are keeping.
    We have always followed all the rules around fundraising. We have always demonstrated openness and transparency and accountability. Union and corporate donations are banned. There are very strict limits on donations to the parties.
    We are following all rules, unlike the previous government.

Canada Revenue Agency

    Mr. Speaker, she should never have been there.

[Translation]

    Canadians who follow the rules and pay their taxes find the Panama papers scandal disgusting. This week we learned that a former senior Revenue Canada official left the agency and went to work for KPMG when the firm was being investigated by Revenue Canada for using tax havens.
    Will the Prime Minister finally conduct an investigation and lock the revolving door at Revenue Canada?
    Mr. Speaker, Canadians expect that no one should be able to avoid paying their fair share of taxes by giving money or doing favours.
    For that reason, our budget includes a $440-million investment so that the Canada Revenue Agency can recover money lost as a result of tax avoidance and evasion. The reality is that we must support the Canada Revenue Agency as it works to ensure that everyone pays their fair share of taxes.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, we have a Minister of Justice attending a sketchy fundraiser, a Minister of Finance with companies registered in tax havens like the Bahamas, and a Minister of National Revenue who is defending sweetheart deals for millionaire tax cheats. The Liberals swore they would be different, but they keep finding novel ways of being the Liberals.
    Will the Prime Minister show he is serious about cracking down on tax havens by ordering an investigation into KPMG's secret deal?
    He just talked about what is in the budget. Let us see some action now.
    Mr. Speaker, $440 million to the Canada Revenue Agency, in terms of going after tax evasion and avoidance, is significant action.
    We have committed to make sure that nobody gets to avoid taxes by paying a little money on the side. We need to make sure that we have an open, fair, responsible system of taxation that is properly enforced. That is what Canadians expect of their government. That is the kind of openness, transparency, and rigour that this government is delivering.

Employment Insurance

    A little money on the side, Mr. Speaker?

[Translation]

    The government used complex mathematical formulas to deprive thousands of people of their employment insurance. Saskatchewan's unemployment rate has increased by 40% in the past year, whereas in Saguenay—Lac-Saint-Jean the number of unemployed has increased by 7,000. Even with the budget, 800,000 unemployed workers are not eligible for employment insurance.
    Will the Prime Minister keep his promise and help all unemployed workers in Canada?
    Mr. Speaker, during the election campaign, we promised to improve the employment insurance system so that people who need EI have better access to it, and that is what we have done. We have reduced the waiting period from two weeks to one. We have made sure that there are better employment programs for those receiving employment insurance in order to encourage people to succeed. We promised to improve the employment insurance system and that is what we are doing across the country.

[English]

Ethics

    Mr. Speaker, a partner at Torys LLP was registered to lobby the justice minister. Conveniently, the night before the pay-to-play fundraiser that his law firm was hosting, he deregistered as a lobbyist.
    The justice minister was told by the Prime Minister not to target departmental stakeholders while soliciting political contributions. Would the minister explain how attending a private fundraiser with high-priced Toronto lawyers who have been registered to lobby her department is consistent with anybody's ethical code?
    Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Justice and all ministers in the government have, at all times, followed our obligations under the ethics code and under the Conflict of Interest Act. The Liberal Party respects the Canada Elections Act. All of this fundraising was done according to law. All of the donations are transparent and disclosed, according to law. It is something that every member of this House has done in order to win a seat in this House, and continues to do.
    Ministers in the previous government also raised money for the Conservative Party and used to brag about it one day not so long ago.

  (1430)  

    Mr. Speaker, the justice minister claimed she attended the high-priced pay-to-play fundraiser in Toronto as a regular MP. Later she said she was there as the Minister of Justice. The invitation to the event highlighted her new role and extraordinary mandate. It also told attendees this would be the minister's first private event in Toronto.
    Was she there as the justice minister or as a regular MP? If she wants to be a regular MP, it is simple. All she has to do is resign as the justice minister.
    Mr. Speaker, the only part of that question with which we agree is the incredible mandate that the Minister of Justice has been given by the Prime Minister: to reform our justice system and to clean up a number of messes left to this government by the previous government in terms of justice law and justice policy.
    As I said, this fundraiser was done entirely according to the rules. All of the applicable Conflict of Interest Code ethical obligations and Canada Elections Act measures were followed. We will continue to do that.
    The hon. member is trying to create a scandal where none exists.
     Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Justice claimed that the focus of the pay-to-play fundraiser was in her role as an MP, this after the event was advertised as an opportunity for attendees to engage the minister on matters that pertained directly to the minister's responsibilities. Yesterday the minister admitted that she attended as Minister of Justice after all.
    Will the minister end the charade, take responsibility, and return the pay-to-play cash?
    Mr. Speaker, the cute phrases and the play on words do not change the basic facts.
    All members of the House of Commons raise money according to law. All members on this side of the House respect the Canada Elections Act and the appropriate fundraising rules that apply. It is something that my colleague's party has had considerable trouble doing in the past. They, in fact, pleaded guilty and had to pay a $250,000 fine for a pay-to-play scheme to launder money in and out of riding associations. We have never done that on this side of the House.
    I would remind members that the time to speak is when they have the floor, and that is the only time to speak.
    Now we will listen to the member for St. Albert—Edmonton.
    Mr. Speaker, the independence of the Minister of Justice has been compromised and her credibility is in tatters as she tries to justify her attendance at the pay-to-play fundraiser.
    If everything is above board and the minister has nothing to hide, will she release the list of attendees, yes or no?
    Mr. Speaker, the only thing that hurts the credibility of members of the House is that kind of feigned indignation where a member tries to create a scandal where none exists.
    On this side of the House, we are extremely proud to serve with the Minister of Justice. We are proud of her record of public service, her ethics, and her integrity. We will always stand with her.
    Mr. Speaker, let us bring this back to what Canadians are seeing and what they are saying. They see $20 million going to an organization that the Minister of Justice used to chair. They see the minister's husband lobbying the Liberals on behalf of the organization for funding. This has nothing to do with the FNFA and first nations. Canadians see this as unethical, yet the minister continues to deny any wrongdoing.
    When will the Prime Minister hold his ministers accountable for their unethical behaviour?
    Mr. Speaker, as I explained and as all members opposite who participated on the aboriginal affairs committee in the last Parliament would know, the First Nations Finance Authority is an exemplary organization, with a proven track record, that maximizes a small amount of money such that first nations from coast to coast to coast have access to capital for much needed infrastructure.
    For heaven's sake, I wish the other side would stop this. This kind of stuff is really disruptive.

  (1435)  

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, yesterday, in the House, the Minister of Justice confirmed that she went to Toronto to attend a fundraising activity simply as the member for Vancouver Granville.
    She also said that she cleared it with the Ethics Commissioner to ensure that she complied with all the rules.
    Did the member seek this clarification in her role as Minister of Justice or as member of Parliament for Vancouver Granville? How can she dissociate herself from these two roles, as she sees fit, when she is in a law firm?
    Mr. Speaker, I have good news for my friend opposite.
    The Ethics Commissioner advises ministers in both their roles as minister and as member of Parliament. That has always been the case. The minister spoke to the commissioner about both roles.
    Furthermore, she complied with all the relevant rules. My colleague opposite wants to repeat the same accusations, hoping to create a scandal, but there is no scandal on this side of the House.
    We will always abide by the law when it comes to election financing.

[English]

    I want to remind members again, including the member for St. Albert—Edmonton, that the time to speak is when they have the floor.
    The hon. member for Abitibi—Baie-James—Nunavik—Eeyou.

[Translation]

Indigenous Affairs

    Mr. Speaker, this evening, we are going to debate how we can put an end to the crisis in Attawapiskat.
    The community had been trying for months to alert the federal government before it finally received emergency mental health services.
    However, other communities, such as Cross Lake, Manitoba, are also facing similar crises, and my thoughts are with the young people in Kuujjuaq, Nunavik, who are also having a very difficult time. I think everyone will agree that this is a national concern.
    Can the minister tell us what the government plans to do to finally put an end to this tragedy once and for all?

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, the member opposite has raised an important question and I thank him for his advocacy on this incredibly important matter.
    The conditions that first nations and Inuit communities are facing are absolutely unacceptable. The mental health of young people in particular in these communities is devastating.
    Our department and our government are ensuring that all the necessary services and programs are in place. We are currently investing over $300 million per year in mental wellness programs in these communities. We will continue to work with indigenous leaders. I will continue to work with the Minister of Indigenous and Northern Affairs to ensure all appropriate resources are available.
    Mr. Speaker, the youth suicide crisis has shocked the world and people are asking how a country as rich as Canada can leave so many children and young people behind.
     What the people in Attawapiskat are facing is the same systemic negligence that is robbing the hopes of young people in communities like La Loche, Cross Lake and Neskantaga. Yet there were no new mental health dollars in the budget to help indigenous children.
    Enough with the band-aids and the emergency flights. Will the minister commit to a total overhaul to ensure that every child in our country has the mental health supports he or she needs to have hope and a positive future?
    Mr. Speaker, the member opposite has worked hard in his community to advocate for the mental health needs in that community. I agree with him that it is completely unacceptable in a country as rich in resources as Canada that young people should get to the point that their lives seem worthless and that they would want to end them.
    We must respond to this. I have already indicated what we are doing so far. I will be working with my colleagues across the country to ensure that mental health services are included and improved, and ensure that we get that mental health care to the people who need it.

Justice

    Mr. Speaker, one of the most important responsibilities of the Minister of Justice is to recommend the appointments to the superior courts because Canadians deserve to have access to timely judicial proceedings.
    We have been hearing alarming reports of continuing and increasing vacancies in our courts. It is not enough to be fundraising. What is the problem with appointing judges? We all want to know that.

  (1440)  

    Mr. Speaker, leaving aside the fundraising, the judiciaries appointments are fundamentally important and we are moving forward with a new process, renovating the process, ensuring that the appointment of Superior Court judges across the country is not only based on merit but that it is based on diversity, and that we will be open and transparent. I have had the opportunity to speak to many of the justices across the country and we will be advancing appointments in the very near future.
    Mr. Speaker, there are reports that the minister has yet to hire a judicial affairs adviser. However, she has hired a director of political operations.
    According to Treasury Board guidelines, a director of political operations requires the written concurrence of both the Prime Minister and the President of the Treasury Board. Did the Prime Minister provide written concurrence to his Minister of Justice for hiring a director of political operations? I know this might help with fundraisers, but what is the problem with hiring a judicial affairs adviser?
    Mr. Speaker, we are moving forward with appointments, not only to the superior courts across the country but certainly, in the impending retirement of an honoured justice out of the Supreme Court of Canada, moving forward with the process to appoint a new Supreme Court of Canada justice.
    We are looking at this process and renovating the process to ensure that it is open and transparent. We will engage with members of the House in ensuring that the appointments are based on merit and that the appointments are diversified in terms of reflecting a judiciary that has the face of this great and diversified country.

Small Business

    Mr. Speaker, under the Liberals' job-killing budget, they are raising taxes on small businesses and their workers. They reversed the Conservative tax cut for small businesses, raised payroll taxes, and now the top tax bracket in over half of our provinces will be more than 50%.
     When will the Liberals stop raising taxes on workers and job creators?
    Mr. Speaker, I would encourage the member opposite to read our budget. If she goes back to January, when I believe she was in the House, she will see that we lowered taxes on nine million Canadians. What she will find is that this year small business taxes actually have gone down. What the member will also find is that the nine out of ten families with children who will get the Canada child benefit will have an average of $2,300 more. This will help small businesses.
     This is a budget that will help Canadians and Canadian businesses to be more successful.
    Mr. Speaker, the Liberals claimed to consult with businesses and workers, but as we saw in the budget, they broke that promise too. The Liberals even ignored their own members on the finance committee by raising taxes on small businesses. This should come as no surprise after the Minister of International Trade said, “Amen to raising taxes”.
    How can Canadians trust the tax-and-spend Liberals when they break promises to their own members?
    Mr. Speaker, let us start with understanding that we had more pre-budget consultations than in the history of the country will ever have.
    Let us move forward with a very clear understanding that we reduced taxes on nine million Canadians. Let us move forward one more step by understanding that we helped small businesses across the country by helping their customers and clients.
    This is a budget that will help Canadians, families and businesses. It will grow our economy over the long run.

International Trade

    Mr. Speaker, the trade committee is finally hitting the road next week to study the TPP, yet it still has no impact study to guide its work. The Liberals promised a full, public consultation, but now they are trying to pass off the committee's work as their own.
    When it comes to what Joseph Stiglitz called, “the worst trade deal ever”, that just does not cut it. Why is the government refusing to live up to its promise of full, public consultation for all Canadians?
    Mr. Speaker, unlike the NDP that condemns this deal without even reading it, we are keeping our election promise. We promised to consult, and we are.
    I would also like to point out that we learned something interesting about the New Democrats on Sunday. We learned they want to shut down our natural resource industry and we learned they want to say no to Canada trading in the world.
    That is not good for Canada's middle class, including the union members the hon. member claims to represent.

  (1445)  

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, today, the Government of Quebec and dairy producers and processors stood shoulder to shoulder on the diafiltered milk issue.
    The Liberal government has been saying for months that it is working on this issue, but it has not done anything yet. The industry has had enough. Farmers are losing thousands of dollars a week. However, there is nothing complicated about this. All the government has to do is enforce the cheese compositional standards.
    What is the Prime Minister waiting for? When will he keep his election promise to solve the diafiltered milk problem here in Canada?

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, I think my colleague is fully aware that I met many stakeholders in the agricultural sector, including supply management and the dairy industry in particular.
    This issue was inherited from the previous government, and we are working with the industry to resolve the issue.

Fiscal Stabilization

     Mr. Speaker, first I would like to extend my thoughts and prayers to the people of Bay de Verde in light of yesterday's fire at the Quinlan Brothers fish processing facility. Our hearts are with the workers and the community today.
    The Newfoundland and Labrador throne speech confirmed what many in our home province have been worried about. The recent downturn in oil prices has decreased revenue at a time when unemployment is on the rise.
    Will the Minister of Finance provide an update to the House about what our government is doing to help the people of Newfoundland and Labrador during these difficult times?
    Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the member for Avalon, his caucus colleagues from Newfoundland and Labrador and the Minister of Public Services and Procurement for their tireless work on behalf of Newfoundland and Labrador.
    When that province came to us with a fiscal stabilization request, I directed the Department of Finance officials to move forward expeditiously on this request.
    I am pleased to say that we have moved forward with an advance payment of $32 million of fiscal stabilization for the province of Newfoundland and Labrador in these difficult times.

Natural Resources

    Mr. Speaker, it is no secret the Prime Minister surrounds himself with anti-oil activists, people like Zoe Caron who believes fossil fuels must stay in the ground, or his principal secretary who compares supporting oil to encouraging children to smoke.
    Well, the Liberals have their way. Alberta investment is down 62%. In fact, oil is staying in the ground and the entire country is suffering because of it.
    Is the Prime Minister ready to abandon his anti-pipeline advice and stand up publicly for Canadian oil and gas?
    Mr. Speaker, yesterday in the House the member for Grande Prairie—Mackenzie urged the government to approve a pipeline project before it even had been registered with the regulator. He asked the government to approve a pipeline project before one community had been consulted, before one indigenous leader had been phoned.
    This is not the way to get projects approved. This is why we will do it a different way. We will not take for granted that people agree with us before we even ask them.
    Mr. Speaker, the people in Alberta are looking for a government that will proudly stand up for Canadian oil and gas, not act coy and shy when it becomes convenient for it.
    If that is not bad enough, the Minister of Environment says that over time they are going to block development in the oil sands. In other words, that is the end of the oil and gas industry in Canada. How can the oil patch expect investment when one of the Liberal's most prominent ministers is suggesting that the government has a plan to shut them down?
    Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister has said that there is no contradiction between building wind turbines and pipelines. He has said it is a principal responsibility of the Government of Canada to move our natural resources to market sustainably. That is why we are following a process that will consult with Canadians and give people the chance to understand that in this day and age we develop the economy sustainably, with one eye on the environment and the other on job creation. That is the way we will move forward sustainably.

  (1450)  

    Mr. Speaker, Canadians deserve a straight answer from the Liberals. The Prime Minister creates instability and uncertainty in the energy sector. He appointed the justice minister who has opposed pipeline projects. His senior advisers are against Alberta's responsibly developed oil sands. He ignores Albertans who just want to get back to work.
    A strong Alberta means a strong Canada. Will the Prime Minister finally support Canadian energy through crucial infrastructure projects like trans mountain and energy east?
    Mr. Speaker, we understand that the natural resource sector in Canada accounts for 20% of the GDP. We know that Canada's economic future depends on a healthy energy sector. We also understand that in order to ensure that our natural resources move to markets sustainably, we need a regulatory process that has the confidence of Canadians. That is why we have established a set of principles that we are confident will much more likely get us to that place than what happened with the previous government.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, according to anonymous sources, the Prime Minister is supposedly now in favour of building certain pipelines. Really? In reality, the Liberals are standing in the way of proponents who are trying to develop the economy. That is not surprising since the Prime Minister's entourage is full of activists who want to block energy sector projects.
    Will the Prime Minister rise in the House and say that he supports the workers and families who depend on the energy sector?

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, our budget demonstrates in real terms how we support workers who are suffering from low commodity prices. This is true in Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Newfoundland and Labrador.
    We also understand that Canada is poised to become an international leader in green technology, which is why the budget invests many millions of dollars on the next wave of energy development in Canada, while we understand that we will move fossil fuels to market sustainably.

[Translation]

Canada Revenue Agency

    Mr. Speaker, today at the Standing Committee on Finance, the Liberals rejected the NDP motion to call the Minister of National Revenue to testify about the KPMG affair. We know that the Liberals promised Canadians a responsible, accountable, transparent government, but they looked like a bunch of Conservatives in committee today.
    Canadians are angry about the KPMG affair and the Panama papers, and the Minister of National Revenue owes them an explanation.
     Why is the minister refusing to step up and explain to Canadians and the committee the difference between her statements in the House and the KPMG affair and the facts that have been revealed?
    Mr. Speaker, I would like to reassure the House.
    All Canadian taxpayers are treated fairly. Regardless of income, our $440-million announcement in the latest budget is proof of that. I would like to be clear about KPMG. The fact is that the Canada Revenue Agency exposed the scheme. The agency audited taxpayers and took legal action. Yesterday's announcement confirms our commitment to preventing entities from promoting such schemes.
    Mr. Speaker, that is not what we want to know. We want to know whether she will appear before the Standing Committee on Finance.

[English]

    My question is for the chair of the finance committee. This morning, the Liberal members of the committee voted down my motion to have the Minister of National Revenue appear to answer questions regarding the amnesty given to tax cheats in the KPMG affair. She said in the House on March 10 that there is no such amnesty, and we believe that she has to explain herself.
    Could the chair of the finance committee confirm that there are currently no plans to have the minister appear on this very important issue to Canadians?
    Mr. Speaker, there was a discussion at committee this morning. There were two motions before the committee, and the meeting had to adjourn before the second one was completely discussed. I would make a point that one of our members on committee suggested that most all of this activity happened under the previous government in terms of the way that it operated. This minister does not hold responsibility for those discussions, but the committee would consider bringing this minister before the committee after we hold the initial hearings on KPMG and CRA.

Natural Resources

    Mr. Speaker, industry has said that investment in Alberta's oil sands will be down more than $60 billion over the past two years, a 63% decrease since 2014. Hundreds of thousands of Albertans have lost their jobs, and they are losing their homes. The Prime Minister has told Albertans that they should hang in there and they should be thankful that things are not worse.
    We cannot wait for things to get worse. When is the Liberal government finally going to make an investment in Canada's national energy program?

  (1455)  

    Mr. Speaker, I have had the pleasure of representing Canada at a number of international meetings and to talk with those who are looking at investments in the energy sector. They all agree that Canada has been and will continue to be a very important international market for energy. It is our goal as the government to develop these energy sources, particularly in Alberta and Saskatchewan, which will make Canada, after these low commodity prices pass, again a major place of investment and confidence internationally.

[Translation]

Small Business

    Mr. Speaker, clearly the communications specialists working for the Liberal Party have taken over the budget. When there is no content, they simply step up the rhetoric and press repeat. The truth behind the empty rhetoric is that they have no plan and are incapable of creating one.
    Small businesses have been betrayed by this government, which has repeatedly broken its promise to reduce the corporate tax rate. In my region, the president of the chamber of commerce is publicly asking whether the government realizes that small business is crucial to economic recovery.
    Will the Minister of Economic Development stop the broken record and finally give a real answer?
    Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for his question.
    We have a plan that will work very well for Canadians and small businesses.

[English]

    We have a budget and we encourage members opposite to read the budget. They can make hand gestures all they want, but we know that we have a plan. Canadians know that we have a plan, and that is what they elected us to do. Our government is making very important investments directly in helping small businesses.
    Some hon. members: Oh, oh!
    Hon. Bardish Chagger: If they would like to listen, I can give them some details that they are welcome to read as well. Five hundred—
    The hon. member for Edmonton Riverbend.

Employment

    Mr. Speaker, Liberals in Edmonton campaigned on deficits and told us, “Don't worry. We got this, and it will only cost you $10 billion a year.” It is now three times that much. They also told Albertans, “Don't worry; we know what's best for your region.” Edmonton's economy has been seriously impacted and we were completely left out of the EI expansion. We are told that we should be thankful and pleased at the work of the Prime Minister. Honestly, how can the Liberals be so out of touch with what is happening in western Canada?
    Mr. Speaker, I can assure the member that we are hardly not relating to the situation in Edmonton. As I was previously involved in the geological sciences, I know exactly what many people are facing. In fact, the folks in Edmonton are going to benefit from the over $2-billion investment that we made in supports for all workers in all regions, including Edmonton, Quebec, and Newfoundland. There are many benefits that will help those in Edmonton.

[Translation]

Science

    Mr. Speaker, scientific research plays an important role in growing a clean economy. I see that every day in my riding through the work done by the researchers, professors, and students at the Longueuil campus of the Université de Sherbrooke.
    Can the Minister of Science tell the House about the initiatives proposed in the budget to promote research and innovation?
    Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for the question. The government is committed to supporting discovery-based science.

[English]

    Budget 2016 provides $95 million per year to the granting councils to support discovery research, which is the largest investment in more than a decade.
    According to the Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences, these investments demonstrate the government's commitment to making Canada a leader in knowledge production and innovation.

International Trade

    The Liberal budget showed a complete neglect for Canadian agriculture, and it is a slap in the face to the 2.2 million Canadians who rely on the industry. However, there is one thing the government can do to help Canadian farmers and farm families: ratify the trans-Pacific partnership. Farmers support it. Small businesses support it. The energy sector supports it. The only one we do not know about is the Liberal government.
    Can the minister stand in her place today and commit to bringing the TPP to this House for ratification?

  (1500)  

    Mr. Speaker, as the daughter of a farmer, I am proud of the support by our government for farmers. That has been manifested in our success with getting the discriminatory COOL legislation repealed, which is something that the previous government opposite failed to do.
    Our commitment to free trade is manifested in our hard work on CETA, which legal scrub we have completed. Again, that is something the party opposite failed to do.
    We are consulting on TPP, and that is the right thing to do as well.

Search and Rescue

    We have now learned that the Liberal government is looking at privatizing search and rescue as part of the defence review. This was an idea that was first raised by the Conservatives five years ago, and finally abandoned only after a public outcry. At that time, the current Minister of Public Services said she was “appalled by the government's notice to companies that the government would be exploring the privatization of search-and-rescue operations”.
    Privatizing search and rescue would clearly put Canadian lives at risk. Will the government do the right thing and abandon this plan?
    Mr. Speaker, the previous government might have been looking at privatizing search and rescue, but I can assure the member that this government is not, because the Canadian Armed Forces play a critical role in search and rescue.

Economic Development

    Mr. Speaker, last month I had the opportunity to announce $4.84 million for the Bioenterprise Corporation in Guelph. Could the Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development please inform the House about this exciting new investment?
    Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the hon. member for Guelph for his question and his continued effort to raise the business needs of his riding.
    Guelph and the surrounding region is a hub of innovation and entrepreneurship, and this investment of $4.84 million to Bioenterprise is a prime example of our commitment to cultivating and encouraging creativity, invention, and collaboration.
    I am proud to say that budget 2016 focuses on expanding our start-ups and strengthening our innovation clusters to help create opportunities for long-term development and sustainable economic growth.
    It is about growing the economy and creating jobs.

Public Safety

    Mr. Speaker, troubling reports out of the United Kingdom indicate that a Canadian terror suspect is being pursued with respect to possible risks to the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge travelling in India.
    I ask that the Minister of Public Safety update the House and confirm that CSIS and all of our security agencies are providing co-operation in this international investigation.
    Mr. Speaker, obviously I would not comment on any specific operational matter, but I can also confirm what the hon. gentleman implied in his question, that in circumstances where international co-operation is required, most certainly CSIS, the RCMP, the CBSA, and every agency under the authority of the Government of Canada, co-operate fully with our international partners.

[Translation]

The Environment

    Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Environment and Climate Change has lost her battle: her colleague, the Minister of Finance, has convinced the Prime Minister to move forward with the energy east pipeline. The Prime Minister has given up on refereeing. He has asked for a strategy, a plan, I imagine, to impose this pipeline on Quebec. Never mind social licence, never mind the Paris commitments, never mind the green shift.
    Is that the kind of influence the 40 members from Quebec have within this government?
    Mr. Speaker, we have a regulatory strategy. Our government wants to work with the provinces and territories to reduce carbon pollution no matter what the energy system looks like in the different jurisdictions. This is about reducing carbon pollution, which is fuelling climate change, and not about closing or keeping anything in the ground, as some are suggesting. We have a transition process for all projects, and we will look at every project individually to be sure that it is something that makes sense for the environment and—
    The hon. member for Montcalm.

Ethics

    Mr. Speaker, the government wants to fight climate change, but not at the expense of western oil companies. It wants to believe in the rule of law, but it changes the law to accommodate Air Canada. It wants to stand up for social justice, but it will not deprive its friends on Bay Street of their tax haven in Barbados. It wants to defend human rights, as long as that does not affect its business dealings with Saudi Arabia.
    At what price does this government sell out its principles?

  (1505)  

    Mr. Speaker, ours is a principled government. With respect to the issues he mentioned, I would like to remind my colleague that our amendment to the Air Canada Public Participation Act will result in the creation of maintenance jobs in Quebec, Manitoba, and Ontario. Air Canada will also help establish two centres of excellence in Quebec and Manitoba. I would like to add that Bombardier will purchase 45 to 75 planes and that maintenance of these planes will be done in Quebec for 20 years.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, on March 22, when the finance minister tabled the various budget documents associated with his budget, he failed to table the January “Fiscal Monitor”, which shows a Conservative surplus left to the Liberals. They did not like December and they did not like November. Maybe they will like January. Could I get unanimous consent to table this document?
    Does the hon. member have unanimous consent to table the document?
    Some hon. members: Agreed.
     Some hon. members: No.

Presence in Gallery

    I would like to bring to the attention of hon. members the presence in the gallery of His Excellency Sami Al-Araji, chairman of the National Investment Commission of Iraq, and His Excellency Ali Sindi, acting Minister of Industry and Trade of the Kurdistan Region of Iraq.
    Some hon. members: Hear, hear!
    The Speaker: I would also like to draw to the attention of hon. members the presence in the gallery of the Right Honourable Tricia Marwick, M.S.P., Presiding Officer of the Scottish Parliament.
    Some hon. members: Hear, hear!

GOVERNMENT ORDERS

[The Budget]

[English]

The Budget

Financial Statement of Minister of Finance  

    The House resumed consideration of the motion that this House approve in general the budgetary policy of the government, of the amendment, and of the amendment to the amendment.
    Pursuant to an order made on Monday, April 11, the House will now proceed to the taking of the deferred recorded division on the subamendment of Motion No. 2 under Ways and Means proceedings.
    Call in the members.
    And the bells having rung:
    The question is as follows. May I dispense?

  (1510)  

    Some hon. members: Agreed.
    Some hon. members: No.
     [Chair read text of amendment to the amendment to House]

  (1515)  

    (The House divided on the amendment to the amendment, which was negatived on the following division:)
 

(Division No. 34)

YEAS

Members

Angus
Ashton
Aubin
Barsalou-Duval
Beaulieu
Benson
Blaikie
Boudrias
Boulerice
Boutin-Sweet
Brosseau
Cannings
Caron
Choquette
Christopherson
Cullen
Davies
Donnelly
Dubé
Duncan (Edmonton Strathcona)
Dusseault
Duvall
Fortin
Garrison
Gill
Hardcastle
Johns
Jolibois
Julian
Kwan
Laverdière
MacGregor
Malcolmson
Marcil
Masse (Windsor West)
Mathyssen
May (Saanich—Gulf Islands)
Moore
Mulcair
Nantel
Pauzé
Plamondon
Quach
Ramsey
Rankin
Saganash
Sansoucy
Ste-Marie
Stetski
Stewart
Thériault
Trudel
Weir

Total: -- 53


NAYS

Members

Aboultaif
Albas
Albrecht
Aldag
Alghabra
Alleslev
Allison
Ambrose
Amos
Anandasangaree
Anderson
Arnold
Arseneault
Arya
Ayoub
Badawey
Bagnell
Bains
Barlow
Baylis
Beech
Bennett
Bergen
Bernier
Berthold
Bezan
Bibeau
Bittle
Blair
Blaney (Bellechasse—Les Etchemins—Lévis)
Block
Boissonnault
Bossio
Boucher
Brassard
Bratina
Breton
Brison
Caesar-Chavannes
Calkins
Carr
Carrie
Casey (Cumberland—Colchester)
Casey (Charlottetown)
Chagger
Champagne
Chan
Chen
Chong
Clarke
Clement
Cooper
Cormier
Cuzner
Dabrusin
Damoff
DeCourcey
Deltell
Dhaliwal
Dhillon
Di Iorio
Dion
Diotte
Doherty
Dreeshen
Drouin
Dubourg
Duclos
Duguid
Duncan (Etobicoke North)
Dzerowicz
Easter
Eglinski
Ehsassi
El-Khoury
Ellis
Erskine-Smith
Eyking
Eyolfson
Falk
Fast
Fergus
Fillmore
Finley
Finnigan
Fisher
Fonseca
Foote
Fragiskatos
Fraser (West Nova)
Fraser (Central Nova)
Freeland
Fry
Fuhr
Gallant
Garneau
Généreux
Genuis
Gerretsen
Gladu
Goldsmith-Jones
Goodale
Gould
Gourde
Graham
Grewal
Hajdu
Harder
Hardie
Harper
Harvey
Hehr
Hoback
Holland
Housefather
Hussen
Hutchings
Jeneroux
Joly
Jones
Jordan
Jowhari
Kang
Kelly
Kenney
Kent
Khalid
Khera
Kitchen
Kmiec
Lake
Lametti
Lamoureux
Lapointe
Lauzon (Stormont—Dundas—South Glengarry)
Lauzon (Argenteuil—La Petite-Nation)
Lebel
LeBlanc
Lebouthillier
Lefebvre
Lemieux
Leslie
Levitt
Liepert
Lightbound
Lobb
Lockhart
Long
Longfield
Ludwig
Lukiwski
MacAulay (Cardigan)
MacKenzie
MacKinnon (Gatineau)
Maguire
Maloney
Massé (Avignon—La Mitis—Matane—Matapédia)
May (Cambridge)
McCallum
McCauley (Edmonton West)
McColeman
McCrimmon
McDonald
McGuinty
McKay
McKenna
McKinnon (Coquitlam—Port Coquitlam)
McLeod (Kamloops—Thompson—Cariboo)
McLeod (Northwest Territories)
Mendès
Mendicino
Mihychuk
Miller (Ville-Marie—Le Sud-Ouest—Île-des-Soeurs)
Monsef
Morneau
Morrissey
Murray
Nassif
Nater
Nault
Nicholson
Nuttall
Obhrai
O'Connell
Oliphant
Oliver
O'Regan
O'Toole
Ouellette
Paradis
Paul-Hus
Peschisolido
Peterson
Petitpas Taylor
Philpott
Picard
Poilievre
Poissant
Qualtrough
Raitt
Ratansi
Rayes
Reid
Rempel
Richards
Rioux
Ritz
Robillard
Rodriguez
Romanado
Rudd
Ruimy
Rusnak
Sahota
Saini
Sajjan
Sangha
Sarai
Saroya
Scarpaleggia
Scheer
Schiefke
Schmale
Schulte
Serré
Sgro
Shanahan
Sheehan
Shields
Shipley
Sidhu (Mission—Matsqui—Fraser Canyon)
Sidhu (Brampton South)
Sikand
Sohi
Sopuck
Sorbara
Sorenson
Spengemann
Stanton
Strahl
Stubbs
Sweet
Tabbara
Tan
Tassi
Tilson
Tootoo
Trost
Trudeau
Van Kesteren
Van Loan
Vandal
Vandenbeld
Vaughan
Vecchio
Viersen
Virani
Wagantall
Warawa
Warkentin
Watts
Waugh
Webber
Whalen
Wilkinson
Wilson-Raybould
Wong
Wrzesnewskyj
Young
Yurdiga
Zahid
Zimmer

Total: -- 272


PAIRED

Nil

    I declare the subamendment defeated.
    I wish to inform the House that because of the deferred recorded division, government orders will be extended by 10 minutes.
    Resuming debate, the hon. member for Outremont.

  (1520)  

[Translation]

     Mr. Speaker, governing is about priorities, and there is no better indicator of a government's true priorities than its budget choices.

[English]

    Governing is about priorities and it is really in the budget choices that we see what a government is all about. After having promised to take care of the middle class, the very first budgetary measure brought in by the new Liberal government provided the highest tax break for families earning $200,000 a year and provided exactly zero dollars and zero cents for families earning $45,000 a year. What is interesting is that in many provinces across Canada, $45,000 a year is about the average of what a family earns, so it is a bit mystifying for most people to try to understand how the Liberals claim to have helped the middle class when in fact they were helping the richest.
    Budgets are also part of the institutional life of this place. Unlike our American colleagues to the south who have endless additions once a budget is tabled, we have a system where a government's budget is presumed to be adopted. That is why we have a principle of budget secrecy, which is not very well respected by the new government by the way. I remember in particular the Minister of Small Business and Tourism standing up and quite excitedly announcing that there was going to be great news for small businesses in the budget, but we learned that in the budget, the government was cutting the tax break that had been scheduled for small businesses which are the job creators in this country.
    There is also part of the institutional life of this Parliament which is reflected in the fact that all-party budget consultations have always been a tradition. I was Jack Layton's finance critic for many years and these consultations were very important. I and my colleagues would have a chance to listen to people and groups in different regions of Canada about their priorities and what they were hoping to see in the budget. The fact that it was all-party showed that the budget in and of itself often has to be half a notch above the usual partisanship here because it is going to have to be adopted and we are supposed to be listening to what Canadians' priorities are.
    I was surprised, not to say shocked, when in January I heard that the new finance minister had taken it upon himself to hold his own budget consultations. It is not bad that a finance minister has consultations, but the tradition is to include the other parties. When that was pointed out to him, he just said that there was not enough time. That was pure bafflegab. That simply was false. He was making that up. He was not respecting tradition. Sunny ways have always promised us that it is going to be better, that the government is going to be more open, more transparent, but all of a sudden, we learned that sunny ways and sunny days also mean that the government does not have to listen to anybody else and it certainly does not have to bring the other recognized parties in Parliament to the consultations.
    If we thought that was a one-off, we soon learned that the other budget tradition in the House, which is that the finance minister always addresses a letter to the leaders of the other parties asking them about their priorities, was not respected. We were getting so close to the budget; it was about 72 hours before the budget presentation when I took it upon myself to write that letter with our priorities to the finance minister, because he had not respected that parliamentary tradition either.
    Both of those events pointed to something quite troubling for me: a new government that talks a good game, but we really have to watch what it actually does. It is not only about promising to help the middle class but instead doing nothing for the middle class and helping the wealthiest, it is also about important parliamentary traditions that allowed us in the past to get together to build budgets.
    I took it upon myself to carry out my own tour, from Halifax to Victoria, from southwestern Ontario to northern Saskatchewan. I met with hard-hit resource workers in western Canada who worry that the employment insurance they thought they were going to get is not there. The Liberals will talk, as the Prime Minister did again today, about the changes to employment insurance in the budget, but all that changed was the number of unemployed people who are not eligible for EI from 850,000 to 800,000. Members heard that number right. Eight hundred thousand Canadians who have lost their jobs are not eligible for EI, despite a promise from the Liberals during the election campaign to bring in the 360-hour rule and to get rid of the unfair changes wrought by the Conservatives.

  (1525)  

    There is nothing in here to help families buried in household debt. Canadians have the highest household debt of the G20. Skyrocketing child care costs are not addressed either. It still costs over $2,000 a month to have an infant in child care in Toronto. That makes no sense, and of course, it is women who pay the price.
    I listened attentively when the Prime Minister described himself as a feminist. Well, someone who is a feminist would be trying to put in place programs to help women. It is in fact women who often have to make the tough choices and the sacrifices in their careers when affordable quality child care is not available.
    I will never forget Kathleen Wynne chiming in to fight affordable, quality child care during the last election campaign. If she ever again tries to style herself as a progressive, I will be there, front and centre, to remind Ontarians that she fought quality, affordable child care.
    That would be the same Kathleen Wynne with the big progressive budget, where she is now proposing to privatize Ontario's Hydro One. She just forgot to mention that when she was selling herself as a progressive during the last campaign.
    I also met call centre and airport workers who work their full 40 hours a week and still live in poverty because we do not have a decent federal minimum wage. We wanted to bring the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour. I will never forget the current Prime Minister during the campaign saying it does not apply to people in big box stores. No, the federal government does not regulate big box stores, but it does regulate airport workers, call centre workers, and hundreds of thousands of Canadians could have gotten a raise with a $15 an hour federal minimum wage.
    I listened to those indigenous communities that suffer boil water advisories, systematically underfunded schools and health, and a mental health crisis few can imagine, and that we will be debating on an emergency basis here in the House tonight. I am so proud of my colleagues who brought that forward so we can finally have a full airing of the issue here.
    Many Canadians get a sense that the deck is stacked against them, and they want their government to be there to help them. We in the NDP have always considered that as social democrats our prime responsibility is to reduce inequality in our society. We have always understood that the best way to assure perennity of anything that the government does is to make sure that we have fully funded universal social programs, like child care and pharmacare. We will continue to reduce inequality in our society by proposing that we bring in universal, fair, social programs across the country.
    I remember, the signals came very early. The new families minister gave an interview very early and warned people that things were going to have to wait. However, what did not have to wait was for CEOs to keep their stock option tax loophole.
    During the campaign, the Liberals many a time mimicked NDP undertakings, so when we said that we simply could not accept that in a country as wealthy as Canada one million children were going to school hungry, and we were going to do away with the $800 million gift we were making to CEOs who do not pay their fair share of taxes because they are allowed to have stock options tax loopholes, the Liberals imitated that promise word for word. They said they were going to do away with it. Then about eight weeks before the budget, they started backing away from it. That is their new theme song, like a truck backing up. We can hear the beep, beep, beep.
    There it was. All of a sudden, for what was promised, they said maybe they would do half in this budget. Lo and behold, the budget arrived and there was not a single line on removing the CEO stock option tax loophole.

  (1530)  

[Translation]

    Canada's economy has grown by 50% in the past 30 years. It was workers who were responsible for this 50% increase in a single generation. However, these workers' incomes are stagnating, and many of their jobs are being outsourced.
    Inequality is growing faster in Canada than in any other G20 country. Today, the 100 richest Canadians, at the upper end of the scale, have more wealth than the 10 million Canadians at the lower end of the scale. That is unacceptable.
    In Canada, the average CEO earns 200 times more than a worker. The rich are earning more and more, while middle-class workers are losing their good jobs. The number of precarious, part-time, and temporary jobs is on the rise.
     I want to get back to the progressive Ontario government, whose members have come up with my favourite euphemisms.

  (1535)  

[English]

    The euphemism factory that is the Kathleen Wynne Ontario Liberal government came up with my favourite. Instead of talking about part-time, precarious, temporary jobs, it calls them CMEs, contemporary mobile employment—what normal people would call lousy jobs. In fact, the CIBC put out a study recently that proved that these are the worst-quality jobs that we have seen in a full generation.
    So it has been promise after promise.
    Sixty billion dollars in tax giveaways provided nothing to stimulate the economy. Last year the banks made $35 billion in profit and paid their directors $12 billion in bonuses while at the same time shipping thousands of good-paying Canadian jobs out of the country.
    The stock option tax loophole should have been gotten rid of. Small businesses should have been given a break because they do create the majority of jobs in this country, but we know that when the Liberals talk about helping workers, they are most often helping the richest.

[Translation]

    With respect to employment insurance, the Liberals and Conservatives managed to divert more than $55 billion from the employment insurance fund. Workers and their employers contribute to this fund so that they have access to assistance when the economy is struggling and more people lose their jobs, as is the case right now.
    The Liberals called out the Conservatives when they locked the EI fund up tight, but the Liberals are the ones who invented the idea of dipping into the EI fund. Imagine our surprise when the government proposed taking another $7 billion from the fund in this budget. Canadians and first nations communities deserve better.
     On the weekend, Cindy Blackstock explained that in light of the Human Rights Tribunal's decision, $230 million was missing from the budget.

[English]

    That is worth explaining.
    We have a decision of the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal requiring the government to stop racial discrimination against first nations youth. There is $130 million missing in the budget for child welfare and $230 million missing for education. This is not a question of personal choice. This is not a question of opinion. The courts have ruled this is a case of racial discrimination. When it is a case of racial discrimination, we have to remove the discrimination. The Liberals did not do that. It is shameful.
    There is not a single mention of the 94 recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in the budget.
    For anybody who thought there might be a little bit of breathing room given when the Liberals promised to reinvest $3 billion in home care, there was not one dollar. That would have taken some pressure off our severely taxed health and social service system—notably, the hospitals across this country.
    Only half of the promised money was there for transit. More and more, we are going to see tolls and user fees coming in.
    Now I have to spend a minute talking about my favourite broken promise on the part of the Liberals.
    Members might recall that I asked thePrime Minister if he was going to respect his personal solemn promise to restore door-to-door mail delivery. I hope members remember his answer, because I will never forget it. He said the seniors, the mobility-reduced seniors living in our downtown cores who believed him when he promised to restore door-to-door mail delivery, should have actually gone online, and if they had consulted the platform of the Liberal Party, they would have noticed that it was slightly different from what he promised when he was standing beside Mayor Coderre of Montreal when he wanted to win some votes.
    There is a message there from the Prime Minister, the same person who always laments how cynical it has become in politics. What could be more cynical than looking at that mobility-reduced senior and saying, “Sorry, sucker. You should have read the fine print. You should never have believed a word I said”?

  (1540)  

[Translation]

    If we took the money needed to pay for the life cycle of one F-35, we could pay the tuition of 100,000 young people.

[English]

    Members heard that right.
    Over the life cycle of each F-35—the ones they cancelled in the middle of the campaign but are sort of not really cancelled anymore—each one is going to cost well over $1 billion. We know how much that is: it is enough to help pay the tuition for 100,000 Canadian youth. We find that is also shameful. The Liberals are spending money on F-35s when we have the greatest student indebtedness ever in the history of Canada.
    There is also a total lack of any credible climate change program. It is mind-boggling. I get to sit here in front of the Minister of Environment and Climate Change, and her answers on greenhouse gas reductions in Canada are so spectacularly vapid that it defies understanding. She stands day after day and talks about a regulatory approach in which somehow the province is responsible. It was Canada that signed. Remember “Canada is back”? Unfortunately, Canada came back with the Conservatives' timelines and their program.
    The Liberals have no plan whatsoever. It is a complete and utter fraud when the Liberals talk about reducing greenhouse gases in Canada. Yes, it is 2016; unfortunately, in 2017 we are going to produce more greenhouse gases, and when it is 2018, we are going to produce even more. We have no plan whatsoever from our federal government to reduce greenhouse gases. Canada is not doing its share to combat global warming.
    That is why New Democrats were clear. The only way to judge this budget is not on what the Liberals said but what they have actually done.

[Translation]

    Did they take practical steps to reduce inequality in Canada, yes or no? They did nothing.

[English]

    When the Liberals refuse to ask big banks, profitable corporations, and wealthy CEOs to pay their fair share of taxes, we are left without the fiscal capacity to invest responsibly. As usual in tough economic times, struggling Canadians and the most vulnerable, like first nations youth, are told they have to wait for help, wait for improved employment insurance, wait for a more secure retirement, wait for better health care, and wait for more affordable child care. Canadians have waited long enough.
    As the progressive opposition, our New Democrat team will keep fighting to ensure everyone pays their fair share, everyone is taken care of, and no one is left behind.
    Thank you. Merci. On continue.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the member for Outremont for his passion for democracy.

[English]

    This is a historic budget for investment in children. In 2011 there were 392,105 indigenous children in Canada. The child benefit would do a lot to ensure that these families and single mothers and single fathers will have the means to support and look after their children. Six thousand dollars a year would be going to young mothers who are going to school and living in a one-bedroom apartment, like my friend Melanie. I am proud of Melanie and I hope this child benefit will allow her to complete her education and support her young son.
    There is a problem. We need to ensure, though, that provincial governments do not roll back these supports, especially for families on social assistance. Is the NDP willing to work to ensure that provinces make a difference in the lives of our most vulnerable citizens and do not claw back these benefits?
    Mr. Speaker, I thank my hon. colleague for his question.

[Translation]

     I thank him, but I do not understand why he referred to me as “membre” in French. However, I will proceed.

[English]

    He knows that the suicide rates among indigenous youth are many times higher than the national average, and so are levels of unemployment. That is why I am disappointed that the Liberals have failed to live up to their promises to first nations youth.
    Despite a ruling from the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal ordering the government to end its discriminatory underfunding of child welfare services on reserves, this budget would shortchange first nations education by $230 million and first nations child welfare by $130 million this year alone.
     Instead of asking us what provinces are doing, why does the member not assume the responsibilities of his government at the federal level, which is to meet the requirements set down by the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal?
    The Liberals are all talk and no action.

  (1545)  

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, first, allow me to express my respect for the dignified conduct of the leader of the second opposition party on Sunday in Edmonton. He is truly an inspiration to everyone in politics.
    I have had the pleasure of knowing the leader of the second opposition party for years. Many issues divide us. However, during the last election campaign, one thing that united our two parties, the Conservative Party and the NDP, was the fact that we did not want Canada to end up with another deficit.
    This government was voted in on an election promise that it would run a very small deficit of $10 billion. Now reality is catching up to the government. The deficit is three times greater than planned.
    I would like to hear what the hon. member for Outremont has to say about that situation. Is he pleased to see that this government, which was elected on a promise to run a small deficit, is now planning to run a deficit that is three times greater?
    Mr. Speaker, with thanks to my colleague, I would like to say that the biggest deficit lies in their credibility. They spoke a great deal during the election campaign about helping people out. That is what I find myself focusing on every time I speak on this issue.
     It is not as if we had a narrow vision on this subject. We have always said that in times of economic difficulty, it is necessary to spend to avoid chaos. I said so during the campaign, and we were the first to say so in 2008. If people are going to be suffering, people who have lost their jobs, the government has to help them out, instead of stealing $7 billion from the employment insurance fund.
     That is what we would have done, and that is what is sadly missing with the Liberals, who tend to leave people out in the cold, instead of reducing the inequalities in our society.
    Mr. Speaker, I too would like to thank the hon. member for Outremont and leader of the NDP for the tireless work he has done and all the energy he has invested since becoming party leader after the death of Jack Layton.
     I am happy that he talked about the credibility deficit, because the government has given ample evidence of this on the employment insurance issue, as was mentioned by the leader of the NDP. While there are a few satisfactory measures that we support, the budget falls short on reversing the employment insurance reform that was implemented by the previous government in 2012.
     The current government promised to reverse that reform, not just some parts of it. Among other things, it is talking about extending benefits by five weeks for certain regions, not for the whole country. The previous government eliminated what was called the pilot project, which put an end to the black-hole period between the end of benefits and the start of employment income for seasonal workers. Benefit extensions are being granted for 12 regions of the country, but there is nothing for Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, New Brunswick, and the parts of Quebec and Ontario that are suffering.
     I would like to hear the comments of the hon. member for Outremont on the Liberal government's double standard.
    Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for his question.
     Indeed, we have only to consider the hon. member for Beauséjour, who is today the House leader of the new Liberal government, to see all the promises that were made and the gap that has opened up when it comes to keeping those promises.
     He is a member from New Brunswick, where people are suffering a great deal. Not only is there a real, endemic budgetary problem in that province, but the difficulties in western Canada have had a boomerang effect, because a great many New Brunswickers earned their salary out there and then brought it back home to their families in New Brunswick.
    This is an extremely serious problem, and the Liberals have managed to invent a system where, even in places with a huge increase in unemployment, they are doing nothing for people because people are not recognized as being part of a specific category. It is all pure theory. Everyone who loses a job has an equal need for assistance. It is absurd to start dividing things up as they are doing.
    Instead of defending ministers who are scheming for their funding, I want to hear him stand up one day and tell us that, finally, the Liberals are going to keep their promises on employment insurance. In saying this I am thinking of my friend and former colleague, Yvon Godin. Employment insurance should be there for everyone when they lose their job.

  (1550)  

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, I also want to begin by telling my hon. colleague, the leader of the New Democratic Party, how much I respect his dignity, his perseverance, and his being in the House today to present a very important speech on this budget.
    I find the budget deeply disappointing and perplexing. I know the hon. leader dedicated much of his speech to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, the important priorities and promises that were made to first nations. It is too easy to condemn what is in the budget. There are $8.4 billion for first nations, but there is, undoubtedly, a failure to meet the requirements for the care and protection of first nations children. That part is still a gap.
    I want to ask a question for the member. There is a gap on environmental protection. In this place, all opposition parties in 2012 fought hard against the omnibus budget bill, Bill C-38, which destroyed habitat protection under the Fisheries Act and destroyed the Environmental Assessment Act. Those devastating changes are not being reversed.
    Will the hon. leader of the New Democratic Party agree with me and join in a call that the current Liberal government reverse immediately the destruction of habitat protection for our fisheries?
    Mr. Speaker, I will also add that the Navigable Waters Protection Act, a piece of legislation that is over 100 years old, was a precursor for the world in how to protect the environment. It was also gutted by the Conservatives, and the Liberals have not given the slightest indication that they are going to bring it back, despite the fact that they promised 25 times that they would do just that.
    I was with the member in Paris, so she knows as well as I do that the Liberals perpetrated a fraud on Canadians when they claimed they were doing something about climate change. It is completely false. They have no plan whatsoever. Canada is going to be increasing its greenhouse gas emissions every single year of the current government. That is a failure. It is a failure for future generations. It is a failure to follow through on a key promise it was making.
    Therefore, yes, I could not agree more with my colleague from the Green Party that, on matters of the environment, like many other areas, the Liberals talk a good game; but actions speak louder than words, and they completely fall short on these crucial issues. There is nothing more important for the future of the planet than for us to start doing something about climate change.
    In Canada, for 20 years, there have been successive Liberal and Conservative governments. The Liberals signed it the last time and went on to have one of the worst records in the world. The Conservatives were climate change deniers. Now the Liberals are back in power, arms wide open in Paris, saying Canada is back. Yes, we are back with the Conservative plan, the Conservative timeline, the Conservative targets, and they will not even meet those.
    Mr. Speaker, I will be sharing my time with my colleague, the member for Scarborough Centre.
    It is an honour to rise in the House today and speak in favour of budget 2016. During the last election and through extensive pre-budget consultations, I heard personally from many people in Oakville. Oakvillians shared their concerns about jobs and job security. Many felt trapped in poor-quality jobs or had family members who were struggling in a sluggish economy.
    Young families expressed concerns about the cost of day care and their struggles to make ends meet. Many seniors and young Canadians said they also were having difficulty making ends meet. The root causes were different, and different solutions will be required, but if we do not act to help, the outcome is the same: people trapped in poverty or people trapped in underemployment.
    The Town of Oakville, Halton Region, and many business owners talked about failing infrastructure and problems with road congestion. Owners of small and medium-sized businesses spoke about their concerns with access to trained workforces and support for the innovation and entrepreneurship that has been a staple of the Canadian economy. They are also worried about the slow economy and the need for revitalization and stimulus.
    Social agencies expressed concerns about housing, poverty, inadequate shelters from violence, and care for the elderly. Green advocates like the Halton Environmental Network and Oakvillegreen raised concerns about reliance on greenhouse gases and the need to move our economy from a carbon dependency.
    Many residents of Oakville were concerned about the loss of federal investments in arts and culture, and particularly the reduction in funding to the CBC.
     The reason I am so honoured to rise and speak today is my confidence that this budget will begin to address these myriad concerns and many others that I have not specifically addressed. Let me speak to some of the specific budget provisions.
    For young families, budget 2016 would introduce the Canada child benefit. This would provide families with a maximum benefit of up to $6,400 per child under the age of six, and up to $5,400 per child aged six through 17. With the Canada child benefit, more than three million families would receive more benefits than before—on average, $2,300 more per year, tax-free. This would lift almost 300,000 children out of poverty.
    For young Canadians, budget 2016 would ensure that students graduating from college or university would not have to start paying back their student loans until they make at least $25,000 in annual income. Budget 2016 would boost grants to low- and middle-income college and university students by as much as $1,000 per year. This measure would put more money in the pockets of 360,000 students a year.
    The introduction of a flat-rate student contribution to determine eligibility for Canada student grants and loans would encourage students to work and gain valuable labour market experience while studying. This measure would provide assistance of $268 million over four years. Employment opportunities for youth are also planned through an investment of an additional $165 million in 2016-17 for the youth employment strategy, and $300 million over three years for the Canada summer jobs program to create 35,000 additional youth jobs each year.
    When I met with young Canadians who were progressing after post-secondary education with jobs and low debt, many had benefited from co-op placements. Co-op placements provide essential networks and in-year funding to help with educational costs. Support for new co-op placements and work-integrated learning opportunities for young Canadians is planned in the budget through an investment of $73 million over four years for the post-secondary partnership and co-op placement initiative.
    To help universities and colleges develop highly skilled workers, to act as engines of discovery and support the growth of innovative firms, budget 2016 would provide up to $2 billion over three years for strategic projects to improve research and innovation infrastructure.
    For seniors, the budget would increase the guaranteed income supplement benefit for single seniors up to $947 annually to help lift low-income single seniors out of poverty. This measure represents an investment of $670 million per year and would improve the financial security of about 900,000 single seniors across Canada.
     The government would restore the eligibility age for old age security and guaranteed income supplement benefits to 65, which would put thousands of dollars back in the pockets of Canadians as they become seniors.

  (1555)  

    Budget 2016 provides infrastructure support for the construction, repair and adaption of affordable housing for seniors through an investment of $201 million over two years to help the many seniors facing challenges in accessing affordable housing.
    To improve the retirement income security for all working Canadians, the government has begun discussions with the provinces and territories to enhance the Canada pension plan, a portable, low-cost and defined benefit pension.
    To grow the economy and create jobs, phase 1 of the infrastructure plan invests $11.9 billion to build roads, bridges, improve public transit, improve water and waste water facilities, and refurbish affordable housing. This will create tens of thousands of jobs and boost the economy. Specifically, the government will invest $3.4 billion over the next three years to upgrade and improve public transit; $5 billion over five years for investments in water, waste water, and green infrastructure projects; and $3.4 billion over five years for social infrastructure, including affordable housing, early learning and child care, and cultural and recreational infrastructure.
    In addition to the new funding announced in budget 2016, the government will continue to make available approximately $3 billion each year in dedicated funding for municipal infrastructure projects through the gas tax fund and incremental goods and service tax rebates for municipalities.
    To help businesses and manufacturers of all sizes, budget 2016 makes available up to $800 million over four years, starting in 2017-18, to support innovation, networks and clusters.
    To support an innovative automotive sector, budget 2016 announces the extension of the automotive innovation fund through to the end of 2021. The government will also examine approaches to maximize the impact of federal support offered to the automotive sector, including assessing the terms of the fund.
    To assist the transition to lower carbon transportation fuels, budget 2016 provides $62 million over two years to support the deployment of electric vehicles and alternative transportation fuels infrastructure.
    Building on Canada's proud history in space and to create employment opportunities for the space industry sector, budget 2016 proposes to provide up to $379 million over eight years for the Canadian Space Agency to extend Canada's participation in the international space station to 2024.
    For small and medium-sized enterprises that are receiving advice and project financing through the industrial research assistance program, budget 2016 proposes to provide the program with a further $50 million in 2016-17.
    Budget 2016 invests in the Canadian cultural sector to create jobs and ensure that our unique Canadian perspective is shared with the world. Included in this allocation are $1.3 billion in support for long-standing arts and cultural organizations, such as the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, Radio-Canada, the Canada Council for the Arts, Telefilm Canada, and the National Film Board.
    Canada will also be able to showcase Canadian artists and cultural industries abroad with an investment of $35 million over two years, which will immediately help Canadian foreign missions promote Canadian culture and creativity on the world stage, particularly in the lead-up to the Canada 150 celebrations.
     As I said at the outset, I am proud to rise and speak to the benefits of this budget for the people of Oakville, for Canadians and for our economy. This budget specifically addresses the concerns I have heard in my community. It puts us on a course for economic growth, expands opportunities for the middle class, and for those striving to be in the middle class.
     Finally, this budget allows the government to reach out with help for those most in need in our communities.

  (1600)  

    Mr. Speaker, I have to admit that I am more torn than I want to be with respect to this budget. I was expecting so much more. I really did believe we would see the kinds of investments into infrastructure that would stimulate our economy, thus justifying the deep deficit. I find myself so deeply disappointed that the $120 billion for infrastructure spending is 90% tilted to after the next election. We see $11.9 billion in infrastructure, but that is for phase one, which is five years long. The other 90% of what is promised for infrastructure is supposed to come mostly in years seven, eight, nine and ten.
    As a Liberal member of Parliament, does he believe this budget is like training wheels on a bike and next year we will see the real budget? This falls so far short of what we had been led to believe we would see for the environment, for first nations, and for infrastructure. I feel as though there is another shoe about to drop somewhere.
    Mr. Speaker, this budget is about an inclusive and fair Canada. It is about families, and I did not mention the tax cut for the middle class. It is about supporting families through the Canada child benefit. It is about growing a robust economy.
    The infrastructure investments that I recited are there, and they are significant investments. What I like best about them is that those dollars go directly to the communities to make decisions on what is most important to their communities. Therefore, we have spending decisions being made very close to where the dollars are needed, and that maximizes the federal investment.
    I am very proud of this budget. I believe it fulfills the commitments that were made during the election period.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, during question period today, I asked about what the government is really doing to help small and medium-sized businesses, which are the real job creators in Canada. The government broke another one of its promises, the one about cutting the small business tax rate from 11% to 9%.
    That drew a reaction from the president of the local chamber of commerce in my region. He was concerned about the size of the deficit in the latest budget and the fact that our grandchildren will be forced to foot the bill.
    The government is making all kinds of announcements and promising to do all kinds of things, but it is not really creating jobs and it does not really have a plan for economic growth. Basically, this budget is more about putting out press releases than actually doing something.
    When will we find out what the government really plans to do? I would like the member to comment on that.
    What will this budget do for small and medium-sized businesses? It is clear to us and to regional stakeholders that this budget contains nothing for them.

  (1605)  

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, perhaps the member was not listening during my 10-minute address, but I recited many examples of the investments that we were making in small and medium-sized businesses to ensure they prospered in Canada. I will not recite them again. Most important, we are investing in the middle class, in families, and in infrastructure to create thousands of new jobs.
    Small and medium-sized businesses need customers. We need a strong and robust middle class to ensure this economy grows and supports those businesses to which the member referred.
    Mr. Speaker, I want to pick up on a point that the member made reference to, which is the tax break for our middle class.
    We need to realize that a major platform issue for the Liberal Party was to give strength to the middle class. We have seen the tax cut incorporated in the budget and whether one is a firefighter, or teacher, or an industry worker, or whatever profession, part of that middle class is getting a substantial tax break. By doing this, we are giving more disposal income to Canada's middle class. Ultimately, we are allowing for more spending, which helps small businesses, families, and the economy.
    Would the member agree that by doing this we are getting a healthier middle class and thereby a healthier Canadian economy? Would he agree that this is a good thing?
    Mr. Speaker, as was mentioned, this budget lowered taxes for nine million people. Nine out of ten Canadians are receiving on average $2,300 more in the Canada child benefit. This is how to grow the middle class, and with growth in the middle class, we are supporting the economy.
     Therefore, I absolutely support the comments that were made by my colleague through his question. I believe we are setting Canada back on the right track for growth in the economy, growth in the middle class, and a fair and equitable country.
    It is a new day for Canadian families, Mr. Speaker, and it is a true privilege to rise in the House to speak in favour of the government's budget. This is a budget that finally gives middle-class families and those working hard to join them a long overdue helping hand.
    My riding of Scarborough Centre is a community of hard-working middle-class families. We are a diverse community hailing from all corners of the world, all proud Canadians working hard to provide a better life for our children.
     We are not afraid of hard work in Scarborough. We know that to put in an honest day's work to provide for our families is a noble thing. It is the responsibility our parents taught us, and we are working hard to instill that in our children.
    For far too long middle-class families have gone without a raise. They have watched their rent go up and groceries get more expensive, while their paycheques never keep up.
    We value hope and hard work, but we also believe that hard-working middle-class families deserve a little help from their government. After a decade in the dark, finally middle-class families have a government that is listening.
    The first thing this government did was to lower taxes for nine million middle-class families, and budget 2016 builds on that investment in our middle class by introducing the Canada child benefit.
    Unlike the program of the previous government, which sent cheques to millionaires who did not need the help, this government's Canada child benefit is targeted to those families that need help the most. Low and middle-income families will receive more benefits under this program and it will not be clawed back when they file their taxes. The program is simpler with families able to count on a single payment every month and it is more generous with eligible families seeing an average annual increase of $2,300.
    Families that earn less than $30,000 will receive the maximum benefit and nine out of ten families will see an increase in benefits. Best of all, thanks to this investment, 300,000 fewer children will be living in poverty by 2016-17 compared to 2014-15.
     For the many families in my riding where both parents are working just to keep up with the cost of living, the Canada child benefit provides much needed relief. Combined with this budget's infrastructure investments in early learning and child care, parents can sleep more soundly at night knowing their children's futures are a little more secure.
    Invariably though, our children grow up. As a mother, I unfortunately see this myself. It is sometimes hard to accept my two boys are now teenagers getting ready to go to university. Soon after that they will be entering the workforce. I worry about the opportunities that will be there for them and if they will have the chance to succeed to their potential.
    My husband and I have been saving for our sons' education and I am lucky to have a job that will make it a little easier to send them off to school. However, not all families have that opportunity. The cost of post-secondary education has been escalating dramatically for years. We are saddling our children with crippling debt just as they try to begin their adult lives.
    I believe there is no better investment a government can make than in our young people. The dollars we invest in post-secondary education will come back to the public coffers many times over as today's confident and dynamic students become tomorrow's innovators and job creators.
    First, we need to give our youth a fair chance at success. With budget 2016, we are giving Canada's youth that opportunity. The budget increases the size of Canada's student grants to help students from low and middle-income families cope with the rising costs of post-secondary education. With assistance of $1.53 billion over five years, students from low-income families will now be eligible for non-repayable grants of up to $3,000 annually, an increase of 50%.
    The government is also expanding eligibility for the Canada student grants program to help even more students receive non-repayable assistance.
    Also, to not unfairly burden recent graduates just beginning their careers or looking for that important first job just out of school, the budget would raise the loan repayment threshold under the Canada student loans program repayment assistance plan to ensure that no student would have to begin repaying their Canada student loans until they earned at least $25,000 per year.

  (1610)  

    Helping with post-secondary education is only part of the process. Canada has a youth unemployment rate that is stubbornly above the national average. Too many young people are graduating from university and having trouble finding that all-important first job, or indeed any job. They are staying in or returning to their parents' homes longer, and delaying beginning their own families as they struggle to begin their professional lives.
    Our government recognizes this challenge, and with budget 2016, we are taking concrete action. We are investing an additional $165.4 million in 2016-17 for the youth employment strategy, and another $105 million over five years in youth services to help young Canadians gain valuable work and life experience.
    As well, with the support of $73 million over four years for the post-secondary industry partnership and co-operative placement initiative, more young Canadians will have access to co-op placement and work-integrated learning opportunities to help them land that important first career-oriented job even sooner.
    We must give our youth the skills to compete in the economy of the future, but we must also ensure that our economy is built on a solid foundation. That means investing in our infrastructure. Businesses will not grow and invest in Canada and hire Canadians if we do not have the infrastructure to ensure their employees can get to work and their goods can get to the market.
    When we talk about deficits, and I know we will in this debate, we cannot forget the infrastructure deficit. This is the delayed investment in our crumbling infrastructure, from highways and transit to ports and sewers, that according to the Federation of Canadian Municipalities, had reached $123 billion by 2014. We cannot afford to pass this debt on to our future generation. Failing to address it puts our future economic prosperity at risk.
    This government is not afraid to act. With budget 2016, our government is tackling this infrastructure deficit with an historic investment of more than $120 billion over 10 years.
     The investment includes $3.4 billion to upgrade and improve public transit systems in Canada. My own community of Scarborough is underserved by higher order transit, and this investment will allow my constituents to get to work more quickly and then back home to their families.
    With $3.4 billion over five years for social infrastructure, our government is finally moving to address the affordable housing crisis in this country. Too many people in Toronto are seeing most of their paycheques going to rent, leaving them to make hard choices when it comes to putting food on the table and investing in their children's future. Affordable housing must become a priority in this country.
     Lastly, but certainly not least, please allow me to talk about Canada's seniors. These are citizens who have worked hard all their lives. They helped to build Canada into one of the greatest countries in the world. We owe it to them to ensure that they have the opportunity to retire with the dignity and security they have earned and deserve.
    However, I know too many seniors in my riding for whom that dream of a secure and dignified retirement is just that, a dream. Too many seniors are finding it more and more difficult to cope with the rising cost of living on a fixed income. More and more seniors are living in poverty. This is a shame that should not be acceptable in a country like Canada.
    This budget takes immediate action to help our most vulnerable seniors by increasing the guaranteed income supplement top-up benefit for single seniors to up to $947 annually to help lift low-income single seniors out of poverty. This is an investment of some $670 million that will provide improved financial security to about 900,000 single seniors across Canada.
    We will also restore the eligibility age for old age security and guaranteed income supplement benefits to age 65, a move that will put thousands of dollars back in the pockets of Canadians as they become seniors.

  (1615)  

    As part of our investment in social infrastructure, budget 2016 includes an investment of $200.7 million over two years to support the construction, repair, and adaptation of affordable housing for seniors to help the many seniors facing challenges in accessible affordable housing.
    There are many more good things in budget 2016, but by investing in our youth, our seniors, and in middle-class families, this budget presents a blueprint for a better Canada, a Canada where