The House resumed consideration of Bill , as reported (with amendments) from the committee, and of the motions in Group No. 1.
Mr. Speaker, bentornato
. Welcome back. It is great to have you back in the chair.
When I left off, I was talking about a challenge that faces our Canadian economy and really puts all of our prosperity at risk, and that is our failure to be a leader in productivity across the world. That noted right-wing commentator, Bill Morneau, actually commented that we are, as he correctly points out, number 25 out of 36 countries in the OECD when it comes to productivity.
That might not mean a lot to Canadians sitting at home or that Canadian who is sitting at home watching CPAC today, but productivity has a tremendous impact on our lives. When we are less productive, that means with every stroke of a pen, we get paid less. That means with every swing of the hammer, we get paid less. With every wire that we fix and with every brick that we lay, Canadians are getting paid less because we are failing on the productivity network. It means there is less opportunity for our children, that there are fewer promotions, and that there are less opportunities for our businesses and many more failures.
While Canada is less productive than many of the G7 and G20 nations, like many other countries, and, in fact, probably more so, we have well-educated and motivated citizens that are ready and willing to work and to lead the world in productivity. The one differentiating factor that Canada has that is separating us from many other G7 countries is our government. Our government has extremely high rates of taxation and regulation that are limiting our ability to be competitive. We are failing as a country to lead the world in productivity because of a self-inflicted wound of excess government, excess taxation and excess regulation.
As we switch from productivity now to innovation, this is another challenge. We are currently sixth out of the G7 in innovation. Once again, we have an amazing populace, are blessed with many natural resources and have a great education system, but we are continuing to fail when it comes to innovation. We have a growing innovation culture out there, including many incubators, such as Venture13 in my own riding, which is doing a terrific job, but we have a challenge.
Once again, it goes back to the government. Our system of legislation and taxation is antiquated, uncompetitive and fails to promote innovation. Our legislative framework fails to protect and to promote the commercialization of intellectual property. Our taxation system fails to reward those who are taking risks with regard to innovation. Other countries around the world are renewing their innovation frameworks, because they know that the first to innovate will be the first to win in the global economy of the 21st century. Unfortunately, Canada is failing to keep pace.
The next area is admittedly more subjective. The human spirit is perhaps the most indomitable force in the universe. My father used to say to me, “If you believe you can, you are right, and if you believe you can't, you are also right.” This is a country that built a railroad across mountains, over and past waterways in the 1800s, an engineering feat that would be impressive today, a feat of political will that would be impressive today, but for a new country starting out in the world, it was almost unthinkable.
We as a country need to focus again on accomplishing great things. We need to not be afraid to win but to be bold and brave and to go after that victory. We need to celebrate those who are winning, because when we undermine those achievers, we are undermining those who very much underpin our communities, our societies and our economies. We must celebrate our job creators, our successful business owners and, indeed, our innovators. As I said, when we demonize our achievers, we undermine those individuals and institutions who are the drivers of our shared prosperity.
While it is incredibly important to be equitable and to make sure there is a fair distribution of a society's wealth, we must not also lose sight of the fact that when we expand the pie, we help everyone, but when that pie shrinks, it is often the most vulnerable who suffer the most. We are a nation capable of great deeds. I believe that the 21st century can belong to Canada.
Our job as the official opposition is not just to criticize, so because time is brief, I will go through three quick proposals that could radically improve our country. First is a complete comprehensive review of the Income Tax Act. Second is a national economic development plan. Third is the construction of an energy corridor.
If we are able to harness all of the great individual wisdom and abilities in our country, there is no doubt we will have a successful next 100 years.
Madam Speaker, as always, it is a privilege to rise in the House on behalf of my constituents in Vaudreuil—Soulanges to speak to Bill concerning the 2022-23 federal budget tabled by the .
This budget reflects the difficult times in which Canadians find themselves. It is a prudent, responsible and considered budget. We must invest in the future of this incredible country that we are fortunate to call home and in the well-being of the citizens and workers, and their families waiting at home. We must invest in the green transition and in the cleaner and more prosperous economy of the future.
This budget comes after two years of great upheaval and uncertainty both here in Canada and abroad. Since March 2020, we have worked relentlessly to help families, small businesses and seniors get by and get better and move forward together as a country despite the unprecedented challenges of this pandemic.
For the members of my community of Vaudreuil—Soulanges and for individuals and families across Canada, this budget is the next step towards a better future in which more Canadians can realize their dream of owning a home, finding a job and living in an environment with better protection that will be enjoyed by future generations.
I would like to thank all those who made budget 2022 possible, especially the constituents I represent in my community of Vaudreuil—Soulanges. Hundreds of them contributed to this budget by sharing their priorities with me by telephone, email or during meetings with my team and me. This budget is their budget, because it is based on the comments I have received to date, and these people see their contributions reflected in this document.
As the hon. noted in her speech, “the strength of a country comes from the strength of its people”. Over the past two years, Canadians have proven that they are resilient.
Everyone deserves the security of a roof over their head, and since 2015, we have worked diligently and consistently to ensure that more Canadians have access to a safe and affordable place to call home. Through record investments in the national housing strategy, we are on track to deliver more than $72 billion in financial support by 2027-28.
The magnitude of the challenges faced in the housing sector necessitate the record investments we are making, and I see and understand the importance of them in my community. In 2021, the median price of a single-family home in Vaudreuil—Soulanges was $520,000, an increase of 25% within the span of a single year. Similar numbers reflect the challenges faced by those in my community who are in the rental market. This is why we have made housing a priority in this budget. In fact, it is the very first chapter of the budget.
In addition to the record investments in the national housing strategy, we are tackling this challenge on multiple fronts.
First, we are looking to double housing construction over the next decade through federal investments. Budget 2022 will provide $1.5 billion over two years, starting in 2022-23, to extend the rapid housing initiative, representing thousands of new affordable housing units, of which at least 25% will focus on women's housing projects.
To ensure an efficient and rapid construction of more housing supply, we also need to address the systems that are preventing more homes from being built. Budget 2022 seeks $4 billion to launch a new housing accelerator fund. With its flexible structure, it will be able to provide cities and communities with annual per-door incentives or upfront funding for municipal housing plans and delivery processes that fit their unique needs.
Another exciting initiative is the introduction of the multi-generational home renovation tax credit. This will provide up to $7,500 in support for constructing a secondary suite for a senior or an adult with a disability, starting in 2023, making it easier for members of my community, who wish to do so, to conduct the necessary work to welcome their aging parent or parents into their home.
The second pillar of our housing strategy focuses on savings. We know that for far too many Canadians, especially young Canadians, owning a home has become seemingly out of reach. To facilitate their entry into the market, we are introducing a tax-free first home savings account that will allow first-time home buyers to save up to $40,000. Contributions would be tax-deductible and withdrawals to purchase a first home would be non-taxable.
On top of this, we are seeking to double the first-time homebuyers’ tax credit amount to $10,000. This would provide up to $1,500 more in direct support to homebuyers, applying to homes purchased on or after January 21, 2022.
Finally, we are ensuring Canadians are front and centre in their own market. This means implementing fair and full tax measures on the profits gathered from flipping properties and banning foreign investments for a predetermined period of time.
In my community, Vaudreuil—Soulanges, we are big supporters of both a healthy economy and a prosperous environment. I am extremely proud of the work we have done to enhance environmental protection measures and of the way our government continues to fight climate change.
Budget 2022 follows up on the promise we made to Canadians to build a greener Canada. We have made great strides, in particular in the transportation sector, which accounts for just under 25% of our greenhouse gas emissions. Bold measures include sales obligations to ensure that at least 20% of new vehicles sold will be zero-emission vehicles by 2026, at least 60% by 2030 and 100% by 2035.
Planning for this transition is important, but it is even more important for us to ensure that it happens by investing in the zero-emission vehicle industry to make vehicles more affordable and accessible. To do so, we allocated an additional $1.7 billion in budget 2022 to extend the incentives for zero-emission vehicles program until March 2025 and to help build the plants and infrastructure these vehicles will require.
Canadians want to continue being at the centre of the fight against climate change. Our government is doing just that by providing more funding for programs like the federal incentives for zero-emission vehicles program. We are helping Canadians reach our net-zero target by 2050.
Finally, and I am quite encouraged by this, we are taking even more actions to eliminate plastic waste. I had the honour of working alongside the former , the member of Parliament for North Vancouver, as his parliamentary secretary to put forward a ban on certain harmful single-use plastics in 2021. Budget 2022 continues on this legacy by investing $183.1 million over five years to continue to reduce plastic waste and increase plastic circularity.
Our actions, past, present and future, will dictate the outcome of our planet and the countless millions of species all around the world we share this beautiful planet's ecosystem with. This is not the time to be idle or complacent. It is a time to be purposeful, and the circumstances demand nothing less.
Finally, I want to speak briefly to budget 2022's commitment to Canadian families. My community of Vaudreuil—Soulanges is one of the fastest-growing in the country, and most of that growth is being fuelled by young families.
That is why I am extremely proud of budget 2022's ongoing commitment to them in two key areas.
First, as all members of the House will recall, our Liberal government made a historic, transformative $30-billion investment over five years for affordable child care. This additional support will help create thousands of new affordable child care spaces, and the qualified early childhood educators we so desperately need will be hired.
Access to high-quality care is wonderful for our children, and making it affordable gives moms and dads equal access to the job market if they want it.
For those reasons and so many more, including the incredible initiative we have put forward to provide all Canadians with dental care within the next several years, on behalf of my community of Vaudreuil—Soulanges, I wholeheartedly support the adoption of Bill , and I encourage all fellow members of the House to support it alongside me.
Madam Speaker, it is nice to be here in the House of Commons. It is also nice to hear about all of these electric vehicles.
The funny thing is that in my constituency, I think we have two places to plug in, maybe three, and my constituency is the size of Prince Edward Island times four. Another interesting fact about electric cars is that, for anybody who is ordering one, it takes about 20 months to get it, and then there is no place to plug it in, so it is a really great option if one lives in rural Canada.
I rise today to speak to the difficult times Canadians are having, which includes the constituents in my home electoral district of Miramichi—Grand Lake. Food, fuel and every aspect of their daily lives are becoming unaffordable, yet the government puts out a budget that would only exacerbate an already bad situation.
I recall that back in September of last year, the government was blaming inflation predominantly on the global pandemic. Sometimes inflation would be blamed on other global phenomena. Recently, the blame seems more pointed towards the war in Ukraine. There is lots of blame to go around, although the war has been with us only for a short time compared to the pandemic itself. Nobody is looking in the mirror. No members on the government side of the floor are willing to look at themselves to see how they could have been adding to this inflation. The pandemic was primarily blamed for supply chain issues, shortages and inflation, and now the war is blamed for those. All the while, economists' warnings fell on deaf ears with the government opposite in the House.
Now, with the most recent budget, the government is yet again asleep at the wheel, with a pile of new spending and no revenue to compensate for that. The ill-conceived attempts at revenue generation, like the luxury tax and the excise tax, only serve to devastate the very industries and the very sectors being targeted, causing reduced economic development and job losses.
Claiming that inflation is a global phenomenon is truly a cop-out, because we had high inflation long before the war in Ukraine, and it is not all just supply-side issues or caused by the pandemic. The cause of high inflation is monetary, and we know that the current government does not have a monetary policy. It does not even plan for it. Liberals do not agree with it, do not support it, and rarely speak of it, but the cause of high inflation, as we know, continues to be monetary, plain and simple. The government is printing more and more money, driving up the cost of everything. If we couple that with large fiscal deficits, which again get monetized by the central bank, the cash gets shoved out into the system, and what do we have? We have more inflation, more Liberal-induced inflation.
To most Canadians, it seems like there is a level of complacency in the government with respect to inflation. The government seems oblivious to the struggles of average Canadians, yet continuously regurgitates all that it is doing to make Canadians' lives more affordable. All the while, it is Canadian citizens making the hard choices between nutritious food in the fridge and gas in their cars to get to work with.
Where I live, there are not a lot of electric cars, and the folks who want them, God love them, are waiting a long period of time to get the cars. Then, when they get them, there is no place to plug them in. It is a great idea maybe, and I can imagine that a couple of decades down the road we will all be driving electric cars, but we are nowhere near that level in this country, so it borders on outright hypocrisy that, every day, we have to learn about this agenda, which is not working for my riding. It is not because I am a Conservative member of the House. It is because I live in an area that does not support this concept. It will take many years to have the infrastructure to support such a concept.
The government's failed economic policy further drives the divide between the rural and the urban. I witness this in Miramichi—Grand Lake, which, as I said, is very rural. I think my riding is a couple of times the size of P.E.I. It could be three or four times the size, but I usually say it is four, because it is quite a lengthy area to drive around on the weekend. Most people travel a long distance to their jobs, which takes costly fuel, and that fuel is hurting their pocketbooks badly now. It is so bad that they are making choices about whether they can keep their children in sports, which creates a healthy lifestyle, or whether they can take a family vacation, or worse yet, whether the family can eat healthy food or not.
These are not the choices that any government should want Canadian citizens to make, but a Liberal member opposite said the high gas prices are positive as more people will buy an electric car or ride a bicycle. Wow. That has to be the statement of the century. Maybe that member should come to Miramichi—Grand Lake and bike some of the distances that people must drive to work. Maybe that member could take a bike from Escuminac to McGivney or from Minto over to Sunny Corner or from Neguac up to Boiestown, and enjoy that ride. It is definitely going to take the member a little while to get there. Trust me when I say that the member had better be in good shape, because I doubt he will make the distance needed, especially on a bicycle.
To the member's point on electric cars, as I said earlier, we have very few options for plugging in electric cars. There is one in Doaktown at Tim Hortons. There is one at the McDonald's parking lot in Douglastown. I believe there is one more, although the location is eluding me. I doubt we would have half a dozen options within a driving radius of five or six hours, maybe more. I am trying to picture it. There are three in my head. Could we have a few more outside of that? It is possible. However, charging locations for the public are not great options where I live, or trying to afford an electric car. In my riding, in Northumberland County, for the most part the median income is $34,500 per year. With the cost of electric vehicles, even with subsidies, they remain out of reach for most people.
Inflation is one thing. If we add it to the carbon tax, we have the perfect storm to punish Canadians for just trying to live, work and look after their family. The families that I know really cannot make ends meet. Families on fixed incomes or low incomes simply cannot pay their rent or buy food, so we are actually in a real crisis in this country. Even as an opposition member, I am still surprised and very much disappointed that the government does not seem to be more concerned about this and does not immediately move to suspend the carbon tax to give Canadians relief at the pumps. Suspending the carbon tax would give relief across the board and reduce fuel prices for everyone, including transportation costs. We would see the reduction in the costs of goods and services and the reduction in the cost of food.
I feel the government is doubling down on the tax right now. Considering that the Liberals have not met any climate change emission targets, doing so shows not only that they are out of touch with their own project, but that they are out of touch with Canadians. Hitting an emission target is something they should have achieved if the country is going to pay this much for it when nobody can afford it.
I wanted to be a member Parliament to help the people in Miramichi—Grand Lake. It is my belief that each member in this House is here to do the same. Therefore, I call on all members, including those in the sitting government, to remember why they are here and put partisanship and ideologies aside. There are big differences between rural and urban in this country. We have to recognize those differences, regardless of who is in power, and fight to make the changes urgently needed to help Canadians today. The future of the country depends on it.
I will not be supporting the budget.
Madam Speaker, since my colleague spoke about electric cars, I will jump in on the topic as well.
When he says that there is a lack of vehicles, he is right. There are none in Canada. Strangely enough, inventory exists everywhere else. I was in Sweden last week, and 50% of the new vehicles sold there are electric. Sweden has vehicles, yet they are not available here. Fortunately, we heard earlier that the federal government is going to pass a federal law to pressure manufacturers. That is good news.
He says there are no charging stations, which brings us to the question of the chicken or the egg. We need charging stations to use electric cars, but to buy electric cars, we need to have charging stations. Interestingly enough, in Quebec, it is now possible to drive around the province, from the Gaspé to the north shore, in a fully electric car, with no concerns.
He thinks they are too expensive. However, the top sellers right now are Ford F-150s and Dodge RAMs, in the compact, light-duty truck category, which cost about $40,000. That is about the same price as an electric car. These vehicles, however, use gasoline, which, by the way, is very expensive these days.
I would like to ask my colleague what he would do to start. Nothing? What would he have put in the budget? Would he have included something for electric cars?
Madam Speaker, I am pleased to contribute to today's debate on Bill , the budget implementation act, and to highlight some of the measures in budget 2022 that contribute to a healthy environment.
We know that to protect our planet and to build a stronger economy, we must do even more on climate action. Canada can be in the vanguard and on the leading edge, or we can be left behind. That is, of course, no choice at all, which is why our government is investing urgently in this transition.
Achieving net zero is not going to be easy. That is for sure. It will require all of us, at every level and across every industry. Families and members of the general public are going to have to shift our lifestyles, and that is going to be painful at times.
Our plan is driven by our national price on pollution, which is the smartest and most effective incentive for climate action. In budget 2022, we also have the Canada growth fund, which I am very excited about because it will attract billions of dollars in private capital. We need to transform our economy at speed and at the scale we truly need to meet the magnitude of the challenge of climate change.
For our children, this will mean cleaner air and cleaner water for tomorrow, and it will mean good jobs for Canadians today and into the future.
We know pollution has a cost and that the dangers of climate change are real. Despite what the Conservatives may tell us, climate change is real. Putting a price on carbon pollution is the most effective and efficient way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions associated with climate change. We have seen examples of it in other countries around the world, such as Sweden, the U.K., Denmark, Finland, Norway, Switzerland, Portugal, Slovenia, France, Japan, Chile and more.
That is why the government introduced a price on carbon pollution in 2019: to protect Canadians from the dangers and costs presented by climate change, to ensure that Canada continues to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions and to put us on a path to reach net-zero emissions by 2050.
Under the federal carbon pollution pricing system, the government applies a price on pollution in jurisdictions that request the federal system and in jurisdictions that do not have a system of their own that meets the federal standard, those being Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta. All carbon pollution pricing proceeds—and I do mean all—are returned to the jurisdictions of origin.
In the provinces where the federal fuel charge applies, the federal government returns approximately 90% of the direct proceeds from the federal fuel charge to residents of those provinces through the climate action incentive payments and the other 10% goes to projects to reduce GHG emissions, so despite what the Conservatives keep telling the House, which is that the government is somehow profiteering off the carbon price, in fact it is not true, since 90% goes back to families and households and the other 10% is invested into projects.
Today's legislation, the budget implementation act, proposes to change the delivery of the CAI payments, the climate action incentive payments, from a refundable credit claimed annually on personal income tax returns to quarterly payments made through the benefits system. I supported this change wholeheartedly and I was very glad to see it in the budget implementation act.
For Canadians, this would mean cheques would be delivered more frequently. Payments would start in July 2022—around July 15, in fact—with a double-up payment. This payment would return proceeds from the first two quarters of the 2022-23 fuel charge year and then follow on a quarterly basis after that. Going forward, payments would be received before families had to pay for the fuel charge.
I also want to mention the rate reduction for zero-emission technology manufacturers.
Technology, globalization and a historic effort to fight climate change are also creating new industries and new jobs. It is quite obvious to see how the global economy is changing. We can be leaders in the economy of today and tomorrow, and Canadians can benefit from the good jobs and economic growth that will come with it, but to be leaders in tomorrow's economy, we need to make smart decisions today. We need to attract more investment in the industries that are creating good middle-class jobs for Canadians. We need to make our economy more innovative and more productive, and we need to make it easier for businesses, big and small, to invest, grow and create jobs in Canada, while also reducing their emissions.
Canada is already home to some of the fastest-growing markets for high-tech jobs in North America. Toronto, not Silicon Valley, led high-tech job growth from 2019 into 2020, and Vancouver outpaced New York City.
To maintain that growth and make Canada a more attractive destination for business investment in the clean technology sector, Bill proposes to reduce by 50% the general corporate and small business income tax rates for businesses that manufacture zero-emission technologies. That is significant.
Specifically, taxpayers would be able to apply reduced tax rates on income from specified zero-emission technology manufacturing or processing activities. It would be 7.5% where that income would otherwise be taxed at the 15% general corporate tax rate and 4.5% where that income would otherwise be taxed at the 9% small business tax rate.
For example, eligible zero-emission technology manufacturing would include manufacturing of wind turbines, solar panels, equipment used in hydroelectric facilities, geothermal energy systems, zero-emission vehicles, electric vehicle charging systems and energy storage equipment.
It would also include the production of biofuels from waste and the production of hydrogen by electrolysis of water. The reduced tax rates would apply to taxation years that begin after 2021 and would be gradually phased out, starting in taxation years that begin in 2029 and being fully phased out for taxation years that begin after 2031.
This proposed rate reduction should encourage businesses to make short- and medium-term investments in the manufacturing of zero-emission technologies and help Canada reach net zero by 2050.
Building on investments to encourage businesses to create clean technology, Bill would also make it easier and more affordable for Canadians and Canadian businesses to adopt clean technologies.
Canada's capital cost allowance, the CCA system, determines the deductions that a business may claim each year for income tax purposes in respect of the capital cost of its depreciable property. With some exceptions, depreciable property is divided into CCA classes, and a CCA rate for each class of property is prescribed in Schedule II to the Income Tax Regulations. Accelerated CCA rates of 30% and 50% are available for investments in specified clean energy generation and energy conservation equipment. Further, such investments are currently eligible for immediate expensing.
Today's legislation expands the list of eligible equipment to include equipment used in pumped hydroelectric energy storage, renewable fuel production, hydrogen production by electrolysis of water and hydrogen refuelling. The measure would apply to equipment that was acquired and became available for use on or after April 19, 2021.
Expanding the CCA will encourage investment in a wider array of clean technologies that can reduce emissions of greenhouse gases and support reaching Canada's 2030 target and net-zero emissions by 2050.
In addition to this, Canada's budget 2022 makes many other suggestions and proposes to make strategic investments to help Canadians switch to zero-emission vehicles by making them more affordable. First, there is a new purchase incentive that proposes $1.7 billion over five years to extend the incentives for zero-emission vehicles program until March 2025. It will ensure the eligibility would be broadened to support the purchase of more vehicles, including vans, trucks and SUVs.
We have also allocated $500 million to charging infrastructure through the Canada Infrastructure Bank, and $400 million over five years through Natural Resources Canada for charging infrastructure in suburban and remote communities as well.
We have also made strategic investments that are left over from budget 2021 that are still rolling out to help transform and decarbonize our industries. Many of those investments have helped with the manufacturing of electric vehicles here in Canada.
I would note one in Oshawa, just next door to my riding. GM Canada has announced a massive transformation that will use $259 million from the federal government to create a $2-billion transformation to help produce electric vehicles here in Canada. That will increase supply. I have heard other members talk about how they have been waiting a while for their electric vehicle.
These many investments are helping us fight climate change while building a stronger economy, which is 100% the way forward, and I am sure that they will also help to alleviate the pressures on Canadians today with the cost of living increases that we have seen.
Madam Speaker, I am pleased to take part in this afternoon's debate on Bill , which affects public finances, of course. I will have the opportunity to come back to that in a few seconds.
Today being June 6, I would like to begin by honouring the memory of those who made the ultimate sacrifice on the beaches of Normandy on June 6, 1944, to liberate all of humanity from the Nazi menace. We owe them our eternal gratitude.
Let us turn to the topic that has been affecting all Canadians for far too long now: inflation. Unfortunately, this problem will not go away overnight. Inflation is affecting everyone to varying degrees, from humble workers to retirees, students and business people. Unfortunately, as economic studies from top universities have found, it is having more of an impact on the least fortunate citizens.
Inflation is currently hovering around 8% in Canada. We would have to go back 30 years to find such a high inflation rate. As I was saying earlier, it is the least fortunate citizens who are the primary victims. No one will accuse members of the House of being the least fortunate, to say the least, considering how much we earn a year. If anyone has a problem with that, they should know that there will be 338 positions available in three years. We have to keep the least fortunate citizens in mind, and the government has a duty and a responsibility to do something to soften the blow for many Canadians and Canadian families.
The member for , the deputy leader of the official opposition, kicked off today's question period brilliantly with the sad fact that according to media reports, 20% of families have chosen to eat less in order to save money because of inflation. This is a G7 country with an abundance of natural resources ready to be developed wisely. We also have an active, intelligent, articulate and healthy population that should be able to curb this inflation. Unfortunately, we are living in the shadow of this government, which is slow to act and curb inflation.
Let us not forget that this government got elected in 2015 by saying it would run three small deficits and achieve a zero deficit by 2019. However, during its first mandate, each deficit was more staggering than the last. Then the pandemic started, and it was party time. The chequebook was wide open, and no one was paying attention to how much was being spent.
Why am I bringing this up? It is because, in times of economic prosperity like we experienced in 2015, when the budget is balanced, it is the perfect time to set aside any surplus. Canada was in an enviable position. We recovered from the global crisis of 2008, which was the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression, better and faster than any other G7 country. Our country had the best debt-to-GDP ratio because our economy was strong.
The Liberals were elected because they promised to run small deficits, but their deficits were massive. Now we are paying the price. When the government spends freely and operates at a deficit, sooner or later, the piper must be paid. The government injected too much money into the economy, and that sowed the seeds of inflation.
When the pandemic struck, we all understood that extraordinary times call for extraordinary measures. It was a crisis, and we agreed with providing immediate help, lots of help, just like every other country. Nevertheless, we were aware that, when a government prints a lot of money, that money has to be paid back eventually.
That is why we constantly reminded the government that what it needed to do was help business owners, businesses and especially families and workers, but that it also had to control spending. That is not even close to what happened. Two years ago, during the first summer of the pandemic, we sounded the alarm about the fact that too much money was being given to people who could have worked. People got $2,000 a month to stay home and do nothing rather than work.
During the summer, hardly a day went by when I was not hassled, and rightly so, by entrepreneurs, restaurant owners and people who needed workers, but who were told by young people in their twenties that they had enjoyed working from home the previous summer and did not see why they should go back to work this time when they could get $2,000 and still stay at home.
When a government spends too much money, sooner or later it is sowing the seeds of inflation. Now we are paying the price. When the first seeds began to grow in this inflationary soil, we were the first to sound the alarm a year ago. However, the government did not listen to us, and the took far too soft a tone, saying that it was temporary and everything would be okay. Even U.S. President Joe Biden has admitted that he was not quick enough to curb inflation when the first signs appeared. Now Canada is paying the price.
Was anyone surprised when, in the midst of the fourth wave of the pandemic, in the middle of an election that Prime Minister had said he would not call, he announced that he did not think about monetary policy?
I understand that each of us has our own area of expertise. Even though a prime minister may not necessarily be an expert in every field, he should at least be interested in everything. We cannot help but notice that the Prime Minister's interest was not where we needed it to be today.
One of the factors contributing to the brutal rise in inflation is the price of gas. It affects everyone. We need to stop thinking of gas purely as something we put in cars. It is much more than that. Every time we need food, which is an essential good if ever there was one, it does not fall from the sky. Someone grew the plant or fed the animal that ends up on our plate. Genies do not exist. We cannot simply blink our eyes and fold our arms and have food appear. Someone, somewhere had to transport it, probably in a gas-powered vehicle. That is today's reality when it comes to the price of gas.
I know that some people are very keen environmentalists, and I commend them for it and have no problem with that. However, not everyone can get around by only using public transit. As my colleague said so well earlier, there are regions where there is no public transit. If people want to get from point A to point B, they have to go by car, which might very well consume gas. This has consequences for everyone.
A week ago, this government's former finance minister, the Hon. Bill Morneau, took an indirect shot at his former colleagues when he stated that he was worried about the economy. He believes that the future of the economy is worse now than it was in 2015. This is fitting, because we thought the same thing when he was the finance minister.
He believes that the current government has no long-term vision for Canada's economy and is more interested in sharing wealth than acquiring it. Everyone agrees with sharing wealth, provided there is some. The more we have, the better, because we will be able to distribute more.
It was fitting that the former Liberal finance minister said that, because that is essentially what we were saying when he was minister. I had the great privilege of being his counterpart as my party's shadow minister for finance under our former leader, the Hon. Rona Ambrose. I touched on how a Bay Street fat cat came to invest in the House of Commons, which I would consider a positive for Canada as a whole, had he proposed the kinds of measures that made him successful on Bay Street, but he did not. To make matters even worse, Mr. Morneau said that Canada's lack of competitiveness was setting us up for difficult decisions in the future.
Before I take questions from my colleagues, I want to officially say that Canada's number one priority right now is inflation. The best way that the government can deal with inflation is to limit spending. It must also reduce taxes, not increase them.
Madam Speaker, I am pleased to contribute to the debate on Bill , the budget implementation bill, and to highlight some of the measures in budget 2022 that would build on the workforce that Canada needs.
The past two years have created an enormous stress on our economy, but workers in Canada have shown remarkable resilience. We have seen Canadians pivot to working from home while juggling child care. We have seen them restructure entire businesses to manufacture personal protective equipment, and we have witnessed the strength of Canadians who headed to their frontline jobs in the middle of a lockdown.
The determination and ingenuity of Canada’s workforce has kept our economy moving during an unprecedented and challenging time. Since the start of the pandemic, the federal government has introduced significant economic supports to help them through. Those investments worked. Canada’s economy has recovered 115% of the jobs lost at the outset of the pandemic.
Job creation is remarkably strong, and even our hardest-hit sectors are starting to get back up and running. However, this strong recovery is posing its own challenges, as some businesses are struggling to find workers. At the same time, we know that a strong and prosperous economy requires a diverse, talented and consistently growing workforce. However, too many Canadians are facing barriers to finding meaningful and well-paid work. This includes women with young children, new graduates, newcomers, Black and racialized Canadians, indigenous peoples, and persons with disabilities.
With budget 2022, our government is proposing important measures that will help address those issues and meet the needs of our workers, businesses and the Canadian economy so we can keep growing stronger for years to come.
Structural shifts in the global economy will require some workers in some sectors across Canada to develop new skills and adjust the way they work. The transition to a new career can be a difficult and stressful time. As our economy changes, Canada’s jobs and skills plan must be tailored to the needs of those workers to help them to meet the needs of growing businesses and different sectors.
In recent years, the federal government has made significant investments to give Canadians the skills they need to succeed in an evolving economy and connect workers to jobs. The measures in Bill , the budget implementation bill, would build on these past investments. These measures include working with provincial and territorial partners on improving how skills training could be provided.
Canada is growing, and that means that more homes, roads and important infrastructure projects will need to be built. Skilled trades workers are essential to Canada’s success, and we need them to be able to get to the job site, no matter where it is.
Our government is aware that workers in the construction trades often travel to take on temporary jobs, frequently in rural and remote communities, but their associated expenses do not always qualify for existing tax relief. We are looking to bridge this gap. Improving labour mobility for workers in the construction trades can help to address labour shortages and ensure that important projects, such as housing, can be completed across the country.
That is why Bill , the budget implementation bill is proposing to introduce a labour mobility deduction. This measure would provide tax recognition of up to $4,000 per year in eligible travel and temporary relocation expenses to eligible tradespeople and apprentices. This measure would apply to the 2022 and subsequent taxation years. We believe that this action, in addition to several other measures proposed in budget 2022, would help address barriers to mobility for tradespeople so they can take on additional important projects and complete them.
We also know that immigration is vital to meeting our labour market needs and supporting our economy, our communities and our national identity. Canada has long been a country that is diverse and welcoming to everyone. Throughout the pandemic, many newcomers have been on the front lines working in key sectors such as health care, transportation, the service sector and manufacturing. Without them, Canada's economy would not have overcome the challenges of the last two years.
In the decades to come, our economy will continue to rely on the talents of people from all over the world, just as we have in the past decade. Our future economic growth will be bolstered by immigration, and Canada will remain a leader in welcoming newcomers fleeing violence and persecution. Therefore, in budget 2022, we are proposing investments to enhance our capacity to meet immigration demands for our growing economy to create opportunities for all newcomers and to maintain Canada's world-class immigration system.
Canada welcomed more than 405,000 new permanent residents in 2021, and that is more than any other year in Canadian history. To meet the demands of our growing economy, the federal government's 2022-24 immigration levels plan, tabled in February 2022, sets an even higher target of 451,000 permanent residents by 2024, the majority of whom will be skilled workers who will help address the persistent labour shortages. This higher target, along with the government's 2021 economic and fiscal update investments to resolve backlogs in processing, and the new investments proposed in this budget, will help make our immigration system more responsive to Canada's economic needs and humanitarian commitments.
The immigration levels plan helps reunite families with their loved ones and allows us to continue to benefit from the talents of those already in Canada by granting permanent status to temporary residents, including essential workers and international students. As announced in budget 2021, our government also intends to amend the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act to improve Canada's ability to select applicants who match its changing and diverse economic and labour force needs. These people will be from among a growing pool of candidates seeking to become permanent residents through the express entry system, and we will make sure that we help them choose Canada, to get here and to contribute to our economy and our society.
By taking action to improve labour and mobility, and to attract the best and the brightest from around the world to meet Canada's labour needs, Bill will be a key part of implementing these measures in budget 2022. I encourage my fellow parliamentarians to support this bill.
Madam Speaker, I am pleased to rise today to debate Bill . Members probably heard me at the start of the day speaking against closure on this bill because, it must be said, Bill C‑19 is very long and contains many clauses to be studied. We are talking about 432 pages full of amendments to existing bills and little time to learn more about the implications of their application.
That takes hard work, and I sincerely want to pay tribute to our finance critic, the member for , who spent many hours, together with his assistant Guillaume, listening to witnesses and determining what is in the best interests of Quebec, Quebec businesses and Quebeckers in Bill C-19, to point out what he believes to be flawed or incomplete and requiring improvement. That is what people need to know: When the opposition analyzes a bill, the goal is to improve it. Ultimately, it is about addressing the flaws. There were some in Bill C-19. I would like to bring to the attention of the House certain elements, especially the amendment that would exempt meaderies and apple cideries from paying the excise tax on alcohol.
The Bloc Québécois presented this amendment and invited witnesses to testify before the Standing Committee on Finance about a small clause in a big bill because Bloc Québécois members listen to their constituents, to producers and artisans, and they want to improve bills to ensure they are successful.
In this case, it was a win for the Bloc Québécois but, more importantly, a win for all apple cider and honey mead producers in Quebec and Canada. There are 50 meaderies in Canada, half of which are in Quebec.
There is one in my riding, called Miel Nature, led by Ali Agougou, a Quebecker—
Thank you, Madam Speaker. You interrupted my flow.
I was thanking Ali Agougou and encouraging him to keep up the demanding, top-quality work. He is the vice-president of an association representing Quebec honey wine producers. He called my office to tell us that it makes no sense, that these producers are small local operations that do not make enough to export and should therefore not be taxed. Since they should continue to be exempt, he asked us whether the Bloc Québécois could do something.
I immediately contacted our agriculture critic, the member for , who is Quebec's farming sector's staunchest defender. I also contacted the member for , who is an international trade expert. I contacted other MPs, including our finance critic, to hear what they had to say. We realized that this was very serious for producers. If Bill was not amended, it would have a major economic impact on their sector.
We worked hard, and the producers shared their experience. After that, the committee looked at it. The finance critic really convinced the committee members that this was a good thing, not just for Quebec producers, but for Canadian producers as well. Apple cider and honey wine were exempted from the excise tax through an amendment to Bill C‑19.
When I rise in the House, I say that I speak for the people who elected me. I do this work for Cidrerie du Minot, Frier Orchards, Capsule Temporelle, Cidrerie Hinchinbrooke, Ferme Black Creek—which I see every Wednesday at the farmer's market in Huntingdon— Cidrerie Entre Terre & Pierre, Domaine des Salamandres and Verger Hemmingford.
I am so pleased that I was able to help draw attention to their problem and that, in the end, we are working together to unanimously change Bill C‑19 to their benefit and ours. I am sure that we all like apple cider and honey wine from Quebec. Everyone loves that. That is what people say, and the member for agrees with me too, which means I am right.
A member of our caucus discovered other things in this bill, including a change to a provision governing the Social Security Tribunal of Canada. The member could not understand how this change ended up in this omnibus bill since the provision had nothing to do with the budget. In fact, it responded more to a long-standing request from some unions.
Our critic, the member for pushed the minister for a timeline for the comprehensive employment insurance reform, which this change was supposed to be part of. We know that the minister has been putting off this reform almost indefinitely, but our member did not give up. She fought and argued at the Standing Committee on Human Resources, Skills and Social Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities to convince her colleagues that this change was inappropriate, that we should leave it out of the bill and instead take the time to study the matter.
I was once a minister's chief of staff. When drafting a bill, it is important to go out and consult your base to confirm whether what you are presenting makes sense. In this case, it was so absurd that all the unions opposed what was written in the bill. I saw our critic, the member for Thérèse-De Blainville, in committee. She was passionate and thorough. She used to be the president of a major union in Quebec, and she vigorously defended the importance of removing this from the bill, so that all parliamentarians would have time to properly study and improve the EI reform, for the benefit of workers and unions, but also the government.
These contributions and gains are based on rigour, and the members of the Bloc Québécois are certainly rigorous. I heard false accusations this morning about how our party is blocking and obstructing work. That is totally false, as anyone will tell you. Anyone who works directly or indirectly with members of the Bloc Québécois knows that we work to achieve gains, make compromises and get positive results for the well-being of the people we represent in Quebec.
I would like to commend the member for for her perseverance and determination. She managed to convince the government, even before the motion was adopted in committee, to remove this from Bill .
I have two minutes left to explain to the House that there is a small amendment that we would have liked to discuss. It has to do with the luxury tax. It must be said that the Bloc Québécois truly agrees with the principle of a luxury tax. However, when we began talking to witnesses and to people in Quebec, we realized that, because of the way it was worded, this clause was going to have major repercussions for the aerospace industry and was expected to cause major problems.
We asked that the luxury tax clause be changed and rewritten. Since we did not want to delay the passage of Bill C‑19, we suggested that the clause be removed rather than kept so that we could take the time to carefully listen to the pros and cons of the luxury tax. Unfortunately, that was not possible. The NDP and the Liberals adopted the clause as written anyway, even though it will really penalize part of Quebec's aerospace industry, which is mainly concentrated in Montreal.
In summary, Bill C‑19 is a big bill. The Bloc Québécois worked very hard and achieved gains for Quebec and Quebeckers. We are very pleased about that. We will soon hear from my colleague, the member for , who will tell us more about that. The Bloc Québécois is a political party that is hard-working, thorough, persistent and determined, and we want people to understand that we are here, in the House, to make advances for Quebec and Quebec businesses.
Madam Speaker, it is a pleasure to speak to Bill today and to talk about how the policies, procedures and investments that we are making are affecting so many people across Canada. Most importantly, I want to talk about how it is having an impact on the people I represent in the House of Commons, the people from Newfoundland and Labrador, and from Labrador in Canada's north.
Over the last number of weeks, we have talked not only about Bill , but also about the budget itself and what the impact is on Canadians. The one thing I always find in the House of Commons is that we hear members say that we have to be more conservative in our spending, but in the very next sentence there is an ask for more money and more allocation in a different area. It is funny how that happens. I am sure it happened when we were in opposition just like it is happening with the members who are in opposition today.
What is important to note is that we put in place investments that will really help address the issues that Canadians are facing on a day-to-day basis and in the times they are facing them. Being able to do that and still continue to grow the economy and keep it stronger for many years to come is not an easy task no matter who is in the government.
I want to talk about some of the highlights in the budget and in Bill and where our government is creating new opportunity and new direction for people in the country.
First of all, I have a remote riding in Labrador. It is large and vast in geography. It is small in population. It has very distinct cultures. It is isolated on many fronts. Therefore, the challenges are very unique. They are not more unique than any other region of northern Canada, but they are certainly very unique when we compare them to those in urban centres and larger cities across the country. The infrastructure is different. The needs are different.
Like everyone else in the country, we hear a lot about affordability. Today, I think affordability is on the minds of all Canadians, simply because of the time and place we are in. We are coming out of COVID-19. We have seen many businesses shut down for months. We have seen workers out of a job, some of them for 18 months, before being able to go back to their regular jobs with regular salaries. This has had a huge impact. We add to that the Russian invasion of Ukraine and how that has affected the flow of goods around the world, the supply chain that we all depend upon and also how it impacts major commodities worldwide. It is not just Canada that is feeling the brunt of affordability today. It is being felt all throughout North America and right across the world.
Is there a reason for us to be concerned? There is always a reason, absolutely. Our concern is with the people of Canada. Our concern is with families today who are waking up and understanding how the invasion of Ukraine has affected their lives at home. They are waking up to understand how the outcome of COVID-19 is having an impact on them and their children and their everyday lives. They are looking for solutions. I think we are all looking for how we can do more to help them.
Our government has been very creative in rising to the affordability demands of Canadians. First of all, we can look at the fact that we are focused on connecting more and more Canadians through high-speed Internet, no matter where they live. Some may say that is an old story, that they do not have a problem with Internet. They should try living in rural Canada or try living in northern Canada, where one is feeling not only the pressure of affordability but being cut off from the rest of the world.
When we see investments in that kind of infrastructure, it does make a difference. It does help with issues around affordability.
Let us look at child care. Building on the child care agreements is something our government has focused on with every province and territory in Canada, with its $625-million fund for early learning and child care infrastructure. These additional child care investments, including the building of new facilities, are making affordability closer to becoming a reality for a lot of families.
Regardless of where Canadians live, it is a process. Negotiating child care at $10 a day is a process. Getting there is a process. The fact is that we are stepping up to make those investments so that families can work and can put their children in child care facilities and programs where they are safe. Being able to afford to do so would be huge for many families.
Does it mean that we have to grow the spaces? Absolutely, that is what it means. It means that we will have to grow the workforce around early childhood education. We will have to ensure there are appropriate salaries attached to the jobs. We will have to ensure there are spaces available and that new facilities are a part of that.
We are getting there on early learning and child care reform. It is a huge part of affordability for many families.
The Liberal government has done things around labour mobility that have helped with affordability.
One of the things that I like more than anything around Bill and our budget is the investments in health care. I live in the province of Newfoundland and Labrador and represent the riding of Labrador. Health care is always a priority. It is never easily accessed, and it is never affordable to access. People have identified huge concerns around health care in my riding. They have talked about it very openly. They need to be able to access doctors, specialists and more health care professionals. They need the ability to get services that they have not had access to in the past.
This is what I like about what we are doing on health care. The government is investing over $45 billion in support to provinces and territories through the Canada health transfer, which is an increase of almost 5% over the 2021-22 baseline budget. That money is there to help provinces, like Newfoundland and Labrador, deliver better services to residents, like those I represent.
We have also increased the Canada health transfer by $2 billion to help with the backlogs of surgeries and procedures. We are seeing this right across Canada, including here in Ontario, across the border in Quebec, and at home in Newfoundland and Labrador. People are going on wait-lists. There are backlogs for surgeries and procedures. As a government, we are stepping up to help our provinces and territories deal with this problem, because Canadians need to have those procedures and surgeries in order to maintain good health. We know how important that is.
There are also the investments the government is making in dental care. For so long we have seen so many people go without appropriate dental care because they could not afford to see a dentist. This is a program that would allow seniors to get the dental health care they need, and to be able to afford that dental health care. It would allow families with incomes of less than $90,000 a year to access dental health care. These are good investments that would make life affordable for people across the country and would help in areas, like the one I represent in Labrador, with health care needs.
We are investing to recruit more doctors and nurses for rural and northern regions. This would allow us to have better services at our hospitals in places like Labrador City and Wabush, like Happy Valley-Goose Bay, like remote clinics in Labrador and across northern communities. This investment is allocated for the recruitment of doctors and nurses, but it is allocated to improve the health care and access to health care for so many Canadians who need it.
I am definitely supporting this bill, simply because this bill would allow people to access good child care for their kids, and be able to afford to live a better life in Canada.
Madam Speaker, it is always an honour to rise in this place to speak to the issues that impact Canadians. Today, that issue is Bill , the budget implementation act. To reference the speech by my colleague across the way and the comment she made, and with no disrespect to people having health issues, my back is sore from carrying my share of the national debt that the Liberal government has accumulated over the last seven years.
The budget implementation act, in short, is the way the plans to carry out the promises made in her budget. However, maybe we should start with a brief examination of what the budget really is.
I think when the first decided to draft the budget, she got a couple of definitions confused. Investopedia has a pretty layman's-terms approach to what a budget is. It says:
To manage your...expenses, prepare for life's unpredictable events, and be able to afford big-ticket items without going into debt, budgeting is important. Keeping track of how much you earn and spend doesn't have to be drudgery, doesn't require you to be good at math—
Clearly, we know that.
—and doesn't mean you can't buy the things you want. It just means that you'll know where your money goes, you'll have greater control over your finances.
It mentions preparing for unexpected events, affording big-ticket items and knowing where our money goes. Wow. None of that sounds anything like the Liberal budget, does it? The Conservatives and Canadians have not forgotten that this very Liberal has yet to account for $600 billion in public spending from the 2020-21 fiscal year.
The definition of “rhetoric”, on the other hand, is “the art of persuasion, of using language—both written and oral—to convince others of one's point of view.” However, many perceive such convincing as dangerous, especially in democracies, where individual voices actually matter. The line between persuasion and manipulation is not always clear, and the effects of crossing it can be incredibly corrosive. That sounds like the document the presented to the House.
The , in her budget implementation act speech, took special note to discuss the existential threat of climate change. She went on to say that it is why she was focusing on growing the economy and making life more affordable for Canadians. That is laughable. May 3 must have been backwards day, because the 's unveiled attack on the Canadian economy and on affordability for Canadians was directly her doing. The budget did nothing to deal with the skyrocketing cost of living or the inflation crisis, which, by the way, is now at the highest rate in 30 years with no signs of slowing down at all. I would argue that this is the single largest existential threat to Canada and Canadian families.
The was unwavering against the pleas of Canadians and the Conservatives to stop the carbon tax escalator, even now as the price of gasoline and diesel are well over two dollars a litre. Workers and commuters have to pay that new higher price just to get to work. Farmers have to pay more to put their crops in, take them out and get those goods to market, and the price of groceries, dining and household necessities are all driven up exponentially as a result. She calls climate change an existential threat, but for Canadians, the finance minister, her policies and her government's poor financial management are the real existential threat that most Canadians face.
When I talk to constituents about what they wanted from this budget, not one of them said they wanted more rhetoric about how the government was helping them. In reality, the government continues to be the single largest problem in Canadians' day-to-day lives.
The government acts like it is fighting for the little guy while it taxes the rich. The made a big to-do about taxing the sale of new luxury cars and aircraft with a retail price of over $100,000. This tax would also apply to the sale of boats that cost more than $250,000. Canadians see through that. This is not a tax revenue generator, nor a deterrent to those who would buy a car worth over $100,000, much like the silver Mercedes 300 SL the has. This would also not have an impact on those who would buy a private plane to be whisked away for a day or weekend in the sun at a vacation island. The Prime Minister knows this because he has been there.
This tax is nothing more than an attempt to persuade voters, while the Liberals are trying to do something with rhetoric to address an issue. It really just muddies the water with additional rhetoric aimed toward Canadians, who now find themselves having to work longer shifts to afford the new inflated price of everything from gasoline to groceries. This affects families. They can no longer afford to sign up their children for recreational or educational activities because thanks to the inflationary actions of the government, they now have no money left for such activities. However, Canadians can be comforted to know that the and his friends, with their private aircraft and $100,000 vehicles, will have to pay a couple cents more on the dollar in taxes.
The government is so disconnected from reality that it is unbelievable. The reality is that for more and more Canadians, the government's incompetent policies have driven up inflation to the point that it now consumes their entire paycheques. There is little to no money left at the end of each month. There always seems to be more month left at the end of the money. For many, paycheques are purely going to subsistence living and in many cases do not even cover that.
With that reality, it becomes even more laughable that the government praises itself for subsidizing the price of zero-emission vehicles. It is like the and the Liberal cabinet have only ever met urban downtown Toronto socialites. She thinks that new cars are in the budgets of average working Canadians. Even if those same Canadians scrimped and saved to remotely afford such a vehicle, they would be plagued with backlogs, delays and chip shortages.
Maybe in the 's world of social elites, the government decided to just scrap their barely used cars and buy new ones. However, the majority of Canadians, like the hard-working constituents of Medicine Hat—Cardston—Warner, work hard, budget carefully, buy quality vehicles and maintain them because they rely on them to last. They simply do not throw the baby out with the bathwater. To put it in the language of the Liberal cabinet for it to better understand, they do not throw out the champagne with the cork. Speaking of champagne, the Liberals have a tax on that too, with an automatic escalator annually. They want to ensure that no matter what Canadians do and how they live their lives, there will always be a tax creating price inflation.
The budget has missed the mark and the budget implementation act has therefore also missed the mark. This is not good for Canadian families. It is simply the Liberal elites' manifesto of what they think the world should look like: more debt, more spending and higher costs for everything. The supports the government brags about, such as reducing the cost of new zero-emission cars, only benefit the rich and those who can afford them. This is not the implementation of a budget; it is “the art of persuasion, of using language—both written and oral—to convince others of one's point of view.” Simply put, it is just rhetoric that, in reality, will continue to destroy the economic and social stability of this country.
Madam Speaker, it is an honour to stand as the representative for Edmonton Strathcona today to speak about the budget implementation act, Bill .
I thought I would start today with some of the parts of the budget implementation act that I like and am very supportive of. I know many people think politicians only oppose, but I have to say there are things in this budget implementation act that I really like, and that I am really proud of. I thought that was where I would start, and then I am going to dig down to a few of the things in this budget implementation act that cause me a lot of concern and a lot of problems.
However, the first thing I want to say is that I am absolutely delighted to see the first step taken to recognize the desperate need for dental care for children in this country, and I am so proud to be part of the New Democratic Party that made that happen in this budget implementation act.
The previous member for St. John's East was just here today. I just had an opportunity to speak to him earlier today, and I can say his name now. Last year, in the previous Parliament, Mr. Jack Harris brought forward the exact bill to make sure dental care was available for children, and the Conservatives and the Liberals voted against it.
That is how we know that what we are seeing in this budget implementation act is clearly the work of the New Democratic Party. This is something we have been able to provide for Canadians, and as somebody who is part of that caucus, I am so proud. The biggest change and increase in health care for Canadians in decades is happening with this government and this budget implementation act.
I wanted to start with dental care. The single biggest reason children end up in the emergency room is that they do not have access to dental care. I have told the House before that I have two children, and I am very lucky I have a dental plan that comes with my employment, so when both my children required braces, we were able to do that. However, for so many children in this country, that is not possible, so I am very excited about that change.
I am very excited about some of the investments in housing. The joke we always hear in here is that the NDP's response will always be, “It is not enough.” I am going to say that many times today, but I am happy there have been investments in housing and that there is an additional investment of $1.5 billion to build new affordable homes and make changes so Canadians can save hundreds of dollars a month in rent.
I am happy to see there is a ban on foreign homebuyers for the next two years. I am happy to see an additional investment of $4.3 billion in indigenous housing. Everybody in this place should know that this is insufficient for the need, and it is insufficient for the demand, but I am happy to see it in the budget implementation act.
I am happy to see some of the actions taken on tax fairness. I have stood up in the House time and time again and demanded we do more to ensure our tax system is equitable and fair. Canadians are paying more and more for groceries, for rent, for gas and for all of the things they need, but their salaries have not gone up. If things are costing more, and the people who are making money are not making any more money, I wonder where all of those dollars are going. I have to say, they are going to the ultrawealthy.
We do need to do more to make taxes fairer, so while I am excited to see there is a tax on financial institutions, it is not what was promised, and while I am excited to see a luxury tax, it is not enough. We did not see the excess profit tax we wanted to see, so we will keep pushing for some of those things.
There are a few things I certainly could go into more detail with, and I am aware I am going to run out of time, so I want to talk a bit about some of the things I have concerns about. One is a very small thing, and I know I may be one of the only people in this place who is deeply concerned about this. However, in this budget implementation act, it would become illegal for Canadians to break Canadian laws in space. It would become illegal for Canadian companies to break Canadian laws on the moon.