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View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
Lib. (MB)
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
2019-06-04 19:40 [p.28537]
Mr. Speaker, it is always a pleasure to rise and address the House on the important issues we have to address. What is more important than the national budget? It is one of those measures that we can read a lot into, because it is the way the government establishes its priorities. From day one, this government has been very clear to the House, and through the House to all Canadians, and I would even reverse that by saying that through Canadians, we have been very clear to this House, what the intentions of this government are.
As I have referenced in the past, we have a Prime Minister who constantly challenges members of the Liberal caucus to stay connected with their constituents, the people we represent, and to bring their thoughts and ideas to the floor of the House, the standing committees and the caucus. I really believe that a lot of positive things have happened as a direct result.
Before I get to the core issues, I would like to use the example of pharmacare. On numerous occasions, I have had the opportunity to stand in my place and table petitions dealing with pharmacare. We know how passionate Canadians are about our health care system. It does not matter what region of the country we live in, health care is an important issue. As such, I have always taken it seriously, not only here in the House of Commons but also in the days when I was an MLA.
Under this Prime Minister, for the very first time in decades, we have seen an open mind toward a national pharmacare plan. I would argue that for the first time in decades, we have seen not only members of the government but also some opposition members talking more about a pharmacare plan. Virtually months after the last election, we saw the standing committee put meetings on its agenda to deal with pharmacare, which ultimately led to a report.
We have seen commitments within our budget measures to further the debate and dialogue on pharmacare. We have seen members of Parliament go into their constituencies and work with others.
I am very proud of the fact that my daughter Cindy has been very strong on this file and has been advocating for a national pharmacare plan on the floor of the Manitoba legislature. She recognizes, as I do, that this is an important issue for the residents of Winnipeg's north end and beyond.
If we listen to my caucus colleagues, they will talk about the importance of a national pharmacare plan. I think that embodies some of the things the Prime Minister has talked about, which is that as members of Parliament, it is important that we stay in touch with what our constituencies want and expect.
Let me suggest to members that it is one of the important issues on which I hope to see some tangible results in the coming days, weeks, months and, with the approval of my constituents, years. It is an issue I want the residents of Winnipeg North to understand. I will continue to advocate for it until we have some form of national pharmacare plan we can all be proud of, a plan that will complement the national Canada health care system we have.
Having said that, I want to talk about day one. I sat in the opposition benches a number of years ago when our current Prime Minister was elected leader of the Liberal Party of Canada.
I thought it was significant that the day he made the announcement that he was interested in putting his name into the leadership race, he highlighted the importance of Canada's middle class. Nothing has changed. The then leadership candidate, who then became the leader of the Liberal Party and is now Canada's Prime Minister, has consistently indicated that Canada's middle class and those aspiring to be part of it are the first priority of this government and the Liberal Party.
He made that pledge in the last federal election. I believe that if we look at the budgetary measures we have taken since day one of getting into government, we will find example after example of what we have done as the government to further the interests of Canada's middle class.
If we look back at the beginning, and Bill C-2, we will see the tax cut for Canada's middle class. At the same time, we recognized the sense of tax fairness, and we saw a government that put an extra tax on Canada's one per cent, the wealthiest Canadians. The revenue generated from that, in good part, went to pay for the tax break for Canada's middle class.
I am very proud of the fact that we have seen a government that also wants to do what it can to deal with issues such as poverty. That is why we saw the enhancement of the tax-free Canada child benefit program, literally lifting tens of thousands of children, going into hundreds of thousands, out of poverty. Then we saw the guaranteed income supplement, which also lifted tens of thousands of Canadians out of poverty.
I want to combine the three of them and use it as a tangible example of this point. We took money and put it into the pockets of Canadians in every region of our country. We supported the middle class and those aspiring to be part of it, those who needed that helping hand, and we put money to work. I say that because if we invest in our middle class, we are really investing in Canada. The hundreds of millions, going into billions of dollars annually that we invested in Canadians ultimately assisted us in providing tangible results. It increased disposable income and, I would argue, helped create the one million jobs this government, working in co-operation with other stakeholders, has been able to generate in every region of this country.
In so many ways, we are the envy of the world because of the economic policies we have put in place. We have put money in the pockets of Canadians by investing in infrastructure. Even with this most recent budget, we are giving tens of millions of dollars. In the city of Winnipeg, just over $35 million is going into municipal infrastructure, creating jobs, building our country and investing in Canadians. That is what this government has been all about over the last three and a half years.
We have seen tangible results. This is why I am very happy and quite content. The summer is quickly approaching. We only have another 12 or 13 days left in this sitting. I look forward to a summer where we can reach out and tell Canadians what has been taking place in the last three and a half years.
Come October, when people do the comparisons, they will recognize and appreciate all the work we have been able to accomplish, working with Canadians day in and day out, working hard and delivering.
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