Madam Speaker, I am happy to speak from the traditional territory of the Kwanlin Dun First Nation and the Ta'an Kwach'an Council. As tomorrow is the last day that Parliament will sit before the summer, I want to thank all Yukoners, again, for the great honour they have provided me to represent them. It is a very eclectic riding, which makes it an even bigger honour. With 14 unique first nations, we are dealing with over 50 countries in immigration. It has the largest icefields outside the polar caps; the highest mountains in Canada; the world's greatest gold rush; the greatest poet, Robert Service; and the great painter, Jim Robb. Most important, the people are very caring, which is why it is such a great honour to represent them.
I will not use all my time. The budget is so important and we need to get it done quickly, which I think members realize. I will talk quickly and try to limit what I have to say to some highlights.
First, the $3.8 billion toward 35,000 more affordable units is very important. I made a number of big announcements related to housing, even before the budget. It is very exciting for my riding.
Another big investment is the $3 billion to extend sickness benefits from 15 to 26 weeks. There are also flexible EI provisions to help people through the pandemic, which are being extended until the fall of 2022.
The Nutrition north Canada subsidy program is being expanded. It provides nutritious foods to those in the Arctic and remote communities as they cannot get food for a reasonable price. That is very exciting.
I could spend my whole speech just on climate change. I am sure no one objects to the money, $17 billion we have provided and the support to the resource sector for mining, forestry, etc. to transition to a clean economy. I am sure no one objects to the zero-emission technologies like hydrogen that we are supporting and renewable energies. There is a big tax cut to clean energy technology producers. Hopefully with that $17 billion we can also help get mines that are off the grid in the very remote areas like my area off diesel.
Another area I could spend my whole speech on are the $18 billion for indigenous people. People will remember the Kelowna accord and the historic $5 billion proposed by Paul Martin, one of the greatest prime ministers in history. This is $18 billion. I will just mention two items of the many. One is over $4 billion for indigenous infrastructure. Another area is community policing and safety.
I want to give a big-shout out to Chief Doris Bill of the Kwanlin Dun First Nation as well as Gina Nagano and the Selkirk First Nation. They have provided some great leadership, and innovative and very successful community policing.
I am very happy with the IRAP expansion. It is one of the most successful programs in Canada, and more than in any other government's history, and harnesses industrial research excellence. For NGOs and charities, where there are seldom things in budgets, there is a social financing fund of $200 million; a Canada community revitalization fund; $50 million for getting ready for the social financing fund, and even a social bond. Looking at those and the green bond of maybe $5 billion on the first issue, NGOs and charities will also be eligible for the small business financing fund.
I think everyone in rural Canada too is pretty excited about the recent announcement of the rural transportation fund. I am very happy that the declining debt-to-GDP ratio makes it possible for us to help so many people and businesses that are in need.
I want to move on to to the north. On top of everything else, there are things that are particularly exciting for us in the north. One is the new exciting community revitalization fund for main streets, farmers markets and other gathering spaces that underpin local economies. There are $500 million to help people in these rural communities. If someone is in a little village, a hamlet, a town or a small NGO, this is specifically for them. They should start getting those applications ready for this brand new community revitalization fund.
What is really exciting for the northern half of Canada, is the very large northern travel allowance deduction. Before this, only people whose employers gave them a travel allowance and put it on their T4 slip could access it, but now all northerners will be able to access to it, which is very exciting.
The biggest employer in my riding is tourism as a private sector employer. The historic, first-time ever $1 billion dedicated to tourism is very crucial and exciting. There are $200 million for small festivals, small cultural events, heritage celebrations, local museums and amateur sporting events, which is perfect for my riding. We have a lot of those. For the bigger cities, there is also another $200 million for all the same events but in bigger cities. The $500 million tourism relief fund will help tourism businesses adapt their products and service, and meet public health requirements.
Then specifically in my riding is mining, which is the biggest GDP since the gold rush. Its biggest ask was help for hydroelectricity. The finance minister came through with $40.4 million for hydroelectricity studies and for preparation in the north. Also, the Yukon government has one of the most effective climate change plans, and we are giving $25 million to that.
A lot of people probably do not know that all five species of Pacific salmon: chinook, sockeye, coho, chum and pink, come into the Yukon through the Alsek-Tatshenshini drainage, or the Yukon River, the longest salmon run in the world, 2,000 miles. Therefore, historic amount of $647 million for salmon is very exciting. In fact, I had a first nations organization contact me a couple weeks ago, happy that the consultations had already started with it.
The northern trade corridor fund is essential for infrastructure for the north, $1.9 billion in the budget for that of which the north get 15%. Considering we are less than half of 1% of the population, this is tremendous support for the north as are funds for the polar continental shelf for Arctic research.
The work to lower credit card interchange fees and to have those fees the same for small businesses as large businesses is music to our ears as is the $146 million for women entrepreneurs. We have a higher average in Yukon of women entrepreneurs.
The critical mineral strategy, which I do not have time to go into as much as I would like to right now, is very important, again, mining, which is so important to our economy in the north. Mines like Victoria Gold are a very big support.
There are small business financing changes, with working capital lines of credit now being allowed, and lending against intellectual property, which would be great for our large NorthLight Innovation Centre. The digital adoption program would bring us into the new economy, with many young helpers for businesses, potential zero-interest loans and grants to help transition.
To get into the new economy, we have a plan. I am glad the Conservatives are onside for a long-term prosperity growth budget, which is exactly what this is, with money for food security; indigenous and women entrepreneurs; an artificial intelligence strategy; the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research; a quantum strategy; the Photonics Fabrication Centre; business-led R and D through colleges; Mitacs for 85,000 placements; CanCode; the net-zero accelerator; the clean-growth hub; support for Measurement Canada; strategic innovation funds; Elevated IP; the strategic intellectual property program review; innovation superclusters; data in the digital world; Stats Canada data gaps; and support for the Standards Council of Canada.
I think most people in this place and the other place know how important it is to get this budget through, and that a number of major supports are going to expire in eight days, including the wage subsidy and the rent subsidy. There are 447,000 employers that have accessed the wage subsidy; five million people in Canada need it to put food on the table, and 192,000 organizations for rent subsidy. The Canada recovery benefit will be extended for 12 more weeks, and the Canada recovery hiring benefit would not be able to go ahead without it.
People realize the importance of getting this bill through. Those programs will expire in eight days if we do not get this through today or tomorrow. Even the Conservative member for Leeds—Grenville—Thousand Islands and Rideau Lakes said yesterday that a number of our expenditures were great, like the County Road 43, recreation projects like the new arena in Prescott, the Vincent de Paul project in Brockville, with affordable housing for seniors. They will ask for many more government funds for Gananoque, Westport, Rideau Lakes and North Grenville.
For all these reasons and with these important investments, I hope all parties will support this bill that would help so many workers who are still in desperate need and so many businesses that need support to get through the last part of this pandemic, to ensure these programs do not expire and all the initiatives that can get help us into the new, modern digital economy to create even more jobs. Eighty per cent of jobs have already been brought back, but much more needs to be done.