Mr. Speaker, it is great to see my colleagues engaged on a really important topic, which is Bill C-30.
I will be splitting my time with my hon. colleague from Vaughan—Woodbridge.
We are talking about Bill C-30, legislation that would double the GST credit for the next six months. Fortunately, we have been able to move the legislation forward quickly, because Canadians need support, particularly those who are vulnerable. There have been a lot of conversations around affordability and the inflationary pressures being felt around the world and, indeed, right here in Canada.
I will give credit to His Majesty's loyal opposition for helping to work with the parties in advancing the legislation the government has put forward, because we are on third reading now. The hope is that we can approve it, I believe this week, and get it to the Senate and ultimately out to Canadians.
This is part of an affordability package that also includes Bill C-31, which would increase the Canadian housing benefit by up to $500 for those who are vulnerable. It would also introduce a dental care program for those children who are under 12 in a household with an income of less than $90,000 and do not already have private coverage.
I will call it as I see it. I commend the Conservatives for supporting this legislation, but I am a little disappointed that they are not supporting the legislation that is really important for those children who are vulnerable. I have not heard a whole lot of compelling rationale as to why they would not support this.
There is another issue about which I want to go on record. I have had conversations with my colleagues on this side of the House and have been querying the NDP over the last couple of days as it relates to the dental care piece. The NDP has been calling for this to be a fully federally administered program, and I want to be very clear about my position on that.
I support the idea of the Government of Canada investing in money to support those who do not have the ability to take care of their dental needs themselves, that there is a program in place for vulnerable Canadians, but I would like to see this administered similar to our child care program. We talked about child care for a long time. It was this government that stepped up and ensured there was a national child care program, by putting federal funds on the table and working with the provinces and territories.
I have a bit of concern on the NDP position that this should be completely fully administered federally. It is not that there is no federal funding, which is not the part I disagree with; it is about the delivery mechanism. I truly believe that the provinces and territories are in a better place. I want to ensure that my position as a parliamentarian is on the record. It is not that we disagree about the need for it, but I might disagree with the NDP about the delivery mechanism. The provinces are actually better suited to handle that.
This is all happening in the context of a government that is trying to walk the line between helping vulnerable Canadians who need support, but also not pouring fuel on the fire in an area where we do have inflationary pressures. The Bank of Canada is increasing its interest rates to try to bring down inflation, and it is responsible government to ensure that any type of spending measures coming forward are very targeted. I want to give credit to this government for doing that.
Our government has been there. This is a targeted measure that will apply to Canadian households under $50,000, so this is not a GST benefit that is going to those who are quite wealthy and well off. It tries to help those who are truly trying to get by. It is a targeted measure. My understanding of the cost estimate is that it will be about $2.5 billion, which is from the Minister of Finance. When we look at the global scale of the inflationary pressures, of the work of the Bank of Canada, it is a reasonable amount that I do not think will upset the apple cart vis-à-vis those conversations between monetary and fiscal policy.
I want to contrast that to what we are seeing in the United Kingdom. I have a great affinity with this being the mother Parliament, and we take a lot of British tradition in Canada from a Westminster perspective. However, we saw what happened in the United Kingdom, where its government introduced a level of government spending by virtue of tax credits, particularly those on some of the most wealthy, and that has had real consequences. It has driven interest rates even higher for the Bank of Canada. It has shaken financial markets in that country. The United Kingdom just announced yesterday that it actually walked back the tax cut that was proposed for those of the highest income earners.
It is not perhaps my job to opine on fiscal policy in the United Kingdom, but it is clear that the consequences of that government's choice has led to a real disruption of the work of monetary policy and has had a big impact on financial markets.
Compare that to how this government has responded in a reasonable and targeted way, working in lockstep with the Bank of Canada. It should be commended, and it shows reasonable fiscal management.
As a result, our Minister of Finance has been able to update the House that we are in a current surplus situation. We have had to rein in our spending. There was record spending during the pandemic to ensure we took care of Canadian households and businesses. However, it is also our job to ensure that we do not continue to drive inflationary pressures that have been felt around the world, that we take measures to help support those who are most vulnerable.
I would like to focus on some other measures that will be important for supporting affordability and economic growth and competitiveness in the days ahead. I think the next 18 to 24 months are going to be difficult for the Canadian economy and for Canadian households. That is in the form of regulatory modernization and approach. I take great pride in trying to be a member of Parliament that raises these issues. They are of great benefit and consequence to our country and for our government.
I want to go through a few of them for the benefit of my colleagues in the House and talk about elements this government can take on to drive and help benefit all Canadians.
One is the huge opportunity that we have in Atlantic Canada on offshore wind, particularly with regard to the conversation of hydrogen. Premier Tim Houston, the Premier of Nova Scotia, announced a desire to roll out offshore wind opportunities. I am looking at my colleague, the member for Bonavista—Burin—Trinity, Newfoundland and Labrador has the same desire, but we have to amend legislation on the offshore petroleum board act, which would actually allow these types of regulatory models to exist. This would give the investor confidence for those projects to move forward.
There is one example on which the government can move forward, and I know it will. In short order, we need to give that certainty, so we can drive investment on our renewable future.
I want to talk about Health Canada. As the chair of the agriculture committee, I often talk to farmers. I talk to other stakeholders who talk about Health Canada approvals.
I will give one example, which is 3-NOP, a feed additive to help support the reduction of methane from livestock. We call them cow burps. This is a product that can help us fight climate change. It has regulatory approval in Europe. It has regulatory approval in the United States. The company is now in the process of applying to Health Canada. It could be another 18 to 24 months by the time it actually works its way through Health Canada's system.
What if we took trusted jurisdictions around the world, let us say, the United States, Europe, New Zealand and Australia, which have similar values to what we have with respect to public safety and public protection, and changed the model. What if we allowed a company, which had a product, a service or some type of element that would have to go through Health Canada but it already had approvals in those jurisdictions in which we have trust, to start operating in Canada, go through the regulatory process and until such time that Health Canada found a rationale for why it should not operate in our country, it would have a presumptive approval to go ahead?
Those are some examples where we can move forward. I want to discuss this one further. These are the type of elements that we need to start thinking about. We have to be creative on how we can create wealth, how we can drive innovation and foreign direct investment on elements that do not cost money. It is going to be important.
Another example would be gene editing, and we have talked about this in the House, with regard to plant proteins. This is something for which the guidance documents were provided by Health Canada. That is driving important investment in the country, because it is giving the regulatory certainty.
Airports, whether it border modernization, or the Canada Grain Act, or seed modernization or even SMR technologies, the government and we, as parliamentarians can do a lot of work that is non-cost-measures that will help drive innovation.
I wish I had more time. Perhaps I will find another time in the days ahead to continue to elaborate on those points, but on regulatory reform modernization, we can continue to drive that bus and it will help drive Canada in the days ahead.