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View Ed Komarnicki Profile
CPC (SK)
View Ed Komarnicki Profile
2013-06-03 23:19 [p.17597]
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Mr. Speaker, I rise to speak in favour of Bill C-60, the budget implementation bill and economic action plan 2013.
The opposition needs to get behind it, support it and get with it. The focus, of course, and it should be the focus, is what matters to most Canadians, and that is jobs, economic growth, and Canada's long-term prosperity.
In order for this to occur, and we hear this time and again from witnesses who appeared before our committee, we need infrastructure. Businesses need to function and expand. We need a tax system that would encourage business to grow and expand and invest. We also need the human resources, the people businesses need to provide a reasonable standard of service that we have grown to expect, to grow and expand their businesses, which in turn would provide for more jobs.
With respect to infrastructure, the economic action plan would provide the largest federal investment in job-creating infrastructure projects in Canadian history.
Since 2006, our government has made unprecedented investments in over 43,000 projects to build roads, bridges and other important infrastructure facilities.
In my riding, we have seen major water system upgrades in communities that wish to grow, but in order to do so, they need to upgrade their infrastructure.
In one case, they could not get approval for a subdivision until that infrastructure was agreed to.
It was water system upgrades in communities like Maryfield, Grenfell, Whitewood, Carlyle, Pangman and Stoughton and new sewer upgrades in places like Kipling and Moosomin.
In my consistency, we see new businesses in many small communities. We see the building of hotels, Subways, A&Ws and Tim Hortons to serve the boom taking place in the oil and gas industry. We also have potash mines, coal mining and a vibrant agricultural industry. We have also invested in recreational and public facilities.
All of this works together like a jigsaw puzzle to provide for economic growth and long-term prosperity.
Economic action plan 2013 would build on our investments and would announce a new building Canada plan, the largest investment in job-creating infrastructure in Canadian history.
The new building Canada plan would have three main components. The community improvement fund of $32.2 billion would consist of an indexed gas tax fund and the increased GST rebate for municipalities to build roads, recreational facilities and other community infrastructure across Canada. It would also have the effect of improving the quality of life of Canadian families.
Second, the new building Canada fund of $14 billion in support of major economic infrastructure projects would have a national and regional significance or scope. There would be a renewed P3 Canada fund to the extent of $1.25 billion.
Overall, the new building Canada plan would include $70 billion in federal infrastructure funding over 10 years.
Here is what the Federation of Canadian Municipalities had to say with respect to the budget 2013:
[It] delivers significant gains for Canada's cities and communities. We applaud the government for choosing to continue moving our communities forward even as it meets its immediate fiscal challenges....
It went on to say:
By maintaining and extending unprecedented investments in our cities' infrastructure, it will spur growth and job creation while laying the foundation for a more competitive economy.
Let me move to the third point, which is providing the human resources businesses need.
How do we meet the requirements of business, contractors and entrepreneurs who need both skilled and unskilled persons to maintain, grow and expand their business? Really, it requires a partnership of many stakeholders working together. In many cases, there needs to be more done to get students through high school, particularly in our first nation communities, to ensure that students have the literacy and numeracy competencies that are basic requirements to obtain jobs.
A greater emphasis is required to make known the skills and trades shortages in our schools and to encourage students to consider the trades as an option. Many of the jobs available are, indeed, very well-paying jobs.
Our government has invested billions of dollars in skills upgrading and training, particularly through federal-provincial labour market agreements, the older worker program, the employment insurance program and programs and support for under-represented groups.
The economic action plan introduced the Canada job grant, which provides up to $15,000 per person with combined federal, provincial, territorial and employer funding to help people get the skills they need for in-demand jobs.
Licia Corbella, of the Calgary Herald, on March 23 stated in her article that Christopher Smillie, senior government relations adviser for the Canadian Building Trades of the AFL-CIO, had this to say: “Nothing is ever perfect but since when has a federal budget had so much in it about skilled trades”.
She adds:
Smillie says reports indicate that unless decisive action is taken now, Canada will face a shortage of 300,000 skilled tradespeople by 2017. Try building the Keystone XL pipeline then without all those labourers like carpenters, electricians, pipefitters, plumbers, welders and others....Smillie says this makes sense and will avoid job funding from winding up in a province’s general revenue fund or towards training more dental hygienists when what is needed is more welders and plumbers.It means that people will be trained for specific jobs which is a good thing. By attaching the money to an employer it means the worker will be trained for a job that actually exists. It’s about time this kind of common-sense approach was implemented...
Building on all these initiatives, we have made improvements for apprentices and employers in the apprenticeship program. Economic action plan 2013 supports the use of apprentices in federal construction and maintenance contracts. Our government will also ensure that funds transferred to provinces and territories through investment in the affordable housing program support the use of apprentices. As part of the new building Canada plan for infrastructure, the government will encourage provinces, territories and municipalities to support the use of apprentices in infrastructure projects receiving federal funding.
The Association of Canadian Community Colleges had this to say in its March 21, news release:
Federal commitments in Budget 2013 will encourage a reduction in barriers to Canada’s economic success, while maximizing the talents and advanced skills of Canadians. Virtually every opportunity that we suggested for addressing the skills shortage has been embraced...
Another source of human resources is through immigration. The use of the provincial nominee program in Saskatchewan provides an opportunity to attract the skilled people the province needs that will help it to continue to grow.
Going forward, our Minister of Immigration has indicated a new and innovative expression of interest to the immigration management system, which will allow for Canadian employers in provinces and territories to select skilled immigrants from a pool of applicants that best meets Canada's economic need.
However, all of this still does not meet all the needs we have. We need to look at ways and means to provide those through the temporary foreign workers program.
I have a letter that was written to me by a small business in southeastern Saskatchewan. It says:
We are a small community in the South East corner of the province with a population of approximately 960 people. We have been experiencing an oil boom in this region for the last 5 years and during this time I have witnessed dramatic reduction in the amount of applications for jobs posted within our organization. The jobs I mentioned are not always level entry positions but range from cashiers to supervisors and onto management positions.
Basically, what he is saying is that when all of the partners involved have done everything that they can do in places where there is a booming economy, in places where the unemployment rate is very low, we must still rely on the temporary foreign workers program. We must remember that.
Bill C-60 deals with the abuses of the program. Most can accept the fact that we need to deal with the abuses, including a small fee that would be charged for labour market opinions and permits. I think most businesses are prepared to pay that fee providing they get the service that one would expect.
The budget implementation bill addresses what we need for our economy to continue to grow, for us to continue to prosper and for jobs to continue to be created.
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View Randy Hoback Profile
CPC (SK)
View Randy Hoback Profile
2013-03-27 16:37 [p.15295]
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Mr. Speaker, it is great to be here today. It has been a busy afternoon in the House of Commons, so it is nice to get on with the debate and the country's business.
I will be sharing my time with the hon. member for Nanaimo—Alberni.
The people of B.C. are just as excited about this budget as the people of Saskatchewan, because there are so many good things in it for our constituents and Canadians right across Canada.
Canada has been doing very well throughout the global crisis. The World Economic Forum ranked Canada's banking system as the safest in the world. We have a good, solid banking system, so our constituents can take comfort in knowing that their deposits are safe and secure. Another thing to point out is that Canada has a AAA credit rating, the best credit rating in the world. Canada has been doing very well in light of the financial crisis that has been going on around us.
One of the other things we should talk about is job creation. While other countries are losing jobs and suffering massive unemployment, we are creating new jobs here in Canada. We have created 950,000 net new jobs since the start of the 2008 global crisis. That is amazing if we look at what is going on around the world.
Saskatchewan is in a unique situation when it comes to jobs. The unemployment rate in Saskatchewan is sitting right at 3.7%. That is basically telling me that anybody who wants a job in Saskatchewan can get a job.
When I go back to my riding and talk to business owners about what they require in order to see more expansion and growth, the common theme is the lack of employees. They are looking for ways to get not just new employees but skilled employees. They need plumbers and electricians. They need people with their journeyman status.
Canada's economic action plan 2013 addresses those needs. The first action our government took was to bring in the Canada job grant. This program would allow a maximum benefit of up to $5,000. The federal government will put in $5,000, the business will put in $5,000 and the provincial government will put in $5,000 for skills training.
When I talk to people like some of the ag machinery dealerships in my riding, they tell me that they need more heavy-duty mechanics. They can embrace a program like this and take advantage of it. With the free skills training, they can create heavy-duty mechanics out of a common employee. Those are the kinds of things that businesses require, and they are there in economic action plan 2013.
Another thing people in Saskatchewan are looking for is a way to get their journeyman status more quickly. This has been addressed in economic action plan 2013. We need more journeymen mechanics, plumbers and electricians in Saskatchewan. I am looking at remodelling a house, and I have to wait up to four months just to get a plumber. I have to wait up to three months for someone to put in a furnace. The skills shortage in my riding of Prince Albert is extreme, and this action plan will hopefully help to alleviate some of those concerns.
I want to point out some things that are unique to my riding of Prince Albert.
Aboriginal youth come to Prince Alberta from northern ridings looking for work. These are the people we need to get into the skills training program, and we have set up funding to do that. We are going to see more of that going forward. More aboriginal people are going to be participating in the economy. When we talk to chiefs with James Smith Cree Nation and Muskoday First Nation, this is something that they want. They want to participate in the economic boom going on in Saskatchewan, and this plan will allow their band members to do that. This is going to be great for Canada as a whole.
Another thing in the budget is the new building Canada plan. When I talk to my mayors, councillors and reeves, they tell me they want to see some sort of bankable method of payment from the federal government. The community improvement fund is a consistent fund of $32.2 billion over 10 years. Municipalities will be receiving funds they can bank on. They can use the money for a variety of different projects. They can use it for water or sewer, as may be done up in Nipawin, or they may want to use it for road construction in Kinistino. These are indexed funds that they can count on going into their coffers year after year. They are bankable and predictable, so municipalities can budget around them and plan on them and use them according to their needs.
The nice thing about this fund is that it is fairly wide open with respect to utilization. Municipalities can use it for a variety of projects. As I said, it can be used for a water project or to build a road or pave a street; those options are there. That is the nice thing about this fund.
I was talking to a couple of reeves over the weekend, who were very excited because these funds are bankable and predictable. It is something they asked for, and we actually gave it to them.
Then there is $14 billion for the new building Canada fund. One thing we have to recognize is that Canada is an exporting nation, but we need to keep building infrastructure. We need to take advantage of the resources we have, but in order to do that, we have to build infrastructure. We have to build roads. We have to put in infrastructure to get to the mines. We have to put in infrastructure to get the product to market. These are things that will be addressed by the $14 billion fund. Canadians recognize it as an important need and as something that will help our economy grow for a long time into the future.
We have the $1.25 billion renewal of the P3 Canada fund. The Province of Saskatchewan is embracing that fund. I know other provinces have embraced it. Here is a practical way to get projects built in a way that allows both the private sector and the public sector to participate, and the benefit is for the taxpayer, without a doubt.
Of course we have $6 billion under the current infrastructure programs for the provinces, territories and municipalities from 2014-15.
When we look at the new building Canada plan, there is over $53 billion over 10 years for infrastructure. That is a substantial amount of money, and it is probably the longest period of time that any money has been consistently given to the provinces and municipalities for infrastructure needs. It has never been done in the history of Canada for this length of a period of time.
Saskatchewan is an agricultural province that has gone from agriculture to mining. It has lots of resources, but it also has great world-class research. Genome Prairie is a good example, and it is nice to see core funding of $165 million going to the Genome projects that will be spread across Canada. That is groundbreaking research from which we will see benefits for years and years to come, and I am happy to see it in the budget.
We are also supporting and helping businesses to invest in innovation, thus making them more competitive and creating more high-paying jobs here in Canada.
Those are the items in the budget that will provide long-term growth and prosperity, not just for members sitting here but for our kids and our grandkids.
We cannot forget families. The family structure is such an important structure. We have to look at the variety of ways we can help families.
One of the things in the budget that is really great and unique is enhanced tax relief for families that are adopting children or those using home care services. That is important. That is actually something that families and taxpayers can use. They can look at it and say they have a government that appreciates their needs and requirements. It is in the budget, so I cannot see how members would ever vote against something like that.
I am a hockey player, and many of us have hockey kids. If parents can get baby clothes tariff-free and get cheaper, tariff-free hockey equipment, that again is supporting the family structure and is very positive.
We have $1.9 billion over five years going for homelessness and housing. The $1.9 billion is a substantial amount going into something that is drastically needed.
I wish I had a lot more time, because I could go on for 10, 15, 20 or 30 minutes, but I am going to speed up on some of the things I also see happening here that are important to highlight.
Last year I did the Nijmegen march. I went to Groesbeek Cemetery in Holland. Not a blade of grass was out of place. Every tombstone was correct. The respect the people from the Netherlands give to our soldiers is amazing. With the increase and doubling of the funeral service reimbursement, we can do that here in Canada for our veterans also. That is very important. Taking it from $3,600 to $7,300 is something that our vets deserve, and it is nice to see it in the budget.
In closing, I would highlight something that is very important to me because I come from Saskatchewan. It is the fact that we are going to get to a balanced budget. What other country in the world is going to talk about getting to a balanced budget after going through a global recession since 2008? In 2015-16, we are going to have a balanced budget.
In Saskatchewan we have had a balanced budget. The premier has done a great job in making sure spending is kept under control--
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View Olivia Chow Profile
NDP (ON)
View Olivia Chow Profile
2013-03-26 14:31 [p.15226]
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Mr. Speaker, there is nothing new in this so-called new building Canada plan. It is old money with a different name. The building Canada fund went from $1.2 billion a year to $210 million. That is a billion-dollar cut in this renaming exercise. Playing a shell game with Canadians stuck in traffic gridlock or suffering from poor water quality is a cruel joke.
When will we ever see real solutions to the real problems faced by Canadians?
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View Denis Lebel Profile
CPC (QC)
View Denis Lebel Profile
2013-03-26 14:31 [p.15226]
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Mr. Speaker, the premise of the question is wrong and the member received all the answers in committee last week. She has all the information, but she prefers not to consider it.
If the member opposite cares so much about infrastructure spending, she should support our government for creating the building Canada fund, doubling and making permanent the gas tax fund and creating the economic action plan. She will have another chance. She will have to vote for this budget, the economic action plan, because we have a new plan for infrastructure.
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View Scott Armstrong Profile
CPC (NS)
Mr. Speaker, I rise today in support of economic action plan 2013, a budget focused on jobs, growth and long-term prosperity for all Canadians.
When we ran in the election of 2011, we asked the Canadian people for a mandate, which included balancing the budget within the term of that mandate, by 2015. This budget presented by the Minister of Finance with the support of the Prime Minister of Canada would keep us on track to having that budget balanced by 2015.
As we move toward a balanced budget, there are three paths we could take.
The first path is to raise taxes, and many governments across Canada have taken the challenge to balance their budgets by raising taxes. However, that is not the path this Minister of Finance took. That is not the path of this government. We will not balance the budget by raising taxes on the people of Canada.
In fact, since we were elected in 2006, we have cut taxes for the average Canadian family by $3,200, and we are still going to balance the budget by 2015. By lowering the tax burden on the people of Canada, we are increasing the jobs, growth and productivity of our country. Low taxes mean more jobs. More jobs means more productivity. That is the path we are taking.
The second path we could have chosen was to cut the transfers to the provinces, as we saw the Liberal Party do the 1990s. Those transfers are valuable to provinces as they try to deliver on the priorities of Canadians in terms of education and health care. We saw billions of dollars taken back from the provinces in terms of those transfer payments in the 1990s, which saw hospitals close, nurses laid off, teachers laid off and Rae days in Ontario. We do not want to go back to that path. We will not support that.
This budget does not cut any transfers to the provinces. In fact, since we took office in 2006, the federal government has increased transfers each and every year. The transfer for health care, the social transfer and transfers for equalization have all been increased each and every year, which is more support for the provinces. Even though we are increasing that support for the provinces, we are still on the path to balance the budget.
In fact, since 2006 when we took office, we have increased those transfers from the federal government to the provinces by more than $20 billion to a record high in 2013-14 of $62 billion. This is an incredible amount of money that our provinces can use to support health care; to support education; to pay doctors, nurses and teachers; and to support other social programs in their provinces. That is an incredible commitment the federal government has made to the provinces, and we are keeping that promise.
My own province of Nova Scotia has seen the transfers from the federal government increase in 2006 from $2.2 billion to almost $3 billion, which is an increase of almost $700 million. That $700 million is a lot of nurses, teachers and support for the priorities of Nova Scotians, and that is contained in this budget.
The third path is the one we chose to balance the budget. It is the path that looks first into government spending to make sure we focus government spending in a pragmatic and prudent way, focusing on the priorities of Canadians. That is what we see in this budget. The budget supports my constituents in a large rural riding on the east coast because it focuses on the same priorities: jobs, growth and prosperity. It supports industries that are needed in my riding that hire the vast majority of the constituents I represent here in Ottawa.
For example, this budget supports infrastructure. The Federation of Canadian Municipalities asked this government to support infrastructure: waste water treatment plants, roads, bridges and all the infrastructure needed to attract business to rural parts of Canada. This is infrastructure that is needed both in urban and rural Canada. This budget focuses on that.
The build Canada plan, which sunsets next year, put in billions of dollars and worked with municipal leaders across Canada to support infrastructure development. However, the Federation of Canadian Municipalities asked the government to do a longer-term deal in this budget, which we have done.
It is a 10-year deal for the new building Canada plan, adding $53 billion for infrastructure from coast to coast to coast, for roads, bridges, recreational centres and waste water treatment plants. These are the projects that this fund will help, which will help build the economy in rural and urban parts of the country.
The Federation of Canadian Municipalities also asked the government to support it again with the gas tax. We all know that in previous budgets we made the gas tax allowance permanent. That was asked for and delivered. In this budget, we are indexing the gas tax allowance to protect the municipalities from inflation so they can count on that money. It will be continued at an indexed rate so they know they will not be hurt by inflation. That was asked for by the Federation of Canadian Municipalities made and something we delivered on.
Does it support the budget? Absolutely. It stated:
Today's budget delivers significant gains for Canada's cities and communities. We applaud the government for choosing to continue moving our communities forward even as it meets its immediate fiscal challenges....This is also a budget that delivers real gains for Canadians...it will spur growth and job creation while laying the foundation for a more competitive economy.
This budget, the Minister of Finance and the Prime Minister have delivered for municipal leaders across Canada and in my riding.
In Cumberland—Colchester—Musquodoboit Valley, there is a large forestry industry. Does this budget support the forestry industry? These are the guys who go out in the woods and cut the trees down. Not only does it support them, but the truckers who transport the logs to the sawmills. It supports the sawmill workers who turn the logs into lumber. It supports the manufacturers who turn the lumber into products which we export not only domestically but worldwide. This is a strong budget in support of the forestry industry.
The Forest Products Association of Canada supports this budget. It stated:
—(FPAC) welcomes the additional support for innovation and market development unveiled in today’s budget and also applauds the government’s focus on skills training....We applaud the government for its continuing support for the forest products sector even at a time when tough measures are needed to reduce the deficit. This is a strategic future-oriented decision that demonstrates ongoing commitment to the transformation of the industry.
We have support from the forestry industry for this budget.
In my riding, agriculture is a heartbeat. It employs literally thousands of my constituents. There are blueberry producers, dairy farmers, beef farmers and poultry farmers. There are agriculture producers who have created innovative products. There are fruit producers in the riding. This government and this budget supports the agriculture sector. It is expanding our markets internationally. It is investing in research and innovation so agriculture producers can develop new products and sell them in new markets. This is a strong budget in support of research, innovation and agriculture and supports, in particular, the extension of international trade so we can produce and export our agriculture products to new markets.
What does the agriculture community say about this budget? The Canadian Cattlemen's Association stated:
The CCA welcomes Budget 2013 and appreciates the Federal Government’s continued commitment to innovation, competitiveness, market development, regulatory cooperation, and addressing labour shortages. These are the top priorities for our industry and for the CCA.
That is strong support for this budget by the agriculture community and the industries that are important in my riding.
Also in my riding there is manufacturing, which is centred around the aerospace industry. There is an IMP plant in Amherst, which employs 400 people. There is an IMP plant in the Halifax airport region, which employs over 1,200 people. There are 1,600 of my constituents who are directly employed in the aerospace industry. I know there are many thousands in the Quebec aerospace industry who put dinner on the table for their families due to direct employment by the aerospace industry.
What does the aerospace industry say about this budget? It stated:
—(AIAC) is very pleased with measures announced in the Economic Action Plan 2013...The measures announced in [this budget] constitute an excellent short-term response to the Aerospace Review report...
Therefore, there is support for this budget by that industry.
This budget supports my riding, the agriculture community, the forestry industry, the municipalities, infrastructure and the aerospace industry. Many of my constituents will benefit very much from the implementation of this budget. I ask all my colleagues in the House to stand and support economic action plan 2013.
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View Shelly Glover Profile
CPC (MB)
View Shelly Glover Profile
2013-03-22 12:37 [p.15102]
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Mr. Speaker, I am going to be sharing my time with the very hard-working member for Kamloops—Thompson—Cariboo.
It is an honour to participate in the debate on economic action plan 2013. While the budget was tabled only yesterday, this is a process that started for myself and my colleagues on the finance committee last summer when we started preparing for our committee's annual pre-budget consultations.
Today's document is truly a reflection of months and months of consultations by the finance minister, the finance committee and all members of Parliament who went from coast to coast to coast to ask Canadians for their ideas and thoughts on how to make the Canadian economy stronger. I would like to thank all Canadians who made their voices heard and participated in that process and assure them that economic action plan 2013 keeps Canada on the right track for jobs and economic growth.
Indeed, with over 950,000 net new jobs created since the depth of the global recession in July 2009, with 90% full time and nearly 80% of those jobs private sector jobs, Canada has the absolute best job growth record among all G7 countries in recent years. What is more, Canada is alone among G7 countries to receive the highest possible credit ratings from all of the major credit rating agencies with a stable outlook, which contributes to low borrowing costs. It is little wonder Canada has earned the trust of global investors for its responsible fiscal, economic and financial sector management.
In the words of the independent IMF recently, “Our outlook for the Canadian economy is a relatively rosy one”. However, as Will Rogers once said, “Even if you are on the right track, you’ll get run over if you just sit there”. Indeed, in a fast-changing global economy that not only remains uncertain in places such as the U.S. and Europe, but where Canada faces growing competition from new emerging economies such as China and India, we cannot afford to be complacent. We need to keep on moving forward with positive measures for Canada's economy and job growth.
Economic action plan 2013 strengthens this record with actions in all areas that drive economic progress and prosperity by connecting Canadians with available jobs, helping manufacturers and businesses succeed in the global economy, creating a new building Canada plan, investing in world-class research and innovation, and supporting families and communities.
During my time, I would like to delve into more detail about these key initiatives.
The first is connecting Canadians with available jobs. The government knows that Canadian workers are among the highest educated and best trained in the world. However, the training system must be better attuned to helping Canadians acquire the skills they need to obtain high-quality jobs.
Economic action plan 2013 announces the government's intention to renew the labour market agreements with the provinces and territories in 2014 with investments of $500 million per year.
The agreements will be reformed to directly connect skills training with employers and jobs for Canadians with the Canada job grant, which is the centrepiece of the new agreements.
The grant will account for $300 million of total annual labour market agreement funding from the federal government on full implementation in 2017-18. The grant will require matching contributions from employers as well as provinces and territories.
Businesses with a plan to train Canadians for an existing job or a better job will be eligible to apply. The grant will provide access to a maximum $5,000 federal contribution per person toward training at eligible training institutions.
This means that the grant could provide Canadians with $15,000 or more per person, including provincial, territorial and employer contributions.
I am extremely proud of the Canada job grant as it responds to the most common and frequently mentioned concern during the pre-budget consultations that I participated in as both a proud member of the finance committee and as the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance.
Indeed, as the Canadian Chamber of Commerce outlined in its recent Top 10 Barriers to Competitiveness for 2013 report, the number one issue identified by businesses across the country as holding back economic growth and hurting our ability to compete globally was Canada's skills shortage.
In the words of chamber president Perrin Beatty, “We have a skills problem well on its way to becoming a crisis, and you need only look at the demographic wedge that we're confronting to see that the problem is only going to get worse.”
As well, we could listen to the president of the Mining Association of Canada, Pierre Gratton, speaking about his sector alone: “Labour market studies show that mining will need to hire 10,000 workers every year for the next 10 years. ...and we all need to work together—industry, governments, educational institutions, first nations and other partners—to ensure Canada's economy does not falter because we fail to fill the jobs our economy has to offer.”
I think the Canada job grant, which will directly connect employers looking for skilled workers who want to fill those jobs, is an extremely positive initiative in helping match and train more Canadians, but that is not all we are doing to support training in economic action plan 2013. We are also supporting persons with disabilities, youth, aboriginal people and newcomers to get into the labour force with new training investments. Indeed, I would like to highlight just a few of the measures we are taking to create and provide more opportunities for aboriginal youth.
This government is providing $241 million to help aboriginal youth across Canada to access the skills and training they need to participate in large economic projects like those in the resource sector near their communities. Indeed, in my home province of Manitoba, we see tremendous success stories of businesses getting aboriginal youth involved and allowing them to benefit from economic opportunities.
I use as an example what I saw first-hand with Vale Inco in Thompson, which established its own training program for aboriginal youth on reserve. We are seeing more aboriginals than ever before getting involved, being employed by resource industries such as Vale Inco and taking advantage of these good high-quality jobs.
The budget will complement and enhance our ability to work with business, other levels of government and first nations communities to provide economic opportunities for the unemployed. I think that is something we would all like to see happen more and more, and economic action plan 2013 will do just that.
I would like to also discuss the new investments for infrastructure in the budget, specifically the creation of a new building Canada plan.
Canada's prosperity is supported by a vast and complex network of highways and roads, water and waste water infrastructure, transit systems and recreational and cultural facilities. This network reaches into every community and touches every Canadian.
The new building Canada plan provides approximately $53.5 billion in new and existing funding for provincial, territorial and municipal infrastructure. Overall, the new plan will provide $70 billion in federal funding over 10 years for infrastructure.
In my limited time here today, those were a couple of things that I wanted to speak about in economic action plan 2013, but I do need to mention that I know we all, as MPs, have Canadian citizens at heart. This is a budget that will help Canadian citizens in a number of areas.
I would implore the opposition to take the time to really, truly consider the effects and the positive initiatives for Canadian people and to support the budget once and for all, because it really does help our communities to thrive. It concentrates on job creation, on economic growth and on the long-term prosperity of our country.
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View Jim Flaherty Profile
CPC (ON)
View Jim Flaherty Profile
2013-03-21 16:04
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Mr. Speaker, I rise to present Canada's economic action plan 2013, a plan for jobs, growth and long-term prosperity.
Canada is in an enviable position among the world's industrial economies. We have fared relatively better than most in the aftermath of the worst recession in a generation. As many of our allies and trading partners continue to struggle, we are well placed to prosper.
We have a lot to be proud of: today we find ourselves further ahead than any other G7 country when it comes to creating jobs and economic growth; further ahead than any other since 2006 when it comes to income growth; and further ahead than any other when it comes to our debt to GDP ratio.
Now we stand among just a handful of nations the world over with our AAA credit rating, and Government of Canada securities are among the world's most sought-after investments. This means that investors here and abroad are confident in our government's ability to manage the economy now and into the future by sticking to the long-term view and by taking strong, decisive actions whenever it has been required. We have grown stronger, even as many have weakened. It is imperative that we continue along this path.
Make no mistake; there are still significant risks ahead. The global economy is still fragile, and some of our biggest trading partners are among the worst affected. This makes our job more difficult, but it is also clear to the world that Canada has picked the right path and the right plan, a responsible plan for jobs, growth and long-term prosperity.
Today we outline a course of action in keeping with all of our work so far. It builds on a legacy of success. It is an intentional, consistent plan that we have implemented with firm commitment from coast to coast to coast.
This plan takes action in three important areas. It introduces the Canada job grant, a bold new initiative to transform the way we provide skills training to ensure we connect Canadians with available jobs. It introduces a new building Canada plan, the largest and longest federal investment in building roads, bridges and public transit in Canadian history. It also introduces a plan to assist our manufacturers and other businesses as they innovate to compete in the global economy.
Families are the building blocks of every nation and indeed the foundation on which Canada rests. The measures outlined in economic action plan 2013 build on our government's steadfast commitment to Canadian families. Much of what I announce today is aimed at making this country an even better place to raise a family, to work and to establish a business.
However, before I proceed, I need to make one thing very clear. It is simply this. Our government is committed to balancing the budget in 2015. In uncertain global economic times, the most important contribution a government can make to bolster confidence and growth in a country is to maintain a sound fiscal position. Every Canadian family knows that. When expenses outstrip income, the future of the whole family is at risk, and our government knows—even if some in the House do not—that no nation can borrow its way to long-term prosperity. We will not put the future of Canadian families at risk. We will not waiver from our commitment to create jobs and fill jobs for Canadians. We will not spend recklessly.
Economic action plan 2013 contains the smallest increase in discretionary spending in nearly 20 years.
We are also doing our part by looking inward. Our plan introduces measures, for example, to reduce spending on travel and to end duplication of internal government services. Let me be very clear about what else this government has not done and will not do.
We will not reduce transfers, whether it be transfers to individuals, children and seniors or transfers to provinces and territories for critical services like health care and education. In fact, we have increased funding for health care, education and other important social services by almost 50% since 2006, and funding for these important social programs will continue to rise each and every year our government is in power.
We will not raise taxes, but new measures to close tax loopholes will help ensure that everyone pays their fair share. We will not back away from our steadfast commitment to fiscal responsibility. We will not balance the budget on the backs of hard-working Canadian families or those in need. However, we will balance the budget, and we will do it in 2015.
Sir Clifford Sifton, who was a cabinet minister in Sir Wilfrid Laurier's government, had some good advice that still stands today. Sir Clifford wrote in a letter to his son, “In time of prosperity, prepare for trouble”.
In 2006-2007, when few could foresee the magnitude of the trouble that was coming, we prepared. We cut taxes for families and for job-creating businesses. We paid down billions in national debt. We launched the building Canada plan to modernize roads, bridges and public transit in cities and communities across Canada. These decisions have paid off.
For, when the crisis hit, Canada was in good shape relative to other nations. Our strong financial sector remained solid. Our reputation among investors remained strong. In 2009—the darkest days of the recession—we took quick and decisive action to stimulate the economy. In fact, we gave the economy a $64-billion shot in the arm. That, too, worked. Now, Canada is recognized around the world as a safe, stable place to invest.
While Canada has fared well, we cannot afford to be complacent. There are still signs of trouble ahead. The world economy remains fragile. Global growth has slowed. Canada is not immune.
Abroad, our neighbours to the south and our European partners continue to face significant economic hurdles. Much of Europe—the world’s largest economy—is still in recession and needed reforms are not certain. The U.S. is burdened by massive debt and recovery is sluggish. As a result, the appetite for Canadian exports is unsteady.
Meanwhile, emerging economies are becoming stronger and more competitive.
At home, we have concerns about the high level of household debt, and we have a significant challenge in the labour market. In fact, the Canadian Federation of Independent Business points out that one-third of its members say that a shortage of skilled labour is constraining growth. The Canadian Chamber of Commerce has identified the skills shortage as the number one obstacle to the success of its members. I can see why. There are too many jobs that go unfulfilled in Canada because employers cannot find workers with the right skills. Meanwhile, there are still too many Canadians looking for work.
Do not get me wrong. Canada's workforce is among the very best in the world. As job creators, we have an enviable record. Not only have we recovered all the jobs lost during the recession, we have added almost half a million more. That is more than 950,000 jobs since the recovery began. These are overwhelmingly good, high-paying, full-time jobs in the private sector. In fact, more Canadians are employed than at any other time in our history. Yet I believe that we can and must do better.
Training in Canada is not sufficiently aligned to the skills employers need or to the jobs that are actually available. This means higher unemployment and slower economic growth than we should otherwise expect.
Unless we act now, this problem will be compounded as the recovery continues. Demographics are not on our side; the skills shortage will only get worse due to an aging population.
You might think this is just a problem for specific sectors like energy, mining or construction, or, specific regions like the west, but it is not.
The Atlantic Provinces Economic Council has summed up well for their region what is an emerging national problem.
The council reports: “Labour markets in Atlantic Canada are undergoing a profound shift from high unemployment to increased concern about a skills mismatch and a shortage of workers.”
Matching the needs of employers with the training Canadians are getting is key to turning this trend around. Fortunately, by providing the right training, we can significantly reduce the mismatch between employers and job-seekers. That is why our government is taking bold, innovative steps.
Today I am announcing the new Canada job grant. The Canada job grant would transform the way Canadians receive training. The Canada job grant could provide $15,000 or more, per person, to ensure that Canadians are getting the skills employers are seeking. Up to $5,000 would be provided by the federal government. To show their commitment, the employers would be required to provide matching funds. The province or territory would match the final third.
For the first time, the Canada job grant would take skills training choices out of the hands of government and put them where they belong: in the hands of employers and Canadians who want to work.
Job seekers will train at community colleges, career colleges, polytechnics or union training halls among others.
Most importantly, the new grant should lead to one essential thing for unemployed or underemployed Canadians: a new or better job.
The job grant will benefit hundreds of thousands of Canadians.
Current labour market agreements with the provinces and territories expire in 2014.
We will negotiate new agreements centred around the Canada job grant.
Just as important as training is on-the-job experience. That is why today I am also announcing new measures to support apprentices. We would work with the provinces and territories to harmonize requirements for apprentices and would examine the use of practical tests as a method of assessment. Most importantly, we would ensure that government contracts and funding for infrastructure and maintenance would support the employment of apprentices.
For example, we would renew the investment in affordable housing agreements with the provinces and territories. By encouraging the use of apprentices, these agreements would help train young Canadians in the skilled trades with funding from these programs. For example, Habitat for Humanity has trained thousands of high-school and college students for the skilled trades.
We are also taking action to support job opportunities for all Canadians.
Too often, young people make decisions about education without good, current information.
We will invest to make sure they know early on which career fields are in high demand.
Then they can make informed choices that will lead to meaningful, well-paying jobs in their field of study.
As well, we will be making a three-year investment of $70 million to support 5,000 new paid internships so that new post-secondary graduates can obtain vital job experience.
These new initiatives, and others announced today, will build on our commitment to Canada's young people.
In 2011, we expanded eligibility for student loans and grants. Right now there are more than 500,000 students benefiting from these programs. Last year's budget expanded our youth employment strategy by $50 million over two years. This has provided tens of thousands of young Canadians with the work experience and skills training needed to succeed in the job market.
Expanding educational opportunities and skills training would help Canada compete, but even these measures will not be enough. We must also look to the world for help. To that end, we would continue to reform our immigration system to make sure that Canada is the first choice for skilled workers from around the globe, that the best young people who come here to study could remain afterwards to try Canada out, that potential immigrants with the right skills could move to Canada faster, and that new Canadians could integrate quickly and find and keep good employment or start successful businesses that would add to Canada's prosperity.
We would also introduce measures to ensure that first nations could fully participate in the economic opportunities that are available. We would work with the first nations to improve the on-reserve income assistance program to ensure that young recipients have the incentives necessary to gain employment. We would also continue to work with first nations to develop a first nations education act.
In addition, measures introduced today would further help Canadians with disabilities get the support they need to be active participants in the job market.
As a former governor general Lord Tweedsmuir once observed, “Canada is a nation of bridges”. This government is committed to building those bridges between employers and job seekers, skilled immigrants and Canadian opportunities, hard-working Canadians and long-term prosperity, but we are also committed to building bridges of another kind, the kind that ease urban congestion in our largest cities, like the new bridge for the St. Lawrence, including the bridge causeway between Nuns' Island and the Island of Montreal; the kind that expand our trade horizons, like the new international crossing at Windsor-Detroit; the kind that maintain vital links within communities, like the Fairview Overpass between Bedford, Nova Scotia and the city of Halifax.
Of course, bridges are just part of the story.
Roads and runways, community centres and commuter rail all over this great country are essential to the well-being of Canadian families. Infrastructure creates jobs, supports trade and fuels economic growth. Infrastructure drives productivity and contributes to long-term prosperity.
We have done a great deal to support infrastructure renewal—more than any other federal government—but there is much left to do. That is why, today, we are taking another major step to strengthen our communities.
I am pleased to announce the creation of the new building Canada plan, the largest long-term federal commitment to Canadian infrastructure in our nation's history. There will be $53.5 billion over the next 10 years for provincial, territorial and municipal infrastructure.
The plan has three components.
First, the community improvement fund will provide over $32 million to municipalities for projects such as roads, public transit and recreational facilities. The new fund incorporates the gas tax fund and the incremental GST rebate for municipalities. This name now reflects its true purpose: improving communities for Canadians. Acting on the advice of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities, the gas tax fund portion will be indexed and therefore will increase over time.
The second component is the building Canada fund, which will provide $14 billion to support major projects across the country.
The third component is the P3 Canada fund, which will provide $1.25 billion to continue to support innovative ways to build infrastructure projects faster and provide better value for Canadians. All building Canada plan projects with capital costs of more than $100 million will be screened for P3 potential. An additional $6 billion will be provided to provinces, territories and municipalities under current infrastructure programs in 2014-15 and beyond.
Even with the measures I have outlined here today, an unavoidable fundamental truth remains: governments alone cannot create prosperity. Former Prime Minister Arthur Meighen knew that when he said, “Vigour, faith and enterprise are the only weapons with which any individual, any family, or any nation can face the future”. It is, indeed, the vigour and enterprise of Canadian individuals and families that have made this country great, and their faith, faith in their own dreams, resourcefulness and abilities, faith that their government will be a benign and silent partner in their enterprise and not an overwhelming behemoth squeezing them at every turn. Sadly, this is not a faith that all Canadian governments have kept, but ours has.
Our government understands that the way to create jobs and growth is to reduce barriers for businesses, not raise them.
The way to help manufacturers is to lighten their burdens, not weigh them down with more.
That is why we established the lowest tax burden on new business investment in the G7.
That is also why we introduced tax relief to encourage manufacturers to invest in new machinery to retool Canada for the 21st century.
Today I am pleased to announce the extension of the accelerated capital cost allowance. This measure will provide $1.4 billion in tax relief to manufacturing companies investing in modern machinery and equipment. This will allow businesses across Canada to improve productivity and enhance their ability to complete globally.
More than 25,000 businesses in the manufacturing and processing sector have taken advantage of this initiative since it was first introduced in 2007. It has allowed companies like Armo Tool Limited of London, Ontario to buy new equipment that has brought sales and employment back to peak levels. We are also supporting Canadian manufacturers through important investments in key sectors like aerospace, forestry and military procurement.
With respect to military procurement, Canadian companies will be part of any plan to build equipment for our forces.
While manufacturing is critical to our future, small business is the lifeblood of the Canadian economy. Our government recognizes the significant contributions of these entrepreneurs and risk takers. On the advice of the Canadian Federation of Independent Business, we will extend and expand the temporary hiring credit for small business for an additional year. This will support small businesses as they grow and create jobs.
Much of our trade is with the United States, and getting people, goods and services across the border is critical to Canada’s prosperity. That is why our government will continue to implement our beyond the border action plan to keep trade with the United States flowing freely.
We have worked hard to expand trade with other countries as well. We have signed free trade agreements with nine countries since 2006, and negotiations are ongoing with many others including the European Union and the Trans-Pacific Partnership countries.
Many new innovative Canadian businesses depend upon venture capital to finance their growth, and it is in short supply in this country, especially since the economic crisis. This means companies with good ideas and high growth potential often have difficulty getting these ideas off the ground. That is why the Prime Minister and I went to Montreal in January to announce the establishment of the venture capital action plan. Measures announced in today's budget will advance the implementation of this plan so Canadian innovators have access to the private capital they need. As innovators, Canadians are among the world's best.
However, we need to work harder to see that new ideas are commercialized and become real products in the marketplace. Today, to help accomplish this, we are announcing a series of measures to support research, create partnerships and increase collaboration between research institutions and our entrepreneurs. We will, as the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada recommended, commit $225 million to modernize post-secondary research facilities across the country. And we will, for example, invest an additional $165 million to support genomics research.
Despite the economic issues our government has faced, we have done our very best to keep taxes low for all Canadians. In fact, our government has introduced more than 150 tax relief measures since 2006. That is why the average family of four is saving more than $3,200 per year in taxes.
That is why we introduced pension income splitting for seniors and other pensioners. That is why we introduced the working income tax benefit, which we can call WITB for short—actually I should not use “Whitby” and “short” in the same sentence—which encourages people who can to find jobs rather than remain on social assistance.
The federal tax burden for all Canadians is now the lowest it has been in 50 years, and more than eight million Canadians have already opened tax-free savings accounts. Tax fairness is important to ordinary, hard-working Canadians. They know that when everyone pays their fair share, it helps us keep taxes low for everyone.
To that end, we are taking additional action today to close tax loopholes. These are loopholes with strange names like synthetic dispositions and character conversion transactions. Those are complex, structured transactions that have allowed a select few to avoid paying their fair share of taxes. We are introducing new measures to crack down on tax evasion and aggressive tax avoidance to keep taxes low for Canadian families, families that work hard, play by the rules and pay their taxes.
For the past seven years, I have witnessed Canada at its best through good times and bad, through thick and thin. I have been impressed time and time again with the people of this great nation, their work ethic, their ingenuity and their strength of character. It would be presumptuous for anyone to say the future belongs to any particular country.
No one can know the future, but from where I stand I will say this: these seven years have belonged to Canada. The evidence is in. Our economy has been resilient, and we can all be proud of that.
I will also say this: Canada's economic future is bright. That we have some tough times ahead, I do not doubt. No one who sees the world around us would disagree.
The plan I have presented today, Canada's economic action plan 2013, advances a solid vision that has stood the test of time. Where others have faltered, we have maintained a consistent, steady hand.
Today we move this responsible plan forward, forward toward that bright future. With this plan, our government renews our commitment to Canadians, our commitment to jobs, our commitment to growth, our commitment to long-term prosperity for all Canadians.
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8525-411-22 Beyond the Border: A Shared ...Aboriginal reservesAccelerated capital cost allowance programAdult education and trainingAging of the labour forceAging populationApprenticeshipsAtlantic CanadaBalanced budgetBedfordBorders ...Show all topics
View Jim Flaherty Profile
CPC (ON)
View Jim Flaherty Profile
2012-03-29 16:47 [p.6716]
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Mr. Speaker, I thank the people of Scarborough Centre for sending such a great new member. I thank all the people in the GTA for sending such a strong contingent of government members to the House of Commons.
We have been working on infrastructure and working with the Federation of Canadian Municipalities. The Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities has been consulting with it. Our $33 billion Canada building plan continues until 2014.
We are introducing a new plan for the next year with respect to community centres, infrastructure and improvements and renovations. That will be important for small community-based facilities across Canada. We are also continuing with the gas tax sharing, which we have made permanent for municipalities.
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View Mark Adler Profile
CPC (ON)
View Mark Adler Profile
2011-12-14 18:26 [p.4462]
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Mr. Speaker, I welcome the opportunity to contribute to the debate on this motion introduced by the hon. member for LaSalle—Émard.
Part of the motion states:
--the government should: (a) recognize that the construction and maintenance of public infrastructure plays a vital role in the creation and protection of jobs, and that infrastructure is a strategic asset that supports vibrant, prosperous and sustainable communities;--
In budget 2007 our Conservative government announced the building Canada plan. This plan marked an unprecedented federal investment in Canada's infrastructure, a total of $33 billion over seven years in the things that matter, including: roads, highways and bridges, public transit, sewer and water systems, and green energy. Building Canada remains a historic initiative in terms of its size and its provision of predictable, flexible, long-term funding to support provinces, territories and municipalities in addressing their infrastructure priorities.
The building Canada plan supports important national goals, such as a stronger economy, a cleaner environment, and better communities, while addressing local and regional infrastructure needs. Building Canada also increased the gas tax fund. This fund was doubled to $2 billion a year beginning in 2009-10. By 2014 a total of $13 billion will have been provided to Canadian municipalities and first nations through the gas tax fund.
In budget 2009 our Conservative government announced Canada's economic action plan in response to the global economic recession. The economic action plan provided a total of $15 billion in new funding for infrastructure and housing across Canada, as well as the acceleration of the delivery of funds through building Canada.
The results have been outstanding. Since January 2009 the federal government along with its partners in the provinces, territories and municipalities, have committed more than $30 billion to incredibly valuable infrastructure projects across the country. Key economic action plan programs such as the infrastructure stimulus fund have now come to a conclusion, but this is not the end of the story. Our government understands the significant economic benefits that infrastructure investments can generate and we remain steadfast in our commitment to sustain infrastructure funding.
In October of this year the Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities announced that we would proceed with a new bridge across the St. Lawrence River in Montreal to replace the existing Champlain Bridge, and recently we tabled and passed legislation in the House to make the $2 billion a year gas tax fund a permanent measure. This is a very important measure that our municipalities asked for and our government delivered. Regrettably, the NDP chose to vote against this important long-term predictable funding for our municipalities.
Our Conservative government is also committed to consulting with our partners in the provinces and territories, as well as the Federation of Canadian Municipalities and other groups in the development of a new long-term plan for infrastructure that extends beyond building Canada. We formally launched this initiative on November 30, 2011. The launch attracted a very positive response from partners and stakeholders. In particular, the Federation of Canadian Municipalities applauded our government for launching this new infrastructure planning process.
As the Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities indicated when he made this announcement, during the first two phases of this process we will engage with our partners and stakeholders to first take stock of our joint accomplishments and study the results of the significant investments we have made that have, in fact, been made by all orders of government. Then we will build our analytical knowledge, and identify gaps and strategic priorities. We will also engage with our partners and stakeholders, as well as experts, to conduct technical studies to inform the discussion. The lessons learned from past programs will also help form the foundation for the long-term plan going forward.
During the third and final phase, we will work with our partners and stakeholders to explore the broad principles and orientation of the plan. Our combined efforts will result in an effective plan that seeks to help meet the public infrastructure needs of Canadians and support Canada's economic growth.
It is clear that our government continues to recognize the vital role infrastructure plays in the creation and protection of jobs, in building and maintaining strong, healthy and sustainable communities, and strengthening the foundation of our long-term prosperity.
To conclude, I would like to reiterate that our government is committed to infrastructure. Not only are we planning the future, we are taking action now.
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View Dan Albas Profile
CPC (BC)
View Dan Albas Profile
2011-10-27 18:24 [p.2616]
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Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. member for LaSalle—Émard for bringing the motion forward. The member for LaSalle—Émard raises an important subject that matters to all Canadians and one that is often taken for granted. I commend the member for raising this issue in her motion.
I believe that all members in this House recognize the importance of infrastructure. It was not so many years ago, in my riding of Okanagan—Coquihalla, that the community of Summerland was suffering from a serious water shortage. Water had to be diverted from a local stream to provide water for the residents but this threatened fish habitat. At one point, the mayor of Summerland was facing potential jail time. Not far away, Lake Okanagan was a floating bridge.
In order to comply with the federal Navigable Waters Protection Act, the bridge was required to rise to allow marine traffic passage below. The bridge was well over 50 years old and would fail, causing the bridge deck to get stuck in the up position, causing chaos. Ambulances and other emergency service vehicles could not get by.
Those are just a few examples of the problems created by decades of infrastructure neglect.
Fortunately, our government has taken strong action, which is why I am rising today to speak to the motion.
In budget 2007, it was our government that announced the seven-year $33 billion building Canada plan, the first ever federal long-term plan for infrastructure. In fact, the building Canada plan is the single largest, most sustained federal government commitment to public infrastructure in Canadian history.
It did not end there. In budget 2009, in response to the economic recession, our government announced Canada's economic action plan. Through the economic action plan, our government worked in partnership with the provinces, territories and municipalities to deliver timely, targeted and temporary investments that created jobs and helped boost our economy. In fact, we invested in over 28,000 projects all across Canada and, in many cases, these projects upgraded and rebuilt infrastructure that had suffered from decades of neglect under former governments.
In my home province of British Columbia, we had a B.C. NDP government that promised to build a new bridge to replace that same 50-year-old lifting bridge across Okanagan Lake. However, it did not. Much as it also promised to upgrade Highway 97 and much as the member for New Westminster—Coquitlam told us yesterday, the B.C. NDP did not build the Evergreen Line first proposed in 1993.
What the member for New Westminster—Coquitlam did not mention was that our government, working in partnership with the provincial government, had already made a $600 million commitment to that important project.
Another project in my home province of British Columbia that was not mentioned is the Canada Line transit project from the Vancouver airport in Richmond to downtown Vancouver. The project involved a $450 million investment from the federal government. And, to be clear, the Canada Line is a P3, a public-private partnership. That is why the NDP and CUPE were opposed to the project.
However, today, the Canada Line is a huge success. Average ridership today exceeds 100,000 a people. This is well ahead of all the projections. This infrastructure project has been a huge success and that success has also involved the private sector.
In municipalities across the country, from the southern expansion of Edmonton's light rail transit system, to a wind turbine to provide clean, powerful waste water treatment in Kensington, Prince Edward Island, or, in my riding of Okanagan—Coquihalla, the partnership that resulted in the new Okanagan College Centre for Excellence. This building is one of the most environmentally innovative structures of its kind in North America.
The latter examples illustrate how these infrastructure investments are supporting the government's broader goals in relation to energy, water conservation, air quality and the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.
These are just some of the examples of the $33 billion invested into important infrastructure projects across Canada. In fact, more than one-half of the building Canada plan, more than $17 billion, is going directly to municipalities through the gas tax fund and the goods and services tax rebate. Those funds help build our infrastructure.
As members of the House I am sure are well aware, our government has recently tabled legislation to make the gas tax fund permanent, at $2 billion per year, and the NDP stood in the House and voted against it. This will provide Canadian municipalities with significant, stable, predictable and sustainable funding for their infrastructure priorities. I know from my time as a city counsellor, this is the type of funding that local governments need to carry out major infrastructure projects. This is why we now have 28,000 infrastructure projects all across Canada in which our government has invested. There has not been a government in Canada, for over 30 years, that even comes close to matching what our government has done since 2007.
The government recognizes the vital importance that modern, world-class public infrastructure plays in virtually all aspects of our lives. Ultimately, this is the reason why I am speaking against the motion. We must recognize with all of these 28,000 infrastructure projects, all have occurred without the added expense of more Ottawa-imposed bureaucracy, as would result from what is proposed in Motion No. 270.
Canadians do not want, nor need, more bureaucracy and red tape or legislative frameworks from Ottawa. What Canadians need is action and, more important, results. From coast to coast to coast, the results from the leadership of the government are clear: upgraded water systems; expanded sewer systems; new recreational facilities and walking paths; and in fact much more. From city to city we can see the results from our government's infrastructure program. There are 28,000 projects that speak to the success of the government's economic action plan. I view each one of these projects as cause to speak against this motion.
With regard to the motion's reference to the Champlain Bridge in Montreal, the government has always taken its responsibilities for this important infrastructure asset. In the past few budgets we have invested a total of $380 million in the Champlain Bridge to maintain it and ensure its ongoing safety to the next decade. Then on October 5 this year, the Minister of Transport announced that our government would proceed with building a new bridge across the St. Lawrence River.
I would like to thank my colleagues for taking the time to hear my comments today. I would also like to thank the member for LaSalle—Émard for raising a very important issue. However, I believe this government's record for results and success in creating an unprecedented 28,000 infrastructure projects all across our great country speaks for itself and negates the need for any added Ottawa bureaucracy or administration, as Motion No. 270 contemplates.
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