Mr. Speaker, as the member for Sackville—Preston—Chezzetcook, I am pleased to rise to speak to Bill C-47, budget implementation act, 2023, No. 1.
I want to start, first, by explaining that Canada has probably been the most successful country coming out of COVID in the last two years. In the last year, we have seen the best and strongest economic growth in the G7, which is quite impressive.
Canadians had created 1.2 million jobs prior to the pandemic. Now we have recaptured that 1.2 million, and Canadians have created another 830,000 jobs. That is over two million jobs in the last five years. I would say that is very impressive.
Yes, we are facing inflation, which is a challenge the world is facing, but in the last month inflation has come down from 8% to 4.2%. The banks and economists are saying we are going to be down to about 3% by September. That is quite impressive as well.
We know there are challenges. We know the banks raised the interest rate, which is putting more pressure on individuals and Canadians, yet the unemployment rate is at a record low, which is extremely important.
What we have seen as well with unemployment is the fact that we brought forward the learning and child care program. We have seen a lot more women joining the workforce, which has shown us at a record high of 85.7% of women between 25 and 55 years of age participating in the workforce.
This budget targets inflation relief, strengthening public health care and dental care, the clean economy, and of course, maintaining our lowest net debt-to-GDP ratio in the G7.
The grocery rebate is directly helping 11 million Canadians. It is extremely important. A family of four is receiving about $467. Single Canadians are receiving about $234, and seniors are receiving $225. That is for low-income Canadians who are receiving the GST, of course.
For students, we are increasing the student grant by 40% and raising the interest-free Canada student loan limit so we can be of help on that end as well.
There have been various programs for seniors. I just mentioned the grocery rebate for those with low incomes. We also increased the OAS and GIS, which will grow by 30% by 2027-28. That is about $20 billion a year in increases, so that is direct support for seniors to ensure they are able to enjoy their retirement.
In the riding of Sackville—Preston—Chezzetcook, there have also been investments, like in the Beaverbank Kinsac Lions Club, which received $25,000 for upgrades. Also, the Sackville Seniors Advisory Council received $25,000 for programming. Those are direct investments into the riding of Sackville—Preston—Chezzetcook.
On the housing front, which is extremely important, for first-time homebuyers, young people, there is a new tax-free savings account, which will allow them to save $40,000 tax-free over, I believe, about seven years. This is tax-free going in and tax-free coming out for first-time homebuyers, which will be a very good investment and definitely a major help to young people.
It is also creating more flexibility around existing mortgages by extending amortization payments, adjusting the payment schedule or even authorizing lump sum payments. In the riding of Sackville—Preston—Chezzetcook, there have been some successful housing projects in the Chezzetcook area, the Lake Echo area and the Preston area.
Under the economy, industry and competitiveness for the green economy, which is a focus of our government, there are tax credits that will entice, invite, encourage and build on green electricity. We will see a 15% tax rebate on clean electricity. We will also see up to 30% in tax credits for machinery or equipment used for manufacturing or processing clean technology. The cleanest, hydrogen, will get up to a 40% rebate, which is encouraging. We know that Canadians will move forward on those major initiatives.
Through the Canada Infrastructure Bank, we have invested up to $20 billion for major projects in electricity and clean growth, and for those in Ontario, we have seen a major project, which is a game-changer, in the Volkswagen battery manufacturing, which will be an asset for the workers and people in Ontario.
I will quote the Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters: “CME welcomes #Budget2023 and the initial steps it takes to respond to the US Inflation Reduction Act...drive net zero transitions, improve labour shortages, and alleviate and supply chain disruptions.” That will also be an asset.
There are also industry-targeted investments we have for our space industry, our forestry industry and our tourism industry. We know our tourism industry took a major hit during COVID. We need to support our communities, so they can have more ways of attracting more tourists to their communities and also invest in bringing more international investment in conventions and events in our regions.
With that, of course, I cannot go without mentioning the investment in Michelin, the tire plant in Nova Scotia. It has three plants, of course, and the Bridgewater one is where they are going to modernize and also create innovative technology for tires to be more efficient, including the electric vehicle tires. Of course, they will cut on emissions, which will mean more jobs and a reduction to the environmental footprint of our economy.
We have also seen some reductions and savings, of up to $15 billion over five years, by reducing spending on consulting firms. There will be a 3% reduction for each department right across the government and $6 billion in savings over six years through the realignment of former announcements.
I do need to touch on a couple of key things. Health care is extremely important in Nova Scotia. We had been receiving $3.5 billion over 10 years. Now, we will be receiving $5 billion, which is $1.5 million, or a third, more. That would be very helpfully invested in home care, long-term care, dental care, oral health care, major doctors and nurses, and also in promoting initiatives to bring them to rural and remote communities.
Our workers are very important, and one of the things I want to talk about is the doubling of the tradespeople tool deduction from $500 to $1,000. I have heard many tradespeople tell me that was something they wanted. Also, I think a very important initiative is the employer ownership trusts, which mean there would be tax changes to allow private owners to sell to their employees the shares in the business, which would make them directly engaged in the challenges, but also the profits as well.
Our student work placement program is creating quality work-integrated learning opportunities. I will share with members that there is an announcement we had in Nova Scotia not so long ago of the Nova Scotia Apprenticeship Agency's START program, which sees many students who are learning on the ground as well as in their institutions.
There are many other investments, of course. The one I want to talk about is the investment in veterans to reduce backlogs once again. We already reduced the backlogs by 70%. We want to bring that down to 0. Also, we will continue to support our veterans through various services. There are some investments in my riding, of course. The Royal Canadian Legion branch in Waverley would receive $159,000 for a roof replacement, and the one in Eastern Passage would receive over $21,000 for renovations as well.
There is lots of investment, of course, in Atlantic Canada, in the Coast Guard, the ferry services, protecting our fresh waters and the Atlantic loop, which would help Quebec, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and others.
In closing, very importantly, I want to thank the Minister of Finance and the Prime Minister. I also want to thank all Canadians who contributed to the success of this budget, because it is a budget for Canada.