Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague from Scarborough—Guildwood for sharing his time with me today.
I am pleased to rise to speak to Bill C-14. I would like to begin by thanking all the essential workers across Canada, particularly those in my riding of Acadie—Bathurst, who have been working in grocery stores, hospitals, long-term care homes and other areas since the very beginning of this pandemic. They are real heroes.
I would like to thank all essential workers from the riding of Acadie—Bathurst who have worked tirelessly since this pandemic hit us and spread throughout Canada and throughout the world. They are the real heroes, whether they work in our grocery stores, hospitals or nursing homes. I thank them from the bottom of my heart for being there for us every single day since the pandemic hit us.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, we have been there for Canadian families. We have provided different types of assistance, including help for workers who have lost their jobs, for example through the CERB. We have been there for businesses in my region and across Canada that have had to close their doors because of this pandemic. The wage subsidy has been a huge help that has enabled them to retain their employees, which is why we will build on those efforts and continue helping Canadian families and workers. We are going to make sure that they have the programs they need to get through these difficult times.
I was talking about the CERB, but in my region, we have built and grown our economy around certain industries for centuries. I am thinking of fisheries, for example. At the beginning of the pandemic, there was a great deal of uncertainty surrounding our fisheries. That is why we put in place, with the Minister of Fisheries and our government, $470 million in funding to assist fishers through this difficult period of instability in the export markets for our seafood. This is an incredible investment in this area, and we must continue to ensure that our fisheries sector thrives for years to come.
On the subject of families, and without repeating everything my colleagues have said before me, I believe the Canada child benefit is one of the greatest legacies we can leave this country. Thousands and even millions of families have been able to access this program.
For the Canada child benefit, the numbers in my riding of Acadie—Bathurst are unbelievable. The last time I checked, $3.5 million is coming to this riding each month, and it is tax free. The numbers are astonishing: The number of children who received the Canada child benefit is 10,520.
Since we put it in place in 2016, this program has been a tremendous help to families, but when the pandemic hit, we provided additional funding to help these families get through the crisis and have a little more money in their pockets.
The business loan program is administered by our various regional agencies. I would like to give a shout-out to the CBDCs, here in my riding, in Bathurst or in Tracadie-Sheila, which have been tremendous at helping businesses get through these difficult times. Our financial institutions have made it possible to deliver these business loan programs.
Bill C‑14 is in fact designed to enhance those programs and provide a little more support to those families and businesses in my riding and across Canada. Take students for example. As we have said, we want the interest on student loans to be forgiven. That will give students a break. I am sure that my colleagues know what that is like, having been students, just as I was. It is stressful for students to have to worry about making student loan payments, wondering if they will find a job while in school, especially since that is very difficult right now in New Brunswick, with all the restrictions and closures. No longer having to pay interest will help students get through these difficult times.
The enhanced Canada child benefit is another measure that will truly help families in our region. Families with a net income of $120,000 or less will be eligible for up to $1,200 more. Families with a net income over $120,000 will also receive additional money. I hope that my colleagues in the opposition will support this measure to help families across Canada in their respective ridings. As members know, this program helps many Canadian families.
Once again, we want to give some respite to people struggling with mental health issues and maybe even substance abuse. This pandemic has affected a lot of people, and some have had to isolate for several weeks. This has certainly had a negative impact on mental health. Home is often considered to be a safe space, but that is not always the case. There are many incidents of domestic violence, and we need to put an end to that. This bill will provide much more support for these vulnerable people during the pandemic.
Earlier I mentioned that the regional relief and recovery fund, or RRRF, has been invaluable to businesses back home. We are going to improve this measure so that more businesses can access the fund, which will be distributed through the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency, in co‑operation with regional agencies such as Community Business Development Corporations, or CBDCs.
Eight dollars out of 10 from all the help programs Canadians and people in my riding receive come from the federal government. When I see a province like New Brunswick, which received astonishing amounts of transfer payments under different programs and streams, not helping the people of New Brunswick, it is unacceptable.
I saw a report today which showed that a lot of the money we transfer to provinces is being left on the table, especially in my home province of New Brunswick. I found it a bit disturbing to see that families who need help in New Brunswick do not receive the funds the federal government transfers to the province. When I look at the numbers, $7,452 in help is coming from the federal government and only $75 in help is coming from the Higgs government right now in the province of New Brunswick.
We all have to play a role in helping Canadians during this difficult time, during this pandemic. I wish and hope the Government of New Brunswick will use these funds to help businesses and New Brunswickers across my province.
We will not stop there. We said that every Canadian would be taken care of, and that is what we have endeavoured to do from day one. Through the various programs we have brought in we will be able to get through this difficult period and relaunch our economy.
I see that I am running out of time, but I forgot to address some things, including about the airports. Budget cuts at different airlines have resulted in my region losing its airport. I am pleased to see that our government will not give any financial assistance to these airlines until our regional connections are restored and Canadian passengers have their tickets refunded.
I hope that my colleagues will support Bill C‑14 to help Canadian families and our businesses.