Thank you, Mr. Chair, and I want to thank the witnesses for coming today.
I'd like to correct the record on some of the things that have been said. I hope the opposition members are listening, because it's not anything that I'm making up; it is straight facts.
If you turn to page 189, for example.... I don't criticize that you're coming here to ask for more money. I've been on the budget committee for three years, and I hear every year about more money and so on. But just to be absolutely factual, the health transfer to the provinces is going up by 6%, at $22.6 billion a year, and the Canadian social transfer is going up by 3%, as promised.
Then there was a question about equalization. For the whole country equalization is $14 billion in round numbers, and in this budget $8 billion of that $14 billion goes to Quebec. The next closest province is Manitoba, at $2 billion. If you look at the change from 2006-07, even if you went back as far as 2005-06, in 2008-09 it goes from almost $4.8 billion to $8 billion, a significant increase in equalization payments, as deserved by the formula that has been agreed to by all the provinces through our constitutional discussions that happened. That money has actually been flowing through equalization. It's in black and white; it's nothing that I have made up. It's available to anybody who wants to see the actual figures.
In chapter 3, which was mentioned before, we talked about sectoral competitiveness. In this section we have money and changes and improvements for short-term stimulus for forestry, for agriculture, for the Canada space industry, for shipbuilding, for the automotive industry--which is important in my area of Burlington, with Ford right next door in Oakville--for culture and sport, for tourism. It's all listed there on the moneys we're putting toward these programs for a short-term stimulus to make these things happen.
In the pre-budget consultations we heard over and over again from organizations about money needed for infrastructure and putting it forward. We have done that for colleges and universities. I can tell you, this past week when I was in my riding I had a meeting with the chamber of commerce. They had an open forum for those who are political action organizations. There were 85 people there. The local community college was there, Mohawk College, asking about the money, happy that the money was there. I'm glad I'm hearing some positive feedback that the money has been set aside. But for us to get it out the door, we need to get this passed.
I'll give you another example. We heard from the forestry industry in January about how important work-share had been as an employment piece to their organizations to make sure they are able to keep their employees working at least part of the week. We've extended work-share in this budget by 14 weeks.
I would just like to say that I appreciate the comments that we're hearing today, and I also appreciate the comment from the colleges and universities representative saying, “We fully understand that everything cannot be accomplished in one budget and that the January investments represent only a part of the multi-year plan this government has put forward in its science and technology strategy, but not just in that strategy, but in many of the things we have tried to accomplish.”
My point is that we have listened. We have implemented much of what you've heard today. I was feeling that we had to put the record straight on what is actually in this stimulus package, in this economic plan, in this implementation legislation that we have here.
I appreciate the time. Thank you, Mr. Chair.