Mr. Speaker, I think this is the fourth or fifth time that I have spoken on this bill. Apparently the message is not getting through.
The merits of this bill are self-evident. This bill anticipates the spending of something in the order of $4.5 billion in four key areas previously identified by the government where investments of great significance have already been made, namely, affordable housing, post-secondary education, foreign aid and the environment.
Mr. Speaker, I know of your interest in all of these areas, particularly affordable housing. That is an area of investment that currently receives in the order of $1.9 billion on an annual basis. That investment houses something in the order of 640,000 families who are given shelter by virtue of the investment by the Government of Canada on an annual basis of $1.9 billion. This bill proposes to add an additional $1.6 billion to that base funding of $1.9 billion, which in and of itself should contribute to housing many more families.
I know members opposite criticized this bill on account of the fact that it does not specify which house, city or community the money is supposed to go to. I point out to members opposite and those who may be listening that this money is allocated in the same fashion as would any other moneys in any other budget document. I suggest that the level of detail proposed by motions that have been put forward on the floor previously generally do not get incorporated into a budget or a budget implementation bill.
It is rather interesting because in the area of affordable housing once the government turned the ship of state around and broke the back of the deficit, one of the first investments by the government was in the area of affordable housing. I know the area of homelessness was of great interest in particular to those of us in urban ridings. In my case, the riding of Scarborough—Guildwood is at the eastern most part of Toronto. At one point it was the entranceway to Toronto until Highway 401 was built. As a consequence, there are quite a number of motels along Kingston Road. Along the same road, we were sheltering a number of families in housing which frankly was unacceptable.
Mr. Speaker, I wish to inform the House that I will be splitting my time with the member for Hamilton East—Stoney Creek.
The moneys that were allocated through the supporting communities partnership initiative, otherwise known as SCPI, have been extremely important to my riding and indeed I know to quite a number of other ridings. They have in fact addressed the issue of affordable housing for homeless people or people who are near homeless. That has resulted in 1,400 homeless people in my riding being reduced to 75 over the course of a number of years, which means now only about 75 people are seeking shelter on a night by night basis as opposed to 1,400. Bill C-48 builds on initiatives such as that.
I know as well, Mr. Speaker, that you are interested in post-secondary education. It is near and dear to your heart because you come from Kingston, which of course is home to the university from which you and I graduated, namely Queen's University. These moneys, the $1.5 billion contemplated in Bill C-48, will be addressed to making that university, along with all of the other great universities in Canada, more accessible to students, so that students may enjoy the benefits of higher education.
As members know, the life and well-being of people who actually seek and obtain higher education is greatly enhanced by post-secondary education and training. I anticipate that these moneys, the $1.5 billion, will be added to the $15.5 billion that the Government of Canada currently puts into post-secondary education and other social grants and programs.
That money is roughly divided evenly between cash and tax points. This will be a significant infusion of cash into that field. As I say, those students at Queen's and other universities around our country will enjoy the benefits of this significant investment, building on the previous investments of the Government of Canada.
I know as well, as do all members, that the environment is something that Canadians probably rank if not first now, certainly second, vis-à-vis health care. Health care and the environment are linked, as the hon. member for Peterborough indicated. We cannot really separate the two. We cannot have good health unless we have a good environment, so I would anticipate that again, members opposite would be very supportive of $900 million that is contemplated as an investment in Bill C-48.
We anticipate that this will build upon the $1 billion over five years in the clean air fund, the $250 million that is in the partnership fund, the $225 million over five years which will quadruple the number of homes retrofitted under the EnerGuide program, the $200 million for the windpower initiatives, $300 million contemplated in Bill C-43 for the green municipal fund, and an equivalent of $5 billion over five years out of the federal gas tax revenues.
All of those are initiatives that have been taken in Bill C-43, the original budget, along with previous budgets have been put forward by the government, voted upon by the House, and have been found by Canadians to be a very acceptable and useful way in which to deploy tax dollars.
The other area where an investment is contemplated is foreign aid. Bill C-48 anticipates something in the order of an additional investment of $500 million in international assistance. Canada's recently released international policy statement put out by the Minister of Foreign Affairs and the Minister for CIDA sets out a vision for Canada and its role in the world. This new international policy framework delivers on the government's commitment to invest in the international role which builds our presence around the world.
We had increased international assistance by $3.4 billion over the next five years and we anticipate that we will be doubling levels from 2001-02 through to 2010-11. We anticipate that we will be doubling the aid to Africa from its level in 2003-04 by 2008-09.
This reflects the government's commitment to alleviate the poverty that is in Africa. It reflects the commitment by the Prime Minister and the Minister of Finance to address those problems in an effective way.
I anticipate that this bill will receive a great deal of favour from members opposite. I cannot imagine why members opposite would vote against investing in foreign affairs, in affordable housing, in the environment and in post-secondary education. I urge all members to support Bill C-48.