Mr. Speaker, last week this government presented its first budget. The budget delivers. It delivers on tax relief. It delivers on focused spending. It delivers on paying down the debt.
The previous Liberal government had been overtaxing Canadians for far too long. Canadians were working longer, paying more in taxes and saving less than they were 13 years ago. It is time to give money back to Canadians. That is the bottom line of budget 2006.
This budget delivers $20 billion in tax relief over two years, more than the last four Liberal budgets combined. This Conservative government is going to be lowering everyone's taxes.
We will reduce the GST from 7% to 6%, effective July 1.
We will create a new $1,000 Canada employment credit, effective July 1. This new tax credit gives Canadians a break on what it costs to work, recognizing expenses for such things as home computers, uniforms and supplies.
We will increase the amount that all Canadians can earn without paying federal income tax.
We will create a new apprenticeship job creation tax credit for up to $2,000 per apprentice.
Effective July 1, we will provide a tax credit for the cost of transit passes.
We will completely eliminate the federal income tax for all income from scholarships, bursaries and fellowships.
We will create a new textbook tax credit for post-secondary students.
We will provide a physical fitness tax credit for up to $500 to cover registration fees for children's sports.
We will double the amount of eligible pension income for seniors that they can claim under the pension income credit. This is the first increase in more than 30 years.
This government is putting money back into the pockets of Canadians.
There is more.
The most important investment we can make as a country is in the next generation of Canadians. This government is committed to supporting all Canadian parents and their choices. That is why we have invested $3.7 billion over two years for the universal child care benefit. As of July 1, families will receive $1,200 for each child under six.
The Conservative government will also invest in new child care spaces, spending $250 million, beginning in 2007, to create 125,000 new child care spaces. We will work with governments, businesses and community organizations to create these new spaces.
Mr. Speaker, I will be splitting my time with the Minister of Human Resources.
Two women on my staff are working to raise young children under six at home. Both have opted for some form of private child care. Their choices in child care differ. However, they will join all other families who will benefit by receiving the child care benefit to allow them to spend their child care allowances as they choose.
I talked to a Langley woman yesterday who is a professional child care provider and has a two year old son of her own. She has worked in both child care and preschool. She confirmed that early years are incredibly important learning years for children. Over and over again, she said that no matter how good the child care facility is, nothing can replace a parent. That is why we will give parents choices in deciding what is best for their children.
Our government is committed to ensuring Canadians are safe in their homes and communities. Safe streets are the defining characteristic of the Canadian way of life and that must be preserved. Times are changing. Our cities are changing. The safe streets and neighbourhoods we expect as Canadians are threatened by gun, gang and drug crime.
Since I was elected almost two years ago, I have personally witnessed a Langley pedophile who sexually assaulted his neighbour's children and was sentenced to house arrest, with a view of his victims in their backyard. I have attended a dangerous sexual offender hearing for a man who kidnapped an 11 year old Langley girl right off the street in front of her best friend and sexually assaulted her before allowing her to escape.
In my riding, I have seen huge numbers of marijuana grow operations taken down by RCMP officers, who are overwhelmed with the number of grow ops reported. In Langley, my staff are currently attending the trials of two men who have been charged with murdering three Langley residents in separate incidents. Talk about being bold, the clubhouse of the Hells Angels is located within feet of my constituency office.
The previous Liberal government allowed a soft on crime attitude to lead to ineffective sentences and underfunded police forces, and it allowed organized crime to take a foothold across this great country. Canadians want serious time for serious crime.
With this budget, the government focuses on spending to protect Canadians on our streets, in our communities and at our national borders. We are cracking down on crime.
We will provide $161 million to put more RCMP officers on the streets. We will invest $37 million for the RCMP to expand its national training academy. We will set aside funds to expand Canada's correctional facilities. We will provide $20 million for communities to use to develop programs designed to prevent youth crime. We will provide $26 million to give victims a more effective voice. We will arm our border agents. We will make Canada safer.
We are going to be investing in infrastructure, in bridges, roads and transit, and that is important. A great trading country like Canada needs to have the very best highway and border infrastructure.
My riding of Langley sits on the Canada-U.S. border. As part of the greater Vancouver regional district, Langley is victim to many years of Liberal mismanagement in the infrastructure department. Transportation is the number one political issue affecting my constituents. In Langley, a rail line runs right through the centre of town, closing off all five rail crossings at the same time when a train comes through, many times a day.
Traffic backlogs caused by the previous Liberal government's failure to provide adequate railroad separation have created a very dangerous situation. Delays in moving goods to market cost money. Delays make business less competitive. With the welcome expansion of Deltaport, funding for railroad separation must be provided.
Our government is listening. Our government will increase its investment in new highways and border infrastructure. It is a long term commitment of unprecedented new investment. Over the next four years, we will invest a total of $16.5 billion in new infrastructure initiatives, including $3.5 billion this year and $3.9 billion next year. We will provide more than $5.5 billion in new federal funding for the highways and border infrastructure fund, the municipal rural infrastructure fund, the Canada strategic infrastructure fund, the public transit capital trust fund, and the Pacific gateway initiative.
We will maintain the estimated $3.9 billion in current funding under existing infrastructure initiatives. We will maintain the existing gas tax funding commitment under the new deal for cities and communities and the full GST rebate and the federal portion of the HST paid by municipalities. These taxes measure up at about $7.1 billion in infrastructure support for cities and municipalities over the next four years.
Canadians who live in cities are justifiably concerned about traffic congestion and the harmful emissions associated with it. Our government knows that investing in public transit infrastructure will help preserve our environment. That is why we are providing up to $1.3 billion to support public transit capital investments. Effective July 1, we will also help Canadians with the cost of riding the bus, commuter train or subway by providing a tax credit for the cost of transit passes.
We know that we all need to do a lot more to help the environment, and our government will spend $2 billion over the next five years to develop a made in Canada climate change program that will actually make a difference. As the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Environment, I am very proud of the opportunity to work to improve our global environmental health.
We finally have a government that is working hard to make Canada cleaner, safer and prosperous, and with a commitment to be open and accountable.
This is a great budget that Canadians are happy with. I ask all members of the House to support it.