Mr. Speaker, I am happy to have the opportunity today to speak to the substantial amount of work that this government is actually doing to support the infrastructure needs of the cities of Canada and in fact the city of London's infrastructure needs as well as those of all the communities across this country.
The member has her facts wrong. Indeed, our government recognized in our very first budget in 2006 the urgent need to invest in infrastructure in order to maintain Canada's quality of life and our economic competitiveness. We understand that Liberals left a $123 billion deficit in this country's infrastructure.
It is important to highlight the fact that the previous Liberal government left us with this critical and challenging infrastructure gap. It is this Conservative government that took swift action in the very first budget, as I have said, to speed up our world class infrastructure program for this country.
The government realizes and recognizes that communities face different challenges. In fact, the city of Calgary has indicated that it has a $10 billion deficit. The city of Fort McMurray, my community, has a $2 billion deficit. While cities must compete to attract investments and a skilled workforce, smaller communities must offer the same type of infrastructure as bigger municipalities if they want to ensure their future growth and prosperity. We do recognize that.
Therefore, the government has announced an unprecedented amount, $33 billion, which is more money than has been invested since the end of the second world war. This building Canada plan is delivering the results that matter to Canadians. As the member said, faster commutes, cleaner water, cleaner air and safer roads and bridges, that is what we are investing in.
The government understands how important it is to provide provinces, territories and municipalities with the ability to plan for the future. That is why over 50% of the funding provided under the building Canada plan is in the form of funding for municipalities. This Conservative government cares about municipalities.
Accordingly, over $17 billion in funding will be available to municipalities for their infrastructure priorities, including an extension to the gas tax fund until 2014, for which payments to municipalities will rise from $600 million in the last fiscal year to $2 billion per year in 2010 and continue thereafter for another four years.
This means that London, Ontario, which has already received almost $55 million under the gas tax fund, can expect even more funding, starting in 2010. In addition, each municipality continues to benefit from the 100% GST rebate--that is right, the 100% GST rebate--which can be applied toward infrastructure priorities of that community.
As well, last spring this government announced that it was providing an additional $200 million to the municipal rural infrastructure fund to further help meet the pressing infrastructure needs in Canada's smaller communities.
Under the building Canada plan, the government is also committed to funding larger strategic projects that promote a stronger economy and healthier environment, which is what Canadians have told us they want.
This is why on October 15 we announced a commitment of up to $50 million for the clean water Huron Elgin London project. This initiative will improve clean drinking water access for 500,000 residents in some 20 southwestern Ontario municipalities, including London.
However, it is very important to note that partnership is a two way street. This historic federal investment is significant even as we recognize that provinces, territories and municipalities have primary responsibility under the Constitution for municipal fiscal capacity, municipal responsibilities and municipal infrastructure.
We have delivered long term predictable funding in the unprecedented amount of $33 billion. This long term predictable funding commitment will allow communities to plan and meet their infrastructure challenges now and well into the 21st century. This government is taking positive action.