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House of Commons Hansard #133 of the 39th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was budget.

Topics

6:40 p.m.

Calgary Nose Hill Alberta

Conservative

Diane Ablonczy ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, the important thing to note is that there is a great attempt to support the regions, particularly the smaller municipalities, the rural areas of Canada, because we know the strength in these areas is very important, not just to those areas directly but to all of Canada.

We have delivered a great deal of assistance to these communities. We have the infrastructure program, the new long term plan. That will be $33 billion over the next seven years to help municipalities meet their infrastructure needs.

We have the other elements of the plan, including the new building Canada fund. That will support large scale products and also small scale municipal projects such as cultural and recreational facilities and other municipal projects.

As the member mentioned, we have confirmed that the gas tax money will be rebated to the municipalities right until 2012. We have safe funding for these projects that will be going on for the next number years. Municipalities can count on those funds.

For a lot of agricultural communities, we have invested enormously in our agriculture sector, which helps a number of these smaller communities, these regions. We have put into place better programs for savings, for the input costs for agriculture. We have invested a $1 billion in this budget and that is on top of about $1.5 billion in the last budget.

In fact, with all the measures that will help agriculture and agricultural communities and municipalities that depend on agriculture, we have made an investment of $4.5 billion. We have also provided assistance for renewable fuels production and that again will help these communities.

The member mentioned some technical problems in applying for moneys under these programs. Those problems can be worked out. I wonder if he has worked with the ministers and people involved to try to address these issues.

In just a 30 second question in the House, he will not get to those technical details. These basic supports for the communities he is talking about are hugely in place under the last budget and the latest budget of the government.

I ask the hon. member to read the budget plan again carefully and he would see that those supports are there. If he can suggest anything that needs to be tweaked to ensure that the issues he has brought forward are addressed, then the government is happy to hear and work with that. It is our intention to give strong and ongoing support to the communities and regions with all the programs that the government funds.

6:45 p.m.

Liberal

Ken Boshcoff Liberal Thunder Bay—Rainy River, ON

Mr. Speaker, first, there is no mention anywhere in the budget of specific regional support for any of the programs across the country. The north and all regions must be reassured. I ask the parliamentary secretary to convey that.

The second point is the budget clearly does not address the distribution of the gas tax to the roads and local service boards of Ontario. There are $6 million yet waiting for a mechanism to distribute these funds.

Third, why would the budget not follow the recommendations of the provincial and national municipal organizations such as the Association of Municipalities of Ontario and FCM to make this funding, these supports for municipalities permanent?

6:45 p.m.

Conservative

Diane Ablonczy Conservative Calgary Nose Hill, AB

Mr. Speaker, the member will know that people who live in rural communities are proud to live there. They have an enormous commitment to making their communities flourish and prosper and so does the government. We are providing significant funding to help secure economic benefits for Canada's coastal and rural communities, derived from the programs of the government.

The member will also know that the government must negotiate, must have a plan that is agreed to by all of the players, the federal, provincial and municipal governments. Sometimes that takes some time to accomplish, but the commitment is there, the money is there and I know the benefits will follow.

6:45 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Conservative Royal Galipeau

The motion to adjourn the House is now deemed to have been adopted. Accordingly the House stands adjourned until tomorrow at 10 a.m., pursuant to Standing Order 24(1).

(The House adjourned at 6:47 p.m.)