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House of Commons Hansard #169 of the 39th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was million.

Topics

Procedure and House AffairsCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

4:55 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Conservative Royal Galipeau

(Motion agreed to)

The House resumed consideration of the motion that Bill C-52, An Act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on March 19, 2007, be read the third time and passed, and of the motion that this question be now put.

Budget Implementation Act, 2007Government Orders

5 p.m.

Conservative

Rick Dykstra Conservative St. Catharines, ON

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the opportunity to speak today to the budget once again. It is worth speaking to more than once. It is significant for the country and it is significant for my riding in St. Catharines. It strengthens our economic federation. It invests in a stronger, safer and healthier Canada. It builds on the foundations of policy, which were developed and announced in November, to talk about Canada's strengths.

We announced what the policy framework and measures were going to be, in terms of moving forward, and we ensured that we acted upon those policies within the framework of our budget, those policies being fiscal advantage, tax advantage, infrastructure advantage, knowledge advantage; and entrepreneurial advantage.

The budget is fiscally responsible and it is a prudent balance between long term prosperity and short term needs.

In terms of long term prosperity, we have a significant debt payment. It requires, based on the way the budget is structured, that future governments do the same in ensuring that any surpluses go against our national debt. It ensures that not only are those tax savings on interest going back to Canadians through reductions in personal income tax, but it also tells future generations that we are acting responsibly and turning a country and an economy over to them that will not be straddled with a significant national debt.

It also recognizes and rewards the people who make our country great. We do not talk about this very often, but owners of small business, low income working Canadians, Canadian parents who pay household bills and try to save for their children's tuition are the people who make our country great. It is unique in terms of Canadian strengthens. Canada's government is committed to building on those solid foundations.

Budget 2007 is a first step of Advantage Canada's long term plan. Several major announcements, as I mentioned, fulfill the promises and commitments that we made in November.

For example, for small and large businesses, we are committed to reducing the paper burden on them by 20%. When we talk to small businesses across the country, business owners who employ perhaps themselves and their families or perhaps two or three employees, the paperwork they need to go through to keep that business running and to keep everything accountable is significant. From a federal perspective, we have said that they should have less paperwork, less red tape with which to deal.

We have also told those same people that it is time we increase the lifetime capital gains exemptions for small business owners, for farmers and for fishermen, from one side of the country to the other. Will we ensure they have the benefit of lifetime capital gains? Yes. We are moving from an amount of $500,000 to $750,000. The last time it was increased was back in 1988, almost 20 years ago. Its time has come.

We have also ensured that we have increased capital cost allowance rates on buildings used in manufacturing or processing, from 4% to 10%. We have ensured that other capital cost allowance rates have been raised, as well. It puts Canada's tax rate on new investment now third lowest among G-7 nations.

For manufacturing, there is a two year, 50% straight write-off for any capital investments in equipment and machinery acquired after the announcement of the budget on March 19. That is significant for manufacturing. General Motors announced a potential expansion in St. Catharines of some $400 million into a building, an investment it can make because it realizes that investment can be accelerated in terms of its write-off. It is already spurring economic activity across the country and the budget has not even been passed yet.

However, business cannot do it alone. Infrastructure is also desperately needed. Therefore, we have renewed our gas tax commitment. We have ensured that all municipalities, like the City of St. Catharines, will receive a portion of the gas tax credit.

By 2010, the city of St. Catharines will have received some $4.2 million. When we put that into context and look at the city of St. Catharines' operating budget, that $4.2 million will represent 5% of its yearly operating budget. That means property taxpayers should not have to see the types of increases they have over the last number of years.

We have also extended that gas tax credit until 2013-14. It means communities like mine can count on that money. They know it will be there. They can make their investments. They can talk about infrastructure and make the type of investments they need to ensure their communities are strong. Municipalities across the country know they have a partner in the federal government.

There will be priorities for these funds such as a cleaner transit system and better access to hospitals so people can get there sooner? We look forward to working with councils across the country to get this job done. In my riding the relationship, based on this, is a strong one. We look forward to working together.

The building Canada fund will mean $8.8 billion of investment over the next seven years for areas including border crossings and trade gateways from one side of the country to the other.

The budget is historic because it restores fiscal balance. It implements the recommendations of the expert committee on equalization. Glen Hodgson, chief economist for the Conference Board of Canada, said, “I think we can probably declare the fiscal imbalance between the federal and the province governments is over”.

This is what it means for Ontario and my community. It honours the Canada-Ontario agreement, which means close to $7 billion of new investment into the province and communities like mine. It means that social programs will be funded for the first time, especially those of health care, on a capital basis, which is huge for the province of Ontario.

In total Ontario will receive more than $12.7 billion in transfers in this fiscal year alone. The transfer means so much to the province. Regions like Niagara need to make it clear to the provincial government that they expect their fair share. Let me provide an example.

This government committed $250 million in new money for child care expenditures through 2007-08. That meant for the province of Ontario there would be $95 million to create new child care spaces in the province. Obviously that would trickle down and hopefully mean new spaces in Niagara and St. Catharines.

However, the provincial government in Ontario determined that, despite the fact it would receive $95 million in child care payments, it would only include an additional $25 million in its budget. That means $70 million in transfer payments, which hopefully were to be dedicated by the federal government to the province of Ontario, will not be invested in child care.

There was a lot of talk in the House from parties opposite that maybe we needed to invest more because there was a need for more spaces. The cheque was cut, the money was sent and the spaces were not provided and the money was not invested by the province of Ontario.

We have also had the opportunity to restore the fiscal balance with the Canadian taxpayer. There were $9.2 billion put toward debt. It has been said, but it should be said again, that $22.4 billion over the last two years went toward paying down the debt. Debt reduced today means taxes reduced tomorrow.

We have ensured that personal tax cuts are there as well. There is a $2,000 child tax credit worth $300 a year for every child under the age of 18. There is pension splitting for seniors, finally, after 40 years. We have also made key investments in the area of education, research and development and cultural heritage. All of this is to ensure that from 2005-06 to 2008-09 spending will increase by 4.1%, a full percentage point less than the economy is expected to grow.

Excluding the one time cost of restoring the fiscal balance since budget 2006, the value of these tax cuts announced is more than double the value of new spending announcements.

We believe in responsible fiscal management and we will live up to the promises of advantage Canada to reduce debt, reduce taxes and position our country to be a world economic leader.

Budget Implementation Act, 2007Government Orders

5:10 p.m.

Conservative

Merv Tweed Conservative Brandon—Souris, MB

Mr. Speaker, I want to start by congratulating the member for St. Catharines. He has sat on the finance committee. I have had the opportunity to substitute on that committee and I know that all the members of that committee do a tremendous job in working for the Canadian taxpayer in trying to do the best with every dollar that they give us to spend on their behalf.

I listened quite closely to the member's comments. He has somewhat of a special interest as I do, in that a lot of seniors live within my community. I know that the budget offered a lot of benefits to the seniors in our communities. I would ask the member for St. Catharines to elaborate a little on that.

Budget Implementation Act, 2007Government Orders

5:10 p.m.

Conservative

Rick Dykstra Conservative St. Catharines, ON

Mr. Speaker, it is an excellent question and I certainly want to congratulate the member on his support for seniors in his riding and across the country.

The 2007-08 budget is historic from a seniors perspective. For the first time in 40 years we are going to do what a report recommended to the Senate and the House, that seniors' pension incomes should be split so that they will pay less tax, so that they will be able to keep more dollars and will be able to stay in their homes and pay property tax or be able to afford the things that are necessary.

We have taken another position with respect to the new horizons program. We have a new seniors council. The Prime Minister said that we will have leaders who are dedicated, which we do in Senator Marjory LeBreton and the Minister of Health, who will show the leadership to make sure that the seniors council provides us with the type of advice that the government wants and needs to help seniors in the short term and the long term.

That commitment comes through clearly in the new horizons program where 14 million new dollars are being invested so that communities like mine can ensure that seniors have programs that are dedicated specifically to them. We want to make sure that they too have an opportunity to play a role in their communities.

Budget Implementation Act, 2007Government Orders

5:10 p.m.

Conservative

Ed Fast Conservative Abbotsford, BC

Mr. Speaker, I want to thank my colleague for his intervention and for his support of this very visionary budget.

There is something that puzzles me. I have listened to some of the debate from the Liberal members in the House and what has been notably absent is any discussion about the benefits which Ontario receives under the budget. I have listened to some of the Liberal members from Ontario speak and there has been no mention at all about the huge benefits the budget delivers to Ontario.

Since my colleague is from Ontario and represents the riding of St. Catharines very well and actually understands what is in the budget, perhaps he could comment on the kinds of benefits Ontarians can expect to receive under the budget.

Budget Implementation Act, 2007Government Orders

5:10 p.m.

Conservative

Rick Dykstra Conservative St. Catharines, ON

Mr. Speaker, that is an excellent question from the member for Abbotsford.

Yes indeed Ontario benefits from the budget, so much in fact that I am surprised that of the nearly 60 members of the Liberal Party in opposition, I have yet to hear one of them talk about how the budget hurts the province of Ontario. That is an easy question to answer when one asks whether it does or does not hurt the province of Ontario.

Members will not be surprised to hear that the budget does everything intended for the province of Ontario to show that we are committed to making sure that the country's largest province is included in the new fiscal arrangement and the benefit it will provide for our country.

Budget Implementation Act, 2007Government Orders

5:10 p.m.

An hon. member

Even the premier likes it.

Budget Implementation Act, 2007Government Orders

5:10 p.m.

Conservative

Rick Dykstra Conservative St. Catharines, ON

Even the Liberal premier, as my colleague mentioned, has said that this is a good budget for the province of Ontario. It is a budget that brings close to $12.8 billion in funding. More important, for the first time in the history of equalization payments, health care is funded on a per capita basis. Based on the population in the province of Ontario we are finally receiving the health care dollars we deserve from the federal government.

Budget Implementation Act, 2007Government Orders

5:15 p.m.

Liberal

Roy Cullen Liberal Etobicoke North, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise to speak to Bill C-52, An Act to implement certain provisions of the budget.

I listened to the member for St. Catharines talk about how the Conservative government is setting up the new seniors council. After the Conservative government talked about not having patronage appointments, what it has done is it has disbanded the National Council on Aging, an organization that had been set up by our Liberal government, and has started a new seniors council. The council basically has the same mandate and the same terms of reference, but there is one noticeable difference: it is stacked with Conservative appointees. This is not strictly a budget matter, but I had to comment on it.

This budget lacks vision. It lacks a direction for Canada. It is a collection of some sundry items, but it has no cohesion. There is a large amount of spending, spending in the wrong areas and spending that is going to be inflationary. In fact, we are already finding that it is inflationary because of the intended actions of the Bank of Canada to deal with it. We knew it would be inflationary. If the spending had been put in the right places, it would not have been as inflationary and might have had some benefit. The spending is in the wrong areas. Let me give an example.

Of course we know the Conservative government wants to reduce the GST, but in doing so, it increased personal income taxes, which any self-respecting economist will say is not good economic policy.

The government has also reneged on the Kelowna accord, which was providing many benefits to our aboriginal people in terms of housing, schools, clean water and many of the basic needs that aboriginal Canadians in this country need. The government has reneged on that.

The Conservatives have failed to deliver the funding required to implement the early childhood development agreements that had been negotiated in good faith by our Liberal government. They set up this phony child care program which does not really provide any spaces for child care in Canada.

The finance minister stood in this House, and I will never forget this, and said that the acrimony with the provinces and territories had been resolved, it had been fixed. He said that the so-called fiscal imbalance had been dealt with. I remember thinking how naive can a finance minister get. Certainly that came home to roost in spades when Nova Scotia, Newfoundland and Labrador, Saskatchewan and many of the provinces said that this budget fails to deliver on equalization, that it reneges on the promise with respect to the Atlantic accord.

Income trusts are another good example. The Conservatives campaigned on the idea that they were not ever going to tax income trusts. What did they do? They broke that promise. They have come in now and taxed income trusts with hardly an apology. They wrote off about $25 billion to $30 billion in capitalized value of Canadians who counted on the word of the Conservative government not to tax income trusts. That promise was broken.

Many of us in the House would agree that the income trust question needed to be dealt with, but there were ways to deal with it in a much smarter and a much more fair way for all Canadians. In fact, the grandfathering that the government chose was not fair. It could have been done in a much more equitable fashion. In fact, I think there was an argument to be made to go back to the original raison d'être of income trusts, which was to help with the capitalization of energy companies and with property management companies. What did the government do? It brought in this measure which really hurt many Canadians who were saving for their retirement.

The government through the finance minister has come out with provisions with respect to the non-deductibility of interest expense. What the Conservatives tried to do was deal with some tax evasion measures, in other words, where income by companies is put into low tax or no tax jurisdictions and the interest expense is put into the jurisdiction of Canada and treated as an interest expense.

Yes, there was some abuse of that, but what the government has done is taken the measure to a ridiculous extreme. It has created the unintended consequence, or maybe the intended consequence, I am not sure how clearly the government thought this through, that companies in Canada will be put at a disadvantage when trying to acquire companies abroad.

The income trust decision of the government and the interest non-deductibility measures mean that Canadian companies are going to be targets of more takeovers, more takeovers than we have seen already. The list goes on of Canadian icons such as Inco, Falconbridge, Hudson's Bay and many other companies that have been taken over by non-Canadian interests. Takeovers of energy companies are going to increase, given the income trust decision, and also of companies in general, given the non-deductibility of interest measures.

What does the government do? The industry minister sits on his hands while the world goes by. He argues that the markets will solve everything and that the government should not be an interventionist. The government is finally going to respond and is proposing to make some changes to the Investment Canada Act, but I suspect it will be too little, too late.

There is one aspect of the budget that I think is particularly devastating. The budget provides no real initiative to enhance Canada's productivity, nor to enhance the rate of innovation in Canada. We have some productivity challenges, especially with respect to our neighbours to the south, our major trading partner, and this budget does nothing with respect to innovation or research and development.

We look back to the mid-1990s. Our government inherited a $42 billion deficit in 1993. In three short years, with the cooperation and the commitment of all Canadians, that deficit was eliminated and our government began on the path of reinvesting in research and innovation.

We created the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, the CIHR, and the Canada Foundation for Innovation. We set up research chairs across Canada. We also provided some funding for the indirect costs of research overheads. We changed the brain drain to a brain gain.

When a number of my Liberal colleagues and I visited the MaRS project in downtown Toronto recently and we went to the Hospital for Sick Children, I was saddened to learn that some of that brain gain is in jeopardy. We met researchers from all over the United States who had come back to Canada based on the research environment here, but they were thinking that maybe the research environment here in Canada was not so wonderful after all.

There was a lack of commitment to funding for the CIHR in this budget. There was a paltry increase. The CIHR also has some serious challenges with respect to continuity of funding. If a researcher who is an expert in his or her field cannot set up the team that he or she needs and set up a research program over a number of years, then that research is in jeopardy. That is what is happening.

There is also a significant problem with respect to the indirect costs of overheads. Our Liberal government took some measures in that area, but more needs to be done to ensure that the research environment continues here in Canada.

I will talk briefly about crime and safe streets. In our 2006 election platform, the Liberal Party promised a complete ban on handguns. In fact, the then prime minister, the member for LaSalle—Émard, came to my riding of Etobicoke North and committed our party, if elected to government, to a complete ban on handguns.

Just this weekend, again in my riding of Etobicoke North, there was another murder, a drive-by shooting. It was a senseless cowardly act. One person is dead and three are injured. This happened because of the proliferation of handguns.

It is true that handguns are coming across the border from the United States, and that is why our government made more commitments at our border to stem the flow of guns coming from the United States into Canada. More needs to be done on that front. However, the reality is that many handguns are stolen from collectors

Instead of backing away from the gun registry, which is what the Conservatives are planning to do, they should be investing in the gun registry. They should be banning handguns.

We know that putting $1 billion into arming our border guards will have no deterrent effect on the people in Chicago, Boston or wherever, who run guns or drugs into Canada. These people are not sitting around thinking that now that Canada has armed border guards they had better not run the guns or drugs into Canada. Instead of using $1 billion to arm our border guards, that money could be put into much more useful endeavours.

This budget fails on a number of accounts and I will be voting against it for sure.

Budget Implementation Act, 2007Government Orders

5:25 p.m.

Conservative

Michael Chong Conservative Wellington—Halton Hills, ON

Mr. Speaker, I want to address something the member for Etobicoke North raised in his speech that I think needs to be countered. It is in regard to his comments with respect to our government's plan in this budget to put Canada's fiscal federalism back on track.

When we became the government in 2006, we were left with quite the tangled set of arrangements with respect to fiscal federalism. Let me recount for members what actually happened.

In October 2004, the previous Liberal government, at a first ministers meeting chaired by the then prime minister, came up with this absurd idea that Canada was going to go to a fixed pot for equalization, that we were going to disconnect the equalization formula from any real world economic realities.

The government was going to go to this fixed pot of $10.9 billion a year that would grow at an annual rate, from there on in, of 3.5%, with absolutely no idea of how the government was going to apportion that new amount of money among the various provinces. There were no connections to real world economic realities. There were no connections to the 33 tax bases that the provinces use to collect their taxes.

Subsequent to that, the previous government negotiated these deals for the Atlantic accord and the Canada-Ontario May 2005 agreement that left the other provinces out of the loop, so we were left with the difficult job of trying to disentangle the arrangements of fiscal federalism, which we did.

I would say to the member opposite that he has a very rose-coloured view of the performance of the previous government with respect to fiscal federalism.

Budget Implementation Act, 2007Government Orders

5:25 p.m.

Liberal

Roy Cullen Liberal Etobicoke North, ON

Mr. Speaker, during our mandate we came a long way in dealing with the challenges of fiscal federalism. One good example, I think, is that we made huge investments in the Canada health and social transfer. In the latter years of our mandate, there was a $41 billion commitment to the Canada health and social transfer.

Let me tell the member what I find most objectionable. I think the current finance minister for the Conservative government made a reasonable attempt to try to deal with this issue, although I think in some cases the problem was somewhat exaggerated, at least from my own personal perspective. I think the provinces actually have a lot of capacity to raise revenues, but nonetheless there were some difficulties.

There were some challenges. There certainly were some provinces and territories that felt the matter needed to be addressed, but to stand in this House and during the presentation of the budget say that the fiscal imbalance was dealt with, that all problems were set aside, was at the very least the most naive thing that I think I have heard in this House for some time. I, for one, sitting here in this chair, not even with the benefit of hindsight but just with the benefit of knowing how this country works, know that we would never ever get to that position in anyone's lifetime, in my judgment.

I think it was a serious attempt, but the problem was that the finance minister did not honour some commitments that were made by the federal government. As many members on this side have pointed out, including the member who has just come over to this side of the House, a contract, a commitment by the Government of Canada, should be honoured. The Atlantic accord was a commitment by the federal government. The premiers were counting on that. To go back on that, and to try to put a rose-coloured glass around it as if the Atlantic accord was being respected, is hypocritical in the utmost.

Budget Implementation Act, 2007Government Orders

5:25 p.m.

NDP

Peter Julian NDP Burnaby—New Westminster, BC

Mr. Speaker, this budget from the Conservatives has been rightly criticized because of the broken promises right across the country, including the Atlantic accord and broken promises to British Columbia.

We have also seen another characteristic of this Conservative budget, which is shovelling money off the back of a truck to the corporate sector, with $9 billion in corporate tax cuts being maintained and $1 billion in subsidies for the profitable oil and gas sector. It is hard to tell hard-working Canadians who are already being gouged at the pumps that their taxes are also going to fuel that enormous profit in the oil and gas sector. We also have seen tax forgiveness, with hundreds of millions of dollars of moneys owed simply written off by the Conservative government.

The Conservative approach is very similar to that of the former Liberal government, which we saw for 13 years as it broke promises and shovelled money at the corporate sector. My question for the member is very simple. Does he realize now that the Liberals were wrong to do it when he sees the Conservatives doing exactly the same thing the Liberals did when they were in power?

Budget Implementation Act, 2007Government Orders

5:30 p.m.

Liberal

Roy Cullen Liberal Etobicoke North, ON

Mr. Speaker, the member for Burnaby—New Westminster sort of rewrites history as he speaks, but unlike that member of the NDP, I and most if not all of my colleagues on this side of the House happen to believe that to create jobs and economic activity in this country we have to create an environment that attracts investment. If our corporate tax rates are not competitive, we could deal with those. We need to do this.

A classic example is Ireland, which decided to lower--

Budget Implementation Act, 2007Government Orders

5:30 p.m.

NDP

The Deputy Speaker NDP Bill Blaikie

Order, please. I am sorry, but the time for questions and comments has expired. The hon. member for Burlington, resuming debate.

Budget Implementation Act, 2007Government Orders

5:30 p.m.

Conservative

Mike Wallace Conservative Burlington, ON

Mr. Speaker, I may be the last speaker on Aspire, our budget for 2007, which will make for a stronger, safer and better Canada.

Our government has tabled a balanced budget that moves to restore fiscal balance to Canada, cuts taxes for working families, reduces the national debt and invests in key priorities such as improving health care and environmental protection.

Budget 2007 helps in the restoring of fiscal balance by providing $39 billion in additional funding over seven years, which will allow the provinces and the territories to do a better job in providing the services and infrastructure that matter to Canadians. That includes everything from roads, bridges and public transit to better equipped universities and colleges. It includes improving on health care. It includes clean rivers, oceans and air. It includes job training that helps Canadians compete with the best in the world.

We will see further tax relief for families with the working families tax plan, which includes a $2,000 per child tax credit. Budget 2007 also helps parents save for their children's education by strengthening the registered education savings plan program, and it supports seniors by raising the age limit for registered pension plans and registered retirement savings plans to 71 years of age from 69.

There are further debt reductions that will result in savings for Canadians. After paying down $13.2 billion on Canada's national debt in September 2006, we will further reduce the debt by $9.2 billion. Thanks to the government's tax back guarantee, the interest savings on this year's debt repayment will be returned to Canadians in the form of further tax cuts.

Our government will be investing in Canadians by providing $550 million per year for the working income tax benefit and $140 million over two years to establish a registered disability savings plan, something I worked very strongly on the finance committee to implement.

We are focused on preserving the environment with a balanced action plan, including rebates on fuel efficient vehicles and efficient alternative fuel vehicles, an incentive to get older, polluting cars off the road, and a green levy on fuel inefficient vehicles, and by providing $1.5 billion to establish a Canada ecotrust for clean air and climate change.

The budget provides a national water strategy, something for which I have been advocating since the last election. I am happy to see that the Hamilton Harbour has been specifically targeted as an area that we need to clean up.

Our government will continue to work at improving health care by investing $400 million for the Canada Health Infoway to support the development of electronic health records and up to $612 million to support jurisdictions that have made commitments to implement patient wait time guarantees, and by providing the provinces with $300 million for a vaccine to help prevent cervical cancer.

Budget 2007 is historic. It restores fiscal balance, implements major elements of Canada's long term economic plan, Advantage Canada, and will create opportunities for Burlingtonians and all Canadians to fulfill their dreams of a good job, a world class education for their children, a home of their own and a retirement they can count on.

What does the budget mean for Ontario? Managing Canada's $1.5 trillion economy means making choices and striking the right balance. In budget 2007 we have achieved this by balancing the budget, cutting taxes for working families, investing in priorities like health care, the environment and infrastructure, and restoring the fiscal balance by providing provinces the resources they need to deliver the front line services that matter to Canadians.

For my province of Ontario, restoring the fiscal balance brings federal support for Ontario to $12.8 billion in 2007-08. This includes $8.1 billion under the Canada health transfer, $3.8 billion for the Canada social transfer, which includes money for post-secondary education and child care, and $664 million for infrastructure. Also, $205.4 million is available to the Ontario government through the patient wait time guarantee trust. Another $117.2 million is available to the Ontario government to implement the immunization plan that I just mentioned.

As well, $574 million will be paid to the Ontario government for outstanding commitments under the Canada-Ontario agreement. There also will be $298.5 million in gas tax funding going directly to municipalities in Ontario. There is $400 million for an access road for a new Windsor-Detroit border crossing. We will see $963 million to fund transit projects in the greater Toronto area. There will be $38 million in corporate income tax relief from changes in capital cost allowances for buildings. There will be $383 million in additional corporate tax relief from the temporary two year writeoff for manufacturing equipment over the next two years.

We will see approximately $35.2 million in tax savings for farmers, fishers and small business owners through an increase in the lifetime capital gains tax exemption to $750,000. As well, Ontario will receive $586 million from the Canada ecotrust for clean air and climate change. For Burlingtonians and Ontario, the new $2,000 child tax credit will save parents in Ontario $597 million. An increase in the basic spousal amount will provide an estimated $109.6 million in tax relief in regard to those who are the supporting spouse or a single taxpayer supporting a child or a relative. Also, the working income tax benefit will benefit workers of Ontario with $212 million in tax relief.

Ontario farmers, some of my favourite people in the world, will receive approximately $240 million under the new initiative in budget 2007. Increasing the RRSP and registered pension plan maturation age will save Ontario taxpayers $56 million. As part of the national water strategy, there is $27.5 million to clean up the Great Lakes. There is $50 million for the Perimeter Institute in Waterloo, and I am not exactly sure what it does, and there is $6 million to help move the CANMET Materials Technology Laboratory to Hamilton.

All of that was just about Ontario. I wanted to highlight what the numbers actually mean and what members are actually going to be voting against if they do not support this budget.

As a member of the finance committee, I had the opportunity to go across this country and also to talk to people here in Ottawa at meetings. I can tell members that not one group that I can recall came to tell us to spend less money. Everybody wanted more money, more tax money for whatever their cause was, and that is part of the balance of government. We cannot solve everybody's problems. We do have to set goals and objectives. We did that as the finance committee. We presented a report that had recommendations in it and some of those recommendations are in the budget.

Others are priorities of this government that we had set out during the election to accomplish for Canadians. We are doing it through this budget. We can stand up here all we want and talk about things that are not in the budget, but I can tell members about people who told me that for every dollar we spend we get three back, so let us add up the billions and billions of dollars we are spending. Under that scenario, which we know is not accurate, we would just continue to spend every single penny we had and it would come back threefold. That is just not the way the economy works. That is not the way the real world works. We have to make choices.

This budget makes choices. We have put in the budget a number of things that deal with restoring the fiscal balance of this country. Not everybody agrees. We have heard that from our own side. Not everybody agrees with our approach, but we cannot have side deals with different provinces all over this country and call it a national program. We have put together a national program. We are working on those issues. It takes up a big chunk of this budget. I have told this to my constituents who say there is no money for this or that. We need to set the record straight. We needed to get this country back on the right road from a fiscal balance perspective.

The party opposite does not believe there was a fiscal imbalance. If there was not, then why are people screaming and yelling at our door that they want more money and they want a different program than what is provided?

We have done that. We have taken the initiative as a government. We have taken some very bold steps with this budget. It tries to provide balance for everybody. It is a balanced budget and a good budget for this country. I am very proud to be part of the finance committee and of the government. I am proud of the budget aspirations because they will make a stronger, safer and better Canada.

Budget Implementation Act, 2007Government Orders

5:40 p.m.

Liberal

Brian Murphy Liberal Moncton—Riverview—Dieppe, NB

Mr. Speaker, I want to ask the hon. member for Burlington a very simple question. He is from a nice riding in central Canada. He has visited my riding and knows that it is a nice place as well. For a budget that is so wonderful, in his words, why is it receiving such a poor reception in all of Atlantic Canada? Is it because the word of the Government of Canada has been broken by the implementation of this budget and that the Minister of Finance would dare to sign an op ed opinion in the maritime provinces as if he were the leading minister in Atlantic Canada?

I wonder if the member would appreciate it if the minister responsible for Ontario abdicated his responsibility to represent Ontario and had a minister from New Brunswick sign a rather scathing letter completely rejecting the arguments of most of the premiers, almost all the MPs and almost all the people of Atlantic Canada. How can the government stand behind a budget that has ignored and, worse, betrayed a whole region of Canada?

Budget Implementation Act, 2007Government Orders

5:40 p.m.

Conservative

Mike Wallace Conservative Burlington, ON

Mr. Speaker, I simply disagree with the member's debate on this issue.

In order for him to understand, I will read from page 112 of the budget. It states, “Budget 2007 Implements the Recommendations of the Expert Panel on Equalization”.

By the way, I believe that panel was appointed by the Liberal government at the time. It goes on to read:

Budget 2007 delivers a new Equalization program that is fair to Canadians living in all provinces. It will be formula-driven and principled. It will be simplified to enhance transparency and accountability. It will be stable and predictable. It will meet the commitments related to exclusion of non-renewable resources and respecting the offshore Accords.

We are standing by our word and honouring our commitments and this budget does that. I cannot speak for other people but in my opinion it is black and white in the budget. We will aspire to do what is right for this country and this budget does that.

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NDP

The Deputy Speaker NDP Bill Blaikie

It being 5:45 p.m., pursuant to order made earlier today, it is my duty to interrupt the proceedings and put forthwith every question necessary to dispose of third reading of the bill now before the House.

The question is on the motion that this question be now put. Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?

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Some hon. members

Agreed.

No.

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NDP

The Deputy Speaker NDP Bill Blaikie

All those in favour of the motion will please say yea.

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Some hon. members

Yea.

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NDP

The Deputy Speaker NDP Bill Blaikie

All those opposed will please say nay.

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Some hon. members

Nay.

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NDP

The Deputy Speaker NDP Bill Blaikie

In my opinion, the nays have it.

And five or more members having risen:

Call in the members.