I know that member, in good conscience, probably wants to support this budget but is being prevented from doing so.
However, I just want to get back to speaking about the economy, the environment and energy and how these three are intrinsically linked. We cannot talk about one without talking about the other. We cannot deal with them in isolation.
We know that the opposition parties want to deal with the environment, for example, in isolation. They want to ram through Bill C-288. We know what the effects of Bill C-288 would be and how devastating that would be to the Canadian economy and to Canadians in general. However, they do not care about that. They want to replace 10 years of inaction on the environment with 10 years of a bad economy and 10 years of hardship for Canadians.
This government does not want to do that. We want to act but we understand that the environment, the economy and energy are intrinsically linked in Canada.
When we talk about the economy, perhaps the biggest challenge that we face is productivity. We hear a lot about how productivity is affecting Canada's economy. Why? A number of things have been indicated as to why productivity in Canada is lacking. The Certified General Accountants of Canada point the finger at the former federal government and say that the Liberal sponsorship scandal really damaged Canada's overall productivity because there was no focus on productivity.
There is focus now. In this budget we talk about support for manufacturing. In fact a unanimous report submitted by the industry council made recommendations to the finance minister as to how we could support manufacturing in Canada. Virtually all of those recommendations are contained in this budget. We respected them. We moved forward on them because we believe in manufacturing and in the success of manufacturing.
In my home province of Ontario, manufacturing is incredibly important. The number one private employer in Peterborough is General Motors in Oshawa and I am committed to its success. I am also committed to the success of General Electric, Quaker Oats, Fisher Gauge and to the success of all manufacturing in my riding. I support this budget because it is good for manufacturing.
The budget also makes record commitments to infrastructure because we know that if we want to improve Canada's overall productivity we need to invest more in our roads and in our transit. We need to invest in border crossings.
One of the members from the Liberal Party mentioned earlier that a new crossing at Windsor would be a great thing. My goodness, we have been talking about that for more than a decade. The Liberals did not get it done. We will get it done because we understand how incredibly important that is, certainly to the auto industry in Canada, but to every industry in Canada. It is absolutely paramount that we deal with the infrastructure deficit in Canada if we are going to move forward on productivity.
Another important factor to productivity is education. We know that in 1993 the Liberal red book committed to making post-secondary education more affordable. The Liberals committed to making it easier for people to get into. I know the NDP Party, for example, has long argued for investment into post-secondary education. It has long pointed out the failures of the former government in owning up to what it committed to do. The Liberals committed to investing into post-secondary education but they cut the heart out of post-secondary education.
In this budget, we commit an additional 40% immediately in additional money to post-secondary education. The president of Trent University, Bonnie Patterson, said that they could not have asked for more in this budget than what has been delivered. In addition to the 40% increase this year, there is a 3% annual inflationary increase to the post-secondary transfer.
We also have specifically indicated how much money we are putting into the post-secondary transfer. When we spoke to post-secondary educational officials across the country, they talked about the need for a dedicated transfer. They needed to know how much money was there so that they could then go to their provincial governments and ask about the shares and the buy-ins.
Those officials now know exactly how much money is available, which helps them to deal with the provincial governments and ensure that post-secondary education is the priority in Canada that it deserves to be, and it will improve our productivity.
On the environment, as I said earlier, the former government did not have a plan. Now it wants to ram through a plan that would just absolutely derail our economy. This government has a plan. We have made significant commitments, such as the $1.5 billion for the ecotrust program that we will be sharing with the provinces. This will have significant short and long term benefits.
Ontario will be able to use that money to bring in clean hydroelectric power instead of the coal-fired power that we have had to rely on because the former government provided no support whatsoever to the province of Ontario to replace that power. This government will do that and all the provinces will be able to direct the money as they see fit to help clean up the environment in their backyards.
We need to face the fact that cleaning up the environment is always local. We tend to think about things on a global basis but we need to clean up things in our own backyards if we want to clean up the nation. This money will specifically assist the provinces to clean up our own backyards.
The budget contains money to clean up invasive species and to clean up the Lake Simcoe watershed which is something the hon. government House leader has been arguing for over the years.
The government has committed a total of $4.5 billion to the environment so that it can turn the corner on the environment. The previous government did not get it done. Those are not my words. Those are the words of the member for Etobicoke—Lakeshore. This government will get it done. As we hear coming out of the G-8 summit, this government, this Prime Minister, is a world leader on the environment.