Mr. Speaker, I will be sharing my time with the member for Fleetwood—Port Kells.
I would like to extend an invitation to the member for Kings—Hants to visit Estevan, Saskatchewan, my hometown. The Conservative government invested $240 million in a project that will be valued at $1.4 billion with respect to carbon capture and sequestration. It is a project that is perhaps known across Canada and around the world.
In Weyburn, Saskatchewan, which is in my riding, EnCana is using carbon capture and CO2 for the purpose of enhanced oil recovery and has been doing so for years. It is a world leader in that regard. Certainly it would be a good place to visit to see what is now being done and what will be done in the future and the jobs it is going to create.
This budget focuses on jobs and growth now and into the future. During the good times we paid down debt by approximately $38 billion, and during these difficult times we introduced almost $40 billion of stimulus, of which $19 billion is proposed to be spent in 2010. With the additional $19 billion in stimulus investment across Canada, we are solidifying Canada's recovery by creating jobs and building roads, waterlines and infrastructure projects in our communities throughout Canada.
The stimulus money that our government has been investing through Canada's economic action plan has impacted hundreds of communities across Canada, including a number of communities in my riding of Souris—Moose Mountain. Over $60 million has flowed into Souris—Moose Mountain on the federal side alone through various programs, such as the building Canada fund, the infrastructure stimulus fund, the knowledge infrastructure program, the RInC program and the eco-energy program. In fact, to my knowledge, Souris—Moose Mountain has not seen this level of federal investment ever.
We are building new water plants for communities. We are building roads for communities. We are boosting up sewage infrastructure and sewage lagoons. These infrastructure investments have not been made for many years. In fact, the previous Liberal government downloaded $25 billion to the provinces which got passed on to the municipalities. Indeed, they may have balanced their books, but at the cost of infrastructure that we are only now attempting to mend and there is more that needs to be done.
That said, while government stimulus dollars are being put to work under Canada's economic action plan, budget 2010 focuses on the task of returning to a balanced budget, which is essential to economic growth and job creation over the long term.
Budget 2010 outlines a clear three-point plan to return to a balanced budget. First, we will follow through with the exit strategy built into the economic action plan by completing the balance of the investments; second, we will take action to ensure government lives within its means; and third, we will conduct a comprehensive review of government administrative and overhead costs. These actions are what Canadians want. These are actions we must take. This is something we must do to ensure long-term success and a long-term recovery of the economy.
As the Minister of Finance has stated, we had to run this deficit temporarily because of the most serious economic crisis since the 1930s. Nobody will dispute that, but it does not mean we have to continue with it. Everything considered, in my opinion, the budget strikes the right balance. It is the right budget for this time in our history.
The economy is still fragile and the recovery is tentative, but it is now taking hold. Although a lot remains to be done, much has been accomplished to position Canada for future growth, including Souris—Moose Mountain. At the same time, the people of Canada, including the constituents of Souris—Moose Mountain, want us to get back to balanced budgets but in a logical and measured way that will not harm the economic recovery. That is exactly what we are doing. That is exactly what the budget is addressing.
We said we would not balance the budget by raising taxes and we will not raise taxes. Canadians have been very clear that they do not want taxes raised and taxes have not been raised. I know the Leader of the Opposition has mused openly about raising taxes from the GST point of view, and in fact spending more money. Where he is going to get it I do not know, maybe by driving us further into deficit or raising taxes as he has openly mused. That is certainly the wrong thing at the wrong time and Canadians do not accept it and do not want it.
In the throne speech we said that balancing the nation's books will not come at the expense of pensioners. It will not come by cutting transfer payments for health care and education, or by raising taxes of hard-working Canadians. What we will do is restrain growth in spending by $17.6 million over five years.
Starting this year, the government will freeze the total amount spent on salaries, administration and overhead in government departments, including the budgets of ministers' offices. Legislation will be introduced to freeze the salaries of the Prime Minister, ministers, members of Parliament and senators.
In addition, a review of administrative services will be launched to improve efficiency and eliminate duplication. All department spending will be aggressively reviewed to ensure value for money and tangible results.
That is what Canadians expect. That is what we will do. Once that takes hold, we will be on our way to balanced budgets.
Canadians want prudent governance. They expect their government to set out a clear road map that will bring us out of this downturn in a position of greater strength. Canada's economic action plan is doing just that.
The IMF has predicted that Canada's economic growth will be at the head of the G7 in 2010 and 2011. We are on the right track. We are headed in the right direction.
One of the tools our government has used to keep us on track is lower taxes. Since coming into office in 2006, we have cut over 100 taxes, reducing taxes in every way possible, in every way that the government collects them. We have reduced personal tax, consumption tax, business and excise taxes, and more.
Our current tax plan is reducing taxes on Canadians by an estimated $220 billion over 2008-09 and the following five years. This is the right thing to do. This is what Canadians expect us to do. This is what will get the economy recovering as it should.
What is more, by lowering taxes, our government has sent a strong message to the world, the message that Canada is open for business. Canada will have the lowest overall tax rate on new business investment in the G7 this year, and the lowest statutory corporate tax rate in the G7 by 2012. This is the type of action that will create jobs, boost our competitiveness and increase investment at a time when we need it most.
In my constituency of Souris—Moose Mountain the agricultural sector is one of the key economic drivers. Our farmers play an important role by providing healthy, safe and nutritious food for families in Canada and around the world, but they are facing challenges with respect to commodity prices and so on.
Our government launched various initiatives in 2009 to help the sector adapt to pressures and improve its competitiveness. Canada's economic action plan announced the $500 million agricultural flexibility fund and the $50 million slaughter improvement fund.
In recent months our government also took measures to promote access to foreign markets for Canadian agricultural products through the establishment of a market access secretariat and extended support to the hog industry to assist with restructuring.
The cattle sector in my constituency has been hardest hit. It seems since the BSE crisis there has been one thing after the other that has placed added pressure on an industry that has seen low cattle prices, a high dollar, high input costs and unpredictable market fluctuations. Budget 2010 announces three measures to help ensure Canadian producers continue to have access to competitive cattle processing operations in Canada.
First, funding available under the slaughter improvement program will be increased by $10 million in 2010-11 to support the introduction of new cost-effective technologies. Second, $25 million in 2010-11 will be targeted to cattle processing plants that handle cattle over 30 months of age, something that is much needed and much required. Third, our government is providing $40 million over three years to support the development and commercialization of innovative technologies related to the removal and use of specified risk materials to reduce handling costs and create potential revenue sources from these materials. These measures will be funded from the existing agricultural flexibility fund.
We have also committed millions of dollars to modernize the Canada Grain Act, something that is very important to our farmers.
Looking forward, my riding of Souris—Moose Mountain has a substantial foundation to build upon as our economy grows into the future. We are currently sitting on one of North America's premium oil reserves in the Bakken oil play. As this resource is untapped, it will bring significant economic benefits to our corner of the province, our province and our country.
In Estevan the groundwork is being laid at Boundary Dam for the development of one of the world's first and largest commercial scale clean coal, carbon capture and storage demonstration project. That is world-class technology being completed right in our backyard.
As part of economic action plan, money is flowing to the Southeast Regional College for the development of the new Saskatchewan energy training institute in Estevan.
Mr. Speaker, I see my allotted time is up so I will end my speech here.