Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise in the House today to speak to budget 2010. I am also pleased to tell you that I will be sharing my time with my colleague, the member for Pitt Meadows—Maple Ridge—Mission.
In 2009 Canada's government presented Canadians with a viable long-term economic action plan. This side of the House has been endlessly working to deliver that plan to Canadians. Our budget has and continues to be great for my riding of Oxford and Canadians, young and old alike.
Since 2009, Oxford alone has been the recipient of over $26 million in federal funding for multiple programs and initiatives, varying from social housing projects to the upkeep of our national trail system.
I would like to tell the House what one of the mayors in riding had to say about budget 2010. Tillsonburg mayor Stephen Molnar was glad to see a commitment to continue with infrastructure funding for municipalities. He also welcomed the continuation of the federal gas tax funding, calling the distribution transparent, equitable and sustainable. Molnar noted that the way the program was set up there was no competition between neighbours or prioritization to larger urban centres, which he saw as a positive. Mayor Molnar also saw possibilities for technology funding that could work into economic efforts the town of Tillsonburg was pursuing.
This new budget is the right one for the times for Tillsonburg, for my riding and for Canadians.
One simply needs to fly into the soon newly-expanded and upgraded Tillsonburg airport, take in a game at the Embro arena, which will soon be refurbished and updated, or visit Innerkip's revitalized park or ask one of Otterville's dedicated volunteer firefighters about their new fire hall to see Canada's economic action plan at work.
Oxford residents can also look forward to continued benefits of the federal gas tax funds transfer, which has been extended to 2014. In fact, Oxford has been so blessed the Globe and Mail even took notice on October 21, 2009 and placed Oxford as the third-largest recipient of RInC stimulus projects. My only regret is reporting that Oxford ranked third not first.
Families are a vital component to our society as they provide a nurturing and safe environment in which individuals can grow and succeed. That is why our government is investing in families in order to ensure that families receive the support and encouragement they deserve.
The universal child care benefit gives families the flexibility to decide how to best provide for their children. Budget 2010 proposes to improve the taxation of the universal child care benefit for single parent families by ensuring that they receive comparable treatment as single earner two parent families. This change will provide up to $168 in tax relief for single parents with one child under six in 2010.
In addition, it provides support for families of children with disabilities by allowing a 10-year carry forward of Canadian disability savings grants and Canada disability savings bonds and entitlements.
In addition, as a former chief of police, I have witnessed first-hand the effects of crime on its victims and their families. I applaud the $6.6 million over two years that have been committed to the federal victims strategy, which enhances support for victims of crime and provides access to employment insurance benefits for eligible workers who have lost a family member due to crime.
We have not forgotten about the senior pillars of our communities. This month we are taking action and launching public consultations on how to improve Canada's retirement income system. We are also delivering an additional $45 million over three years to the enabling accessibility fund. In my riding the town of Tillsonburg has already benefited from this program by installing public accessible washrooms in the town and audible pedestrian signs at three intersections.
Budget 2010 delivers an additional $10 million to the new horizons for seniors program. The Alzheimer Society of Oxford, the Oxford County Elder Abuse Network, the Women's Employment Resource Centre in the township of Norwich, all in my riding, can attest to the positive impact the new horizons for seniors program has had in aiding them in delivering successful inclusive programs for seniors in the community.
It is plain to see that a healthy, productive and vital part of any community thrives around its professional, amateur and recreational activities. Canada's government is a firm believer in promoting healthy living and a sense of community through sport. One can easily look to Vancouver 2010 for the endless sense of unity, pride and inspiration that was provided at Canada's games.
Budget 2010 will continue to build upon the tremendous success of these uniting events by investing $62 million for Canada's high performance athletes. That is $44 million for the own the podium program and $12 million for Paralympic athletes. In addition to these great programs, we are investing $6 million in the participaction program.
In the coming months, the minister of sport will announce details on this new funding to ensure the existing funding is targeted effectively and encourages private sector investment in elite athlete training. This funding will build upon the success of the current own the podium program.
Canada's government understands the trials and tribulations of Canada's hard-working and dedicated labour force. In these uncertain economic times, we are supporting the Oxford and Canadian workforces, offering a temporary extension of the popular work-sharing program. Work-sharing avoids layoffs by offering employment insurance income benefits to qualifying workers willing to work a reduced work week while their employer recovers.
Budget 2010 extends this measure. Existing or recently terminated work-sharing agreements will be extended by an additional 26 weeks to a maximum of 78 weeks. Greater flexibility in the qualifying criteria for new work-sharing agreements will also continue to be provided, and both of these enhancements will be in place until March 31, 2011. This measure, estimated to cost $106 million over two years, means even more workers will keep their jobs, while employers will also be able to retain skilled employees with years of experience. This extension to work-sharing will continue to reduce the financial impact of the downturn on workers and their communities.
Budget 2010 is freezing the employment insurance premium at $1.73 per $100 of insurable earnings to the end of 2010, the lowest rate since 1982, and delivering five extra weeks of regular EI benefits and greater access to EI benefits for long-tenured workers.
Oxford's manufacturing and transportation sectors can also look forward to a tariff-free zone by the elimination of all remaining tariffs on productivity-improving machinery and equipment and goods imported for further manufacturing in Canada. When fully implemented, this will provide $300 million in annual duty savings to Canadians, while increasing productivity for Canadian business and protecting and increasing employment.
Canada's government is protecting and creating jobs now, establishing them for the future. At the same time, we will be reducing the deficit. The proposed red tape commission, a partnership between parliamentarians and the private sector, will prove to be a valuable aid to small business.
Canada is faring far better than our G8 counterparts. Budget 2010 reminds us all that we must proceed with caution and plan accordingly for the long-term financial well-being of Canada. We are delivering targeted funding initiatives and working toward returning to the budgetary balance. Our stimulus packages will end by following the exit strategies set out in the economic action plan. We have targeted spending growth restraint through targeted measures and we are delivering a comprehensive review of this government's administrative functions to ensure maximum productivity and cost-effectiveness.
Not only have we set a clear, concise and fiscally responsible path to reducing the national deficit nearly in half in two years, we have implemented previously unheard of support programs for our athletes, who have demonstrated time and time again that they do indeed own the podium, and stood up for families and seniors in the communities they are proud to serve. We extended meaningful support and programs to Canada's dedicated labour force and to industry.
The opposition can play games, while we on this side of the House stay focused on the economy and getting things done for hard-working Canadians.