Mr. Speaker, I will be sharing my time with my colleague and friend, the hon. member for Coast of Bays—Central—Notre Dame.
I am very pleased to contribute to this debate on the Speech from the Throne. I am kind of going back to my roots here. Before my forced leave in 2011, I had the good fortune and privilege of being elected in three general elections, in 2004, 2006, and 2008. I attended the reading of a number of throne speeches and participated in the debates that followed. I must say in all objectivity, in a non-partisan way, that this is the best Speech from the Throne I have heard in the past 10 years.
This throne speech came in the wake of the longest election campaign in modern history. The election gave the government a clear and unequivocal mandate, a mandate for real change. The form and substance of that change will be tangible and visible. By form, I mean our way of relating to others. The government has been very clear about that. It will build a new kind of relationship with Canadians, a relationship based on openness, dialogue and respect. We will restore trust. It will be obvious to everyone that the tone has changed completely. Instead of instilling fear and mistrust, the new government will focus on what brings us together and unites us as Canadians.
In terms of substance, we were equally clear throughout the campaign, and that is why Canadians gave us a clear mandate. They gave us a mandate to strengthen the middle class and make it more prosperous and to develop a fairer and more effective social safety net, especially for our young families and seniors. They gave us a mandate to create a greener, more prosperous Canada with a more international outlook.
We have talked a great deal about the middle class, about helping it and strengthening it. That is precisely what the government plans to do. The first thing we will do is lower taxes for the middle class. I want to congratulate the Prime Minister and the Minister of Finance on the leadership they have shown on this matter. Yesterday the Minister of Finance presented what he plans to do. He was very clear about his plans. We are talking about a tax cut that will make our tax system more efficient and help the middle class directly.
In concrete terms, it means lowering taxes for the second tax bracket from 22% to 20.5%. That is a concrete commitment that will affect nine million Canadians who will benefit from this measure. This is a serious commitment that will affect a lot of people.
Another thing the government is doing to strengthen and help the middle class is creating the new Canada child benefit. It will be a simplified, enhanced, and tax-free benefit that will also provide direct support to those Canadians who need it most. We have already seen two concrete measures to help Canadians: a tax cut and the Canada child benefit.
However, we need to do more, and the government is prepared to do a lot more. Specifically, we plan to introduce the largest infrastructure funding strategy in the history of Canada. We will double the current infrastructure allocation, raising it to $125 billion. I am talking about an additional $60 billion for new infrastructure investments. That represents a very concrete measure.
We are going to invest in social and green infrastructure as well as transportation. Providing funding for infrastructure is an investment in our future. We will have a better transit system, better water systems and more affordable housing, especially for our most vulnerable seniors.
As an aside, I would like to mention that it will be an honour and a privilege for me, as the parliamentary secretary, to help the Minister of Infrastructure and Communities take up this important challenge.
We have talked about lowering taxes for the middle class, increasing the benefit for families with young children and making significant investments in infrastructure. However, that is not all, and I am sure that our colleagues will be pleased to hear more.
For one, we are going to bolster Canada's reputation and credibility abroad. We will listen to and open a dialogue with other nations. Canada will finally take its place once again at the table of nations. I am thinking in particular of the environment, an issue on which we will once again show leadership, after the Conservative government's failure in this area. I would like to point out the excellent work already done by the Minister of Environment and congratulate her on being chosen as one of 14 facilitators tasked with ensuring the success of the Paris climate conference. This honour reflects on all Canadians.
Since I am already talking about the environment, I will continue in that vein. I repeat: Canada is going to once again become an environmental leader both at home and abroad. We are going to work with the provinces and territories to fight climate change because the situation is critical. All of the reports say so. We need to act now, so we are going to work on climate change.
We are also going to invest in green jobs. That is good not only for the environment but also for our economy. We are going to strengthen environmental assessment processes to ensure that they are strong and rigorous. We are going to work to protect our rivers, lakes and oceans. It is clear that the government has an ambitious but solid environmental plan. The Prime Minister presented this agenda to Canadians, and Canadians accepted, supported and approved it.
We are also going to strengthen retirement programs, and one way we are going to do that is by increasing the guaranteed income supplement, which provides direct support to our most vulnerable seniors. We are going to invest to support youth, particularly with regard to employment access. We are going to rebuild our relationship with our first nations by opening a dialogue based on recognition, rights and respect. As promised, our government will launch a critical and absolutely necessary inquiry into missing and murdered indigenous women. The people who have been affected by this terrible tragedy have waited long enough.
We will support our veterans, to whom we owe so much. Veterans and their families deserve our recognition and respect. We need to give back to those who have given so much for their country.
I will stop there because I am running out of time, but I just want to add that we are going to invest in culture, official languages, and so many other areas. We clearly have an ambitious agenda that was supported by Canadians for all Canadians.