Mr. Speaker, I am certainly honoured to rise in the House today to speak to the budget, economic action plan 2015. Before I get started, I want to indicate that I will be splitting my time with the member for Kamloops—Thompson—Cariboo, who has graciously let me go first so I can get to a committee meeting that I must chair.
Each year, we gather in this House as a matter of tradition and obligation to recognize the importance of planning and of creating the conditions that ensure that this country will continue to be the greatest place in the world to live and to work. I can assure members that this country is the greatest place in the world to live and to work.
Time and again, we are confronted with the challenges of uncertainty, risk, and change. This year, our way of life and security was threatened, presenting us with a new, albeit equally important, challenge. I am proud to stand behind a government that has consistently responded to all of these challenges with the same quality leadership.
In this year's budget, we continue to exhibit the leadership Canadians deserve by staying true to the principles that put us in government in the first place: supporting hard-working Canadian families, supporting small business, and consistently daring to innovate and grow our economy in ways that make Canada a world leader. Today, I will spend the time I have, speaking about these three parts of the budget and how they combine to offer a strong vision for what this great nation can be in 2015 and in the years to come.
Supporting hard-working Canadian families is where my journey as a member of Parliament began and it is where I begin today. Central to my values is a belief in the importance of community and the importance of family. One of the unique aspects of this country rests in the Canadian family unit. Moms and dads working equally hard to pay for daycare, put their oldest through another year of university, pay for activities like hockey and dance, and eventually pay off the mortgage on their first home make up a snapshot of what it means to raise a family here in Canada. I know that raising a family is hard work, and I believe that any investment in Canada's future means investing in ways to help our Canadian families. Simply put, measures introduced by our government in this budget would make life more affordable for every single Canadian family with children across this country.
Increasing and expanding the universal child care benefit, or the UCCB, to provide every family in Canada with an additional $720 per child under the age of 18, and introducing the family tax credit, are two out of many ways in which we plan to help support raising a family here in Canada. All in all, this budget would ensure that the average Canadian family of four gains average benefits of more than $6,600 every year. One of the most important aspects of these benefits is that every single Canadian family would receive them.
Part of why I am so proud to stand here in the House today in support of the economic action plan 2015 comes from this budget's recognition that no two families have the exact same needs. It is through accepting this reality that we as a government have taken seriously our duty to introduce programs and policies in the 2015 budget that would help all families and would leave the most important decisions to the true experts, which happen to be moms and dads. Great examples of such programs lie in our continued support for benefits such as the children's arts tax credit and the children's fitness tax credit, which promote the importance of arts and fitness programming among children through credits of up to $500 and $1,000 respectively.
Additional programs such as the first-time home buyers' tax credit, the expanded home buyers' plan, and the public transit tax credit would help Canadian families with the process of buying or building their first home. No matter what stage a family is at or where it needs most help in shouldering its expenses, this government has made it clear that it will be there for Canadian parents and their kids.
Building on the base of the family, this government has committed a great number of resources in this year's action plan to provide communities across Canada with the infrastructure and support they need to continue providing the high quality of life that Canadians should expect.
The new building Canada fund is a key example of one of these investments to the community, earmarking $5.35 billion per year for provincial, territorial, and municipal infrastructure. Another is the creation of the new public transit fund that would ramp up to $1 billion a year to reduce urban congestion and gridlock in Canada's largest and dynamic cities. It is one example that comes to mind. Under the $33 billion building Canada fund launched in 2007, we supported more than 12,000 infrastructure projects from coast to coast to coast, and we would continue to support projects that make up our communities' great spaces in which to raise families.
To me, part of taking pride in the strength and the resilience of community is tied to taking pride in the businesses that are rooted in communities. Making up over 90% of Canadian businesses and employing two-thirds of all Canadians, small businesses are an essential part of what makes our Canadian communities so great and unique. Our communities grow, and this is something I have believed to be true for my riding since first being elected in 2004.
This government believes in small businesses, and therefore wants them to not only grow but prosper and triumph. That is why, since forming government, we have reduced the small business tax load by almost 50%, and in this budget we would continue to invest in small-business owners throughout this nation.
Part of this investment is through our slashing EI premiums for small businesses through our small business job credit. This credit would be effective for two years, beginning in 2015, and available to employers paying $15,000 or less per year in EI premiums, so that is approximately $570,000 in EI assessable payroll in Canada. The net result of applying this credit would be a 15% reduction in employment insurance premiums paid by small businesses over the next two years and roughly $0.5 billion in savings from small firms and payroll tax cuts.
The CFIB has commended measures like these that make it easier to hire new workers or invest in additional training to help Canadian entrepreneurs grow their businesses.
Feedback such this drives our government to work even harder to help small businesses where we can. In this year's budget we continue to commit to the following: reducing the small business tax rate from 11% to 9% by 2019, allowing small businesses to do what they do best, invest in their companies and create jobs; improving access to financing for Canadian small businesses under the Canada small business financing program, which since 2006 has provided more than 50,000 loans to help new businesses get started and expand; increasing access to venture capital financing to help innovative, high-growth companies grow and create jobs.
Accompanying these measures, this year's budget would enshrine into policy what has been made clear through the Red Tape Reduction Commission in its finding that needless red tape kills jobs and growth for small business. Cutting the red tape burden by eliminating more than 800,000 payroll deduction remittances to the Canada Revenue Agency, made every year by more than 50,000 small businesses, marks a step towards jobs and growth for small business owners. Pairing this policy with the freeze on EI premiums demonstrates a winning strategy for small businesses and their ability to gain the certainty and flexibility that they need, to continue being key parts of Canada's economic success story.
It is measures like these that allow for small businesses to gain support, stay competitive, thrive, and prosper. An important part of leading Canadian small businesses towards paths of success is ensuring that their paths towards success are not stifled by red tape and raising the capital necessary to grow.
It also means, most importantly, investing in the futures of Canadian entrepreneurs. We take seriously the need to invest in tomorrow's best and brightest small business owners by allocating substantial resources to the future of entrepreneurs in Canada.
Economic action plan 2015 would support entrepreneurship by investing substantial resources into internships in small business and supporting leaders in the promotion of entrepreneurship, such as the Canada Youth Business Foundation.
By investing $15 million for up to 1,000 post-secondary graduates to intern in small and medium-sized businesses across Canada, and further providing $49 million to the CYBF, this budget would create the supports needed to make sure that Canadian entrepreneurs are part of the unique success story emerging from this great nation post-recession.
Strongly tied to entrepreneurship and what is perhaps the most important part of this budget is the vision it articulates for research and innovation. This budget would make substantial investments in world-class research and innovation by providing more than $1.5 billion in funding over five years to advance the government's renewed science, technology, and innovation strategy.
Enshrined in this investment is the belief that the real key to Canada's future prosperity is investing in making Canada a hub for cutting-edge research and innovation. We are currently ranked number one in the G7 for our support for scientific research and development in our colleges, universities, and other research institutes. However, why stop here?
By supporting innovation in our post-secondary institutions and centres of higher learning, we commit towards continuing to foster the sharpest minds when it comes to driving Canadian-made ideas, research, and technologies.
This generation will receive the support it needs to thrive, starting with this budget's commitment to the following: expansive support advanced research infrastructure at universities and colleges through new funding to the Canada Foundation for Innovation; and landmark investment in post-secondary education through the creation of the Canada first research excellence fund, with $1.5 billion over the next decade.
These initiatives would combine to create results for all Canadians. By remaining committed to the principles upon which we were elected, we have created 1.2 million net new jobs since the depths of the downturn and have delivered the lowest overall federal tax burden in over 50 years.
Supporting hard-working Canadian families, supporting small business, and consistently daring to innovate and grow our economy in ways that make Canada a world leader represent the road map for this accomplishment, but leadership is what has made this possible.
What separates a simple plan or design from true leadership is the willingness or the wherewithal to innovate and excel above the status quo.
By putting forward a budget like the economic action plan, we are allowing every Canadian to do what they do best. We are continuing to uphold our commitment to make this great nation the best that it can be in 2015 and the years to come.