Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure to address the House today on Bill C-59, the budget implementation bill.
This bill contains a number of measures that were introduced in our recent economic action plan 2015. That budget contained measures we campaigned on. We all campaigned in 2011 as Conservatives on certain things in that platform. We said we would balance the budget by 2015-16, and we have delivered on that promise with this budget.
We campaigned that once the budget was balanced and we were back into a surplus position, we would bring in a family tax cut that would benefit families by allowing them to reallocate some of their income, from one family member to another, to more fairly tax at a household rate. That would allow families to reduce their tax burden and be taxed like similar income families. That is what we have done in this budget.
We campaigned on expanding the tax-free savings account, which we introduced and the opposition parties opposed. We said we would expand that once we were back into a surplus position, and that is what we have done here in this budget.
We made commitments to Canadians during that campaign, and we are delivering on them with this budget.
This budget has many features in it that will benefit not only all Canadians but specifically the people of Chilliwack—Fraser Canyon. There is support for families, support for seniors, support for our veterans, support for farmers, and support for small businesses.
We propose to reduce the small business tax rate to 9% by 2019, putting an estimated $2.7 billion back into the pockets of job-creating small businesses and their owners between now and 2019-20.
We know that the very first thing the Liberal leader did when he walked outside the room, while the budget was still being read, was say that he would take that away. He said he would take away the tax reduction for small businesses, which are responsible for the vast majority of job creation in Chilliwack—Fraser Canyon and indeed for 50% of jobs right across the country. We believe they deserve to be supported. The Liberal Party would take that benefit away.
We said that we would increase the lifetime capital gains exemption to $1 million for owners of farm and fishing businesses. In my riding, in the Fraser Valley, we have a large number of farms. I believe it is 400 farms. Those people work hard day and night, seven days a week, to not only provide for their families and employees but to provide for all Canadians the food we eat. They help feed the cities, as they like to say. We believe that when the time comes for them to take their well-deserved retirement and sell that business to a family member, they should be able to keep more of the money they have earned so that they can enjoy that retirement.
As I said before, we have increased the tax-free savings account annual contribution limit to $10,000, effective in 2015 and for subsequent years. Again, the opposition has said they would take that away.
I spoke to a constituent who called me right after the budget was tabled. He wondered if that provision, that extended TFSA, was already available. I was pleased to tell him that it was. He is not a wealthy Canadian. I know that the Leader of the Opposition likes to denigrate people who save money for their own retirement. He has said that they are just putting money aside for their second BMW. What an insult to the people of Chilliwack—Fraser Canyon and right across this country.
This constituent I talked to drives a 10-year-old minivan. He lives in a modest home with his wife, and they have one car. They are not wealthy Canadians, but they are setting aside money for their own retirement. They believe, like I do, that the government should not tax them once when they earn and tax them again when they go to take that out of a financial instrument. They are quite happy with the change to the TFSA.
I want to focus, as well, on our family tax cut. I want to give a couple of examples. We heard it again today from the opposition. They talk about how the family tax cut benefits the well-off and the well-connected, just the rich. What an insult, again, to the people of Chilliwack—Fraser Canyon. I will tell the House about the people this is benefiting in my riding.
One of my constituents is a high school teacher. He works hard. His wife is a graphic designer who works from home, part time now because they have just welcomed twin boys to their family. They now have four children under the age of seven. He works outside of the home; his wife stays home, works part time, and works full time as a mother to their four kids. Under the family tax cut, they will receive the maximum $2,000 credit. They will also receive $6,480 per year in the universal child care benefit, something the Liberal Party and the NDP would take away from them.
Again, these are people who live in a modest home in the old part of Chilliwack. These are not people living in a mansion and driving two BMWs, as the NDP likes to say. They drive a 10-year-old minivan and are looking after their family. However, the NDP and the Liberals would take away their benefits because they think they are a wealthy, well-connected rich family.
Another example is a constituent who is an electrician. In order to make things better for his family, he has decided to leave them behind three weeks at a time to go and work in the oil patch up in Fort McMurray. His wife, who used to be a health care technician, was forced to leave the workforce because of a disability. She receives CPP disability and stays home to provide home school to their two children, who are also disabled. Because of their disability and their challenges, they are unable to operate in a traditional school environment. This family too will get the full $2,000 family tax cut.
However, the NDP and Liberals would say that an electrician with a wife on CPP disability are rich, well-connected, and wealthy. They would say they do not deserve it and it is not fair if they get it. What nonsense. They work hard to put food on the table for their families as high school teachers and electricians. Again, these families would receive the $2,000 credit and $1,440 a year to help with their child care costs, which is something the Liberals and NDP would take away.
There is even more.
There are a number of seniors in my riding. People come to Chilliwack and the Fraser Canyon to retire because we have a great community and the warmest overall temperature in Canada. We do not get the cold winters that people suffer through here in Ottawa. We get lovely summers as well. People like to retire in Chilliwack.
In this budget we have introduced a reduction in the minimum withdrawal factors for registered retirement income funds to permit seniors to preserve more of their retirement savings so as to better support their retirement income needs. We have also brought in supports for seniors and people with disabilities to allow them to stay in their own homes. We would give them a tax credit to allow them to renovate and make their homes safer and more accessible as they age or need help to deal with a disability. We want them to be able to live independently and safely in their own homes for as long as possible, and that is what this budget, this BIA, would do.
We are also extending the employment insurance compassionate care benefit from six weeks to six months to better support Canadians caring for gravely ill and dying family members. All of us have experienced that terrible loss of a family member who may have fallen suddenly ill and the devastating impact that has, not only on the individual but on those who provide care and who may have relied on that individual for their well-being and livelihood. It is such a shock. Allowing six months to be with someone who is ill and time for grieving and healing afterwards, because the pain and suffering do not end when a person passes away, is an important new aspect of this act.
Once again, this budget implementation act would implement measures from economic action plan 2015. We campaigned on it and we have kept our commitment to Canadians. We are reducing taxes for families, and as I have shown in both of my examples, these are average, everyday Canadians who are working for their own families. These are not people who are living high on the hog. They are people we all see in our communities. Every single family with children under the age of 18 will benefit because of this bill and because of this budget, and that is why I am so proud to support it.