Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise today to speak in favour of Bill C-29, a second act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on March 22, 2016 and other measures.
I will begin my remarks by speaking about my riding of Surrey—Newton, which is a community that will benefit directly from the measures outlined in the government's budget.
Much like the rest of Surrey, my riding of Surrey—Newton is experiencing the pressure of growth caused by the migration of 1,200 people moving into Surrey every month.
Surrey—Newton has a strong middle class, a range of different compositions of families with children and seniors. Because of the great interest from the residents regarding many of the budgetary issues and measures introduced last spring, I want to highlight a few of the items that will benefit my constituents the most.
The new Canada child benefit is a significant step forward in recognizing the financial pressures of the middle-class families with children. The new consolidated benefit is easier to account for, indexed according to income levels, and overall more generous than the previous system.
Today, families can receive up to $6,400 per year for each of their children under the age of six. For each child aged six to 17 years, families can receive up to $5,400 per year. This is significant because statistics show that nine out of 10 families have seen their benefits increase under the new plan that was rolled out as of July 1, 2016, with an average bump totalling approximately $2,300.
From the personal impacts I am hearing regarding such an increase, this is a windfall that is really extending the household budgets in Surrey—Newton.
Similarly, seniors are overwhelmingly appreciative of the changes to the Old Age Security Act, which returns the age of eligibility to 65, while at the same time increasing the amount of guaranteed income supplement up to $947.
Vulnerable seniors on fixed incomes are a group that every member of the House is encountering, given their respective constituencies. This budget would fulfill a promise to address those who are most at risk of financial uncertainty, both in terms of seniors as well as young families trying to get a foothold.
In fact, it is what classify as a people's first budget, meaning that this government is committed to improving the situations of middle-class families and seniors with tangible and targeted actions.
This does not mean, however, that it fails to recognize the broader picture when it comes to measures that will continue to build the nation's economic climate.
I want to touch on two specific areas of focus.
First is the number of changes that will allow for greater control over taxation. The budget does this by closing many of the loopholes and policies that allow for billions of dollars of unpaid tax dollars to escape scrutiny. This government believes that multinational corporations should never be able to accrue tax benefits that put them on a different level of consideration than the average, hard-working Canadian taxpayer.
By working with the G20 and the OECD, and ensuring that the provisions attached to both that addresses tax evasion are utilized, it disallows these mega business entities from operating in isolation within Canada.
There must be consequences for avoiding paying their fair share while operating in our country because the lost revenues that this government is currently encountering are dollars that can be invested in Canadian citizens.
Speaking of investment, this government is also looking at the infrastructure needs of the country and investing to build for our future.
For example, in the city of Surrey, residents and businesses alike are struggling with a public transit system that cannot keep up with the demand. As I mentioned earlier, 1,200 people are moving into Surrey every month. To deal with this demand, the Surrey LRT line is one of the most important and pressing projects in metro Vancouver at the moment. It is absolutely essential to keep up with the growth the city of Surrey is experiencing.
The fact is that with Canada having the lowest debt-to-GDP ratio of any G7 country, now is the time for Canada to build and invest for the future. These are not simply the opinions of the government, but one that is voiced by economists from across the country.
In fact, recently the Bank of Canada governor, Stephen Poloz, urged this government to spend more on infrastructure to boost sluggish and long-term growth. Let me provide a direct quote from Mr. Poloz. He said:
In the case of a targeted investment by government, which is identified in such a way that it will be growth enabling, is very likely to pay off very well, That is, it creates more economic growth for all those who use that infrastructure, and that of course creates tax revenues and the system keeps turning.
To address the fearmongering from the other side of the House, this is what Mr. Poloz said about the deficit. He said, “Canada is in a very good fiscal situation so we shouldn't be worrying about that at this time”.
This government is going to transform the empty announcements of the previous administration that often did not deliver on the funds. Instead it will make concrete investments that will energize our economy now and for decades to come by investing in Canadians who need consideration the most and for those whose spending serves as a spark for economic growth. By investing in infrastructure for our cities across the country, this government understands that a budget that does not deliver for people is a budget not worth delivering.
We recognize that impacting an individual or a family's daily life takes strong measures that clearly lay out a plan that is actionable and not just used for political purposes.
I am very proud to support this second budgetary implementation bill. I can see the difference being made in the lives of my constituents in Surrey—Newton and all Canadians. That is one of the most satisfying things I take away from being a member of Parliament and something I never take for granted.