Mr. Speaker, I will be sharing my time with the hon. member for York South—Weston.
First, I would like to point out how honoured I am to be able to talk about the historic budget tabled by the government on March 22. I am proud that this budget reflects the hopes and expectations not just of the people in my riding of Vaudreuil—Soulanges, but of many Canadians across the country.
When I was elected to represent Vaudreuil—Soulanges, I promised to help seniors, because they played a part in building our great nation. I promised to help the middle class because theirs is the typical Canadian success story. Finally, I promised to help all families who are working hard to become part of the middle class.
As the Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister for Youth, and especially as a father, I made a commitment to our youth because they are our future and our legacy. They represent our hopes for the country.
In Vaudreuil—Soulanges, too many seniors need help. Even though they worked hard all their lives to contribute to the success of our country by building our cities and communities brick by brick, business by business, many of them cannot live with dignity and are not proud of their current standard of living.
Given the contributions they have made to Canada's prosperity, we recognized in the budget that we must guarantee that seniors no longer need to lie awake at night worrying about whether their retirement plan is viable.
I am proud of the fact that we are responding to the needs of our seniors in numerous ways. First, as promised during the election campaign, we would increase the guaranteed income supplement of our most vulnerable seniors by 10%, ensuring that those who worry for their future may no longer have to do so. However, we did not stop there. We realize that increasing income every two, four, or even six years may not always be adequate, as staples for seniors, such as medications, certain foods, and other expenses including transportation are subject to rising costs and fluctuations in the global market. This poses an unnecessary risk to the security of our seniors.
Our government is committed to ensuring that old age security and guaranteed income supplement benefits keep pace with the actual cost of living faced by seniors. The government is therefore looking at how a new seniors price index that reflects the cost of living faced by seniors could be developed. If deemed viable, this idea could ensure that, when seniors receive their monthly support, they would no longer have to ask if it will be enough.
We have also kept our promise to ensure that income splitting for seniors is kept in place. We recognize this as a valuable financial tool for countless seniors across our country. Further, this budget would significantly increase investment for social and affordable housing as part of the new infrastructure investment strategy. After Canada's seniors built this country, I believe this budget recognizes that they are owed a life of dignity and a life they deserve.
All of these investments would benefit the seniors all across Canada as well as in my riding, and so I am proud to support them in this budget.
In Vaudreuil—Soulanges, from Île-Perrot to Rigaud, and from Vaudreuil to Saint-Lazare and Hudson, I see small business owners, teachers from many schools in the region, firefighters, aerospace workers, public servants, and particularly parents, who are working harder than ever to build a good life for themselves and their children.
They are our country's middle class. However, many of them worry that they will never manage to make ends meet. I am therefore proud that we have taken the first steps toward changing that.
Just 35 days after we took office, we lowered taxes for nine million Canadians. Along with that, there is the new and more progressive Canada child tax benefit, which will put more money in the pockets of nine out of 10 Canadian families.
According to the parliamentary budget officer, this measure will lift 300,000 young people out of poverty. One in five Canadian children lives in poverty. That is unacceptable, and I am proud that we are taking action.
In my riding alone, hundreds of children go to school in the morning on an empty stomach.
Some needs are being met thanks to the extraordinary work of community organizations, but these organizations cannot do it alone. They need a government ally, and this budget ensures they have found one. We have helped the middle class and those working hard to join it. We are giving Canadians the financial security they need to raise their families, help grow our economy, and build their lives.
Although Canadian parents are working harder than ever these days, government assistance no longer takes into account the needs of our young people. It is becoming more and more difficult for them to find work. Today, I can finally confirm with pride that our government is going to help young people to find their path.
We are increasing Canada student grant amounts for low-income students. This investment will give thousands of students access to the classrooms of our best universities and colleges and help them build a real future for themselves.
Furthermore, in order to lessen the impact of student debt, we will ensure that recent graduates will not have to repay their loan until they are earning at least $25,000 per year. To give our young people the professional experience they need to break into the job market, we are investing more than $300 million in the Canada summer jobs program. This will create an additional 35,000 summer jobs for young people, every year, for the next three years.
Although these investments show a clear commitment to our young people, they also show that we are committed to all Canadians. All young people have a chance to succeed, and their success will strengthen the new middle class; this will in turn help our seniors and make Canada stronger for everyone.
Our budget also considers the Canada we are going to leave behind. With new and historic investments in infrastructure and in Canada's environment, this budget shows the commitment that this government has to the literal foundations of our country and to our long-term prosperity. Our infrastructure investment strategy will serve to work with provinces and local communities to build and develop new projects where they are needed most.
In my riding, one of the main concerns raised with me is that our current public transportation infrastructure is insufficient to keep up with the fast growing pace of our community. This echoes the concerns of far too many Canadians in communities across the country. Through consultation and input from people who are affected by our decisions in Ottawa, federal funding will be less of a roadblock to action in increasing our collective potential for growth, development, and long-term success. Through unprecedented investment in infrastructure, including public transportation, much-needed and overdue projects that will improve the lives of Canadians will finally be realized.
Finally, I would like to speak to what the budget would do to ensure a cleaner, healthier environment and to protect the rightful legacy of future generations.
As part of our plan to modernize the way we go to work and move around our communities while also reducing emissions, we have announced $3.4 billion over the next three years in public transit.
To ensure that we are building the communities of tomorrow that are smarter, more efficient, and more sustainable, we are investing $5 billion over the next five years in green infrastructure, including investments in water infrastructure and electric vehicle charging stations.
Further, my constituents have worried for years about the potential hazards posed by oil being transported through their neighbourhoods and backyards without a well-funded, thorough, and transparent environmental impact assessment process in place. Modernizing the National Energy Board and following through on our pledge to strengthen and reform the environmental assessment process with an investment of $30 million is something that is strongly supported by my constituents.
Budget 2016 is also about investing in new technologies that will take key steps toward our country playing a leading role in efficient and clean innovation. With our investment of $400 million over two years, we will create strong Canadian green tech companies and create good paying jobs for Canadians.
I took this opportunity to rise in the House and speak to the budget, on behalf of the people of Vaudreuil—Soulanges. With this budget, this government has expressed loud and clear that Canada's greatest asset is, without a doubt, its people: our seniors, our young people, our middle class, and those who are working hard to join the middle class. By investing in them, in our communities, and in our future, we are ensuring that our country will flourish.