House of Commons Hansard #39 of the 42nd Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was billion.

Topics

Criminal CodeRoutine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.

Vancouver Granville B.C.

Liberal

Jody Wilson-Raybould LiberalMinister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-14, An Act to amend the Criminal Code and to make related amendments to other Acts (medical assistance in dying).

(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)

Department of Industry ActRoutine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.

Green

Elizabeth May Green Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

,

seconded by the member for Joliette, moved for leave to introduce Bill C-258, An Act to amend the Department of Industry Act (small businesses).

She said: Mr. Speaker, it is a great honour for me to rise today to introduce this bill for the second time. I did so in the previous Parliament, and now I am reintroducing this bill on the Department of Industry with respect to small businesses.

The proposal is very simple. It is based on something that is done in the European Union, which is referred as “think small first”. It would apply an advance evaluation to government programs, laws, and regulations, to ensure that their impact on small business is considered in the process of reviewing all the legislation and regulations that go through this place.

I am grateful for the opportunity to have it at first reading. I hope for support from all sides of the House.

(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)

Open Science ActRoutine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.

Green

Elizabeth May Green Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

, seconded by the member for Joliette, moved for leave to introduce Bill C-259, An Act to amend the Access to Information Act (scientific research).

She said: Mr. Speaker, I want to overdramatize it, but this is extraordinarily important legislation to ensure that never again will scientific information and research paid for by the people of Canada be kept from the people of Canada. It is a very simple, straightforward measure that requires that every government institution shall cause all records composed of scientific research to be published on a public website as soon as is practicable and as soon as the research is completed. It is about open science.

(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)

Canadian Forces Superannuation ActRoutine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.

NDP

Irene Mathyssen NDP London—Fanshawe, ON

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-260, An Act to amend the Canadian Forces Superannuation Act and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police Superannuation Act (deduction of disability pensions).

Mr. Speaker, as the House most certainly knows, it is absolutely essential that our veterans get the financial support that they need. The current practice of clawing back disability benefits once a veteran starts collecting CPP is an outrage. The financial and other impacts of the veterans' impairments continue to exist once they start collecting their CPP, and they should continue to receive that support. The bill would ensure that any disability pensions received by an RCMP or CF veteran will not be clawed back once the veteran reaches the age of 65 and starts collecting CPP, or a similar provincial plan.

(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)

Canadian Forces Superannuation ActRoutine Proceedings

April 14th, 2016 / 10:10 a.m.

NDP

Irene Mathyssen NDP London—Fanshawe, ON

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-261, an act to amend the Canadian Forces Superannuation Act and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police Superannuation Act (increase of allowance for survivors and children).

Mr. Speaker, many veterans' spouses are forced to give up their own careers to support the veteran during the veteran's service when they are moved from city to city, making it difficult for the spouse to establish a career; or a spouse may give up work to care for an injured veteran. It is important that supports remain in place for the spouse and family after the veteran passes away.

Currently veterans' families receive an allowance after the veteran passes. This bill would raise the amount that the veteran's spouse or survivor or dependant children are provided for in an allowance. It would raise it to 70% of the veteran's annual allowance or annuity. This would provide much-needed additional financial support to families and to veterans.

(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)

Natural Gas IndustryPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

Conservative

Bob Zimmer Conservative Prince George—Peace River—Northern Rockies, BC

Mr. Speaker, it is my honour today to present this petition, which represents thousands of people in British Columbia who want to see LNG go forward. I would like to respect the efforts of Kristi Pimm De-Maid and Alan Yu on this petition.

They petition that the economy of northern B.C. is resource-reliant, with natural gas being one of the resources that provides direct and indirect jobs to residents in the region.

Therefore, they call upon the government to approve at the earliest opportunity, the construction and operation of LNG plants, and the construction of natural gas pipelines required to supply these LNG plants with natural gas.

Democratic ReformPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

Green

Elizabeth May Green Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Mr. Speaker, I rise this morning to present two petitions.

The first petition is from petitioners who are calling upon Parliament to immediately call a full public consultation on reform of the way that we elect ourselves.

The petitioners point out that the current system, the so-called “first past the post”, is a system which allows the voting results to be perverse, and in fact allows a minority of voters to elect a majority of Parliament.

The petitioners call for this electoral reform process to begin immediately, which fortunately I believe concurs with plans in the Speech from the Throne.

The EnvironmentPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

Green

Elizabeth May Green Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Mr. Speaker, the second petition is from many hundred residents of the communities of Saanich—Gulf Islands.

The petitioners are calling upon the government to prohibit the purchase of bottled water for personal use in federal government institutions as long as potable water sources are already available.

Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

Winnipeg North Manitoba

Liberal

Kevin Lamoureux LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, I would ask that all questions be allowed to stand at this time.

Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

The Speaker

Is that agreed?

Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

The House resumed from April 13 consideration of the motion that this House approve in general the budgetary policy of the government.

Financial Statement of Minister of FinanceThe BudgetGovernment Orders

10:10 a.m.

Liberal

Bob Nault Liberal Kenora, ON

Mr. Speaker, it is a great pleasure and an honour to have the opportunity to speak today to the first budget of the new government. This is my opportunity to speak directly about the budget as it relates to northern Ontario and rural Canada. I want to start by saying that this is a historic budget, from the perspective of the investments that will be made in the north.

If we look at the Canada child benefit and the needs of northerners for child care, financial resources, aboriginal children, and communities that have a large segment of their population who are unemployed or on social assistance, this Canada child benefit will have a disproportionate way of improving the lives of northerners more than any other region in the country. There are thousands of families in the north who are living in poverty, who do not have jobs, who are on social assistance. They could have an opportunity to collect the child benefit, and it would make improvements to the lives of those families right off the bat. That $23 billion that will be moved as early as July 1 will have a significant impact in regions like northern Ontario.

I want to congratulate the government for understanding the importance of raising children, and also understanding that there have to be options. It is not all about child care spaces. It is about the importance of having enough financial resources to buy food and clothes. We have had debates in this House about aboriginal people in the last few days. I strongly recommend that people visit communities in the north that are isolated, where the cost of living is sometimes double that in the south. If people had an opportunity to visit these isolated communities, some 22 that I represent in northern Ontario, in the heart of North America, they will find that this will be a welcome and historic investment in the lives of these communities.

Because of the child benefit and the importance of of it being tax free and not clawed back, there will be an opportunity for people who are on social assistance and who fill out their income tax return to gain more opportunity to buy clothes, food, and other essentials for life. I want to ensure that members are aware of that.

Before I forget, Mr. Speaker, I want you to know that I am splitting my time with the member for Vaughan—Woodbridge.

The other major historic investment that could have a huge impact in northern Ontario is the investment in infrastructure. I have heard some comments across the way that it is not enough this year and that it is not what was expected. However, we all have to be very straight about how this will work.

It will be a historic investment of some $120 billion of federal funds. That does not include in the discussion the share of the provincial, municipal, and first nations governments in infrastructure. If we look at it from the perspective of even being divided in thirds, we could in essence be talking about $350 billion over 10 years, if all levels of government participate. That is a lot of money to be putting into the process of developing our country's infrastructure. This is where I want to talk more about the north than I normally do. In this place, there is a big difference in representing a large rural riding which is one-third of Ontario's land mass, with 13 municipalities, 42 first nations, and virtually no infrastructure. This is a great opportunity for us in this place to support the building of the north, for the first time in decades.

It is always interesting in this House to listen to members of Parliament, in particular from urban Canada, talk about the importance of transit in Toronto or Montreal or places like that. However, where I come from, there are no roads. When we talk about transit, we have to start from the basics.

If we are going to invest and build our nation, if we are going to improve the lives of first nation citizens who live in isolated communities, we are going to have to start from the very basics of putting the financial resources, the infrastructure dollars, into building all-weather roads and grids.

If we want first nations children to be successful, they have to start off with the same level playing field. These communities have to have the same infrastructure, the same abilities to see the progression of their lives in a positive way, as our children do. This infrastructure does not have to happen this year, because planning needs to take place.

Let us talk about all-weather roads and grids. I will use Pikangikum as an example, because I attended the funerals last week of the nine people passed away in a major fire there. There was a lot of conversation nationally about it. Pikangikum has a shovel-ready project to build a grid that would connect energy to the community and allow it to have sewer and water, an operational recreation facility, and housing that is connected to energy. All of this is ready to go. All we need is the green light from the Government of Canada and the participation of the provincial government. We could build an all-weather road and the grid next to it, starting this year.

That shovel-ready project has been sitting on the books now for a number of years. The previous government could have put that infrastructure in place for Pikangikum, but refused to do it. That is one of the reasons there are the kinds of tragic situations that we hear about on a regular basis.

My region, northern Ontario, does not have a twinned highway. It is the only region of the country, aside from the Northwest Territories and in some respects, obviously, the Yukon and Nunavut, that does not have that kind of infrastructure, from the Manitoba border into southern Ontario. When people talk about infrastructure, it is extremely important to realize that my region is coming from a long way back. If we want people to be successful, we have to start with the basic infrastructure that we all need and expect to have.

The other part of this budget that I think is extremely important for northerners is the section on social infrastructure. There is $3.4 billion in the budget over five years for social infrastructure. What is social infrastructure? Social infrastructure includes affordable housing, early learning and child care, cultural and recreational infrastructure, and community health care facilities in places like reserves. Those are the kinds of historic things in this budget.

The next historic part of this budget is the environment, the whole concept of understanding what we need to do not only as northerners but as Canadians and citizens of the globe. We have to take our environmental issues a lot more seriously than we have in the past.

I always tell people I am a lake person. Where I come from, there are thousands of lakes, in some cases lakes that people have never set foot on because they are so isolated. There seems to be more water than there is land. We have to not only cherish that but protect it, because that is the history and the future of my region; it is all going to be based on water.

This budget put in place $5.5 million for the watershed on Lake of the Woods, which is where I live, and it will have a huge impact in doing studies on the effects that climate change and pollution have on a lake as large as Lake of the Woods. It runs into Manitoba and the United States, as well as Ontario. It is a big lake with a lot of issues that need to be dealt with, and I commend the government for understanding what that means.

I stand here today to remind my colleagues in the House that making investments in infrastructure is not always political. It has to be done because it makes the most sense.

We will not get a lot of political bang for our buck for spending billions of dollars in northern Ontario for one seat, two seats, or three seats, but we do it because it builds the nation and it improves the lives of a lot of people, now and in the future.

On behalf of northerners, I am thankful for being given the time to talk about some of the issues in the budget. I am sure we will get a chance to talk about many more.

Financial Statement of Minister of FinanceThe BudgetGovernment Orders

10:25 a.m.

Conservative

Mel Arnold Conservative North Okanagan—Shuswap, BC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to make one correction to the member's speech.

The member stated that the area through northern Ontario is the only portion of Canada that does not have a four-lane highway. I would contradict that with the fact that there are areas through British Columbia that are also waiting to see our Trans-Canada Highway have four lanes. That is Highway 1 not only through my region of North Okanagan—Shuswap but through the Columbia—Kootenay region as well.

Would the member opposite join me in pressuring his Minister of Finance and Minister of Transport for improvements on those sections of the Trans-Canada Highway that do need to be four lanes, not just in his riding of northern Ontario but in the ridings in British Columbia that truly are a corridor for all of the trade of western Canada through to our western ports and the rest of the world?

Financial Statement of Minister of FinanceThe BudgetGovernment Orders

10:25 a.m.

Liberal

Bob Nault Liberal Kenora, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am on the same page as the member. I can assure him that I am lobbying the government every day to look at not only the way we will make decisions on our national infrastructure projects but also the way we will interact with the local communities and the provinces to make sure that the best decisions are made, and not just made for political reasons.

The infrastructure, as the Prime Minister has said many times, is not a very sexy topic. Most people just gloss over it.

I will give an example in northern Ontario of why this is so difficult for me to feel comfortable that this will ever happen in my term here in office. I hope I can say to the member that that may not be the case. Just the grid for 22 first nations communities that are isolated is a $1.3 billion infrastructure project.

That is a lot of money to expect the governments to put in place, but that is the necessity of the situation in which we find ourselves. If we want to improve the lives of northerners and first nations northerners, we have to put that infrastructure in play here in the next couple of years.

Financial Statement of Minister of FinanceThe BudgetGovernment Orders

10:25 a.m.

NDP

Sheri Benson NDP Saskatoon West, SK

Mr. Speaker, on many points the member raised, we would agree.

There are many barriers for parents to be able to access employment. Child care is not just about spaces; it is about being able to afford it. On that point, we would agree.

However, it is more than that, because it is about child care spaces. It is not an either/or situation, certainly for the folks in my riding. The single biggest barrier, regardless of whether parents can afford child care in Saskatoon West, is that spaces are not available. The single biggest barrier to being able to be employed or go to school is child care spaces.

During the election campaign, we heard a lot from the Liberals about child care spaces and that the investment was going to be immediate. In this budget, we see that there is no child care funding for this year and we are going to have to wait.

I would like to hear the member's comments on why we have to wait.

Financial Statement of Minister of FinanceThe BudgetGovernment Orders

10:25 a.m.

Liberal

Bob Nault Liberal Kenora, ON

Mr. Speaker, as I have said before in this place in other speeches I have given, when a commitment is made during an election campaign and the commitment is significant by a very activist party, now a very activist government, I would not expect anyone in this House or any Canadian to believe that all the commitments made by the government would end up in the first budget.

It will take us a number of years to make significant changes, as it did when we took office in 1993 to change the direction of the Mulroney government. It took us four to five years to clean up the budget mess, just to get into a surplus.

Governments take time to direct and develop their structures. It will be the same issue here. Next year, people will be seeing things in the budget then, so that is important. In other budgets over the next three or four years, we will see the commitments made by the government starting to appear.

I know people are anxious. I know they think we should do it all in one year. However, if we were to take the NDP's philosophy and have a balanced budget, we would not be doing any of this.

In fact, child care will come, as we negotiate with the provinces, as we talk about infrastructure deals for child care spaces. We can look forward to those improvements in years to come.

Financial Statement of Minister of FinanceThe BudgetGovernment Orders

10:30 a.m.

Liberal

Francesco Sorbara Liberal Vaughan—Woodbridge, ON

Mr. Speaker, it gives me great pleasure today to rise and speak on the budget. This budget, which I like to refer to as the middle-class budget, or better yet, the growth budget, is an important step to help revitalize the Canadian economy, strengthen the middle class, and ensure a prosperous future for the residents of my riding of Vaughan—Woodbridge.

I see budget 2016 as a blueprint to undertake strategic investments for the future. As the father of two young daughters, Natalia and Eliana, I know this budget is a plan for the future not just of this generation but of successive generations, one that moves Canada forward in a number of concrete ways and ensures that all our children will inherit a more prosperous and hopeful country.

I am proud to represent Vaughan—Woodbridge, one of the fastest growing communities in Canada. Our community, like many across the country, is made up of dynamic hard-working Canadians who look forward to a good standard of living and a better future for their families. However, many of my constituents are working harder than ever and are not getting ahead. Budget 2016 would put people first, and it would deliver the help that Canadians and the residents of Vaughan—Woodbridge need now, not a decade from now.

As an economist and someone who worked in the global financial markets for nearly a quarter of a century, I can state with expertise that budget 2016 is fiscally prudent. It is a responsible approach to fiscal management, cemented through a fiscal anchor. Thanks to measures taken in the mid-1990s, Canada has the lowest debt-to-GDP ratio of any G7 country, and with interest rates at historic lows, now is the time to invest in Canadians to ensure our country's best days lie ahead.

However, Canada's fiscal strength rests largely in its low debt burden, and protecting this source of strength is of paramount importance. To maintain Canada's low debt burden and its fiscal advantage, our government is committed to reducing the federal debt-to-GDP ratio to a lower level over a five-year period, ending in 2020-2021. This commitment preserves the government's capacity to respond to potential future economic crises, so that future generations are not burdened.

I am extremely proud of budget 2016. I know it would make a positive difference in the lives of the residents of Vaughan—Woodbridge. I wish to highlight a few measures that are particularly significant to me and my constituents, including measures that strengthen the middle class, undertake strategic investments in infrastructure that build stronger communities, introduce the transformational Canada child benefit, and ensure a dignified retirement for our seniors.

One of the first actions our government took was to introduce a $3 billion middle-class tax cut and to ask the wealthiest 1% to pay a bit more. In total, nearly nine million Canadians, including many in my riding, are now benefiting from this tax cut, leaving more money in their paycheques to save, invest, and grow the economy.

I am proud of this government's commitment to families with the introduction of the transformational CCB. The CCB would now be tax free to parents, better targeted to those who need it the most, and much more generous. In fact, nine out of 10 families would receive more child benefits than under the current system, with an average increase of almost $2,300.

Even more significant is that, with the introduction of a better targeted CCB, about 300,000 fewer children would be living in poverty. The CCB would be a leading force in our efforts toward poverty reduction, and for this our government should be applauded by all members of the House.

We know all too well the growing infrastructure deficit faced by cities and provinces across Canada, and we know that our economic well-being depends on our ability to move people, goods, and services. Our government listened during the election campaign and heard the unified voice from experts, including from Bank of Canada governor Stephen Poloz, who noted that “Infrastructure is an ingredient to economic growth. It’s sort of the enabler of economic growth”. That is why we have made a historic commitment to invest $120 billion in infrastructure over 10 years. This is a smart investment that is much needed. Studies have consistently shown that, for every dollar invested in infrastructure, approximately $1.50 in economic activity is generated. Investing in infrastructure creates good, well-paying jobs that can help the middle class grow and prosper.

Our investments in infrastructure, be it public, social, or green, are not just about creating jobs and economic growth but, more importantly, are also about building communities that Canadians are proud to call home. Currently, congestion in the greater Toronto area is costing the economy billions of dollars and negatively impacting the quality of life of all residents. In phase 1 of the infrastructure plan, $3.4 billion over three years would be invested in public transit, of which $1.5 billion is earmarked for Ontario. This investment, along with the current infrastructure projects, including the Toronto-York Spadina subway expansion into Vaughan, would be tangible measures to begin to address the costs associated with congestion.

As we move forward, we will implement a plan for investment in infrastructure, but the government will also plan for a more innovative Canada. Innovation is today's driver of inclusive growth, and Canada must be in it to win it. In budget 2016, the government is defining a new vision for Canada's economy to build Canada as a centre of global innovation.

Our government will fund a $2-billion investment over three years for a new post-secondary institution strategic investment fund to modernize on-campus research, commercialization, and training facilities. Budget 2016 also provides an additional $95 million per year to strengthen Canada's world-class research capacity and excellence.

Canadians face a rapidly changing global economy, and for us to succeed we must foster citizens to be global leaders in their fields and have our creative and entrepreneurial citizens propel the economy forward.

The welfare of seniors is an issue that touches me greatly in my riding. Seniors helped build this great country we live in. Budget 2016 puts forward significant new investments to ensure that all seniors can enjoy a secure and dignified retirement. The planned increase of up to $947 per year, a 10% increase to the guaranteed income supplement, is set to start in July. It will help the most vulnerable single seniors. Over 900,000 seniors, including many in my riding of Vaughan—Woodbridge, will be helped by this measure, but we are doing more.

We have kept our commitment to return the age of eligibility for old age security and the guaranteed income supplement to 65 from 67, and in the coming months we will develop a seniors price index to allow seniors to keep pace with the actual cost of living they face.

In addition, our government will continue discussions with the provinces to enhance the Canada pension plan. An enhanced Canada pension plan would be a major step in improving retirement outcomes for workers and reducing the uncertainty that many Canadians feel about entering retirement.

Our commitment to seniors is simple. We are there for them.

Finally, budget 2016 is truly a blueprint for the future, a future that is not only hopeful but built on solid foundations which are fiscally prudent and boldly aspirational.

Our country's best days are ahead of us, and we will seize the opportunity to invest in Canadians, including the residents of Vaughan—Woodbridge. I am privileged to serve them.

God bless Canada.

Financial Statement of Minister of FinanceThe BudgetGovernment Orders

10:35 a.m.

NDP

Charlie Angus NDP Timmins—James Bay, ON

Mr. Speaker, there are serious gaps in this budget in terms of commitments to our country. One of the huge gaps that I see is in the area of Northern Ontario, where we have the Ring of Fire development. This development would be a transformative project for the economy of our entire region, not just in the coming years but in the coming generations.

Indigenous communities living in dire poverty in the Ring of Fire region are looking to participate, but they need the infrastructure, the roads, the support to build a project that would transform our economy.

The Kathleen Wynne government had demanded the old Conservative government put $1 billion into the project before the provincial Liberals would do anything, and of course the provincial Liberals have done nothing. Now the Kathleen Wynne Liberals are not asking the federal Liberals to put up a dime, and the government has lived up to that promise: the federal Liberals do not have a dime in the budget for a transformative resource development project that would involve indigenous communities and transform our economy.

I hear all this talk about infrastructure and how the Liberal government is looking to build an economy. Why, then, has it ignored one of the most important development projects in our nation, particularly in the north of Canada? There has been no consultation, and the government has given us no plan for our communities to survive economically.

Financial Statement of Minister of FinanceThe BudgetGovernment Orders

10:35 a.m.

Liberal

Francesco Sorbara Liberal Vaughan—Woodbridge, ON

Mr. Speaker, the pre-budget consultations that took place with the Minister of Finance and many MPs were the most elaborate in Canadian history. We discussed this with many communities in northern Ontario, southwestern Ontario, eastern Ontario, and the greater Toronto area.

Our infrastructure plan, which we will lay out in the coming years, will not be a top-down plan. It will be a bottom-up plan. We will listen to the communities and sectors that will be affected and we will work with them because they know best. The municipalities know best where these projects are, and we are continuing to listen to them. They will give us the guidance we need, and we will provide the resources they need for them to be successful.

Financial Statement of Minister of FinanceThe BudgetGovernment Orders

10:40 a.m.

Conservative

Ziad Aboultaif Conservative Edmonton Manning, AB

Mr. Speaker, we have a $120-billion investment over 10 years on infrastructure alone, besides the almost $30-billion deficit this coming year. Could the hon. member advise us, based on his background, of how many jobs we can create out of a $120-billion investment in infrastructure?

Financial Statement of Minister of FinanceThe BudgetGovernment Orders

10:40 a.m.

Liberal

Francesco Sorbara Liberal Vaughan—Woodbridge, ON

Mr. Speaker, yesterday the Bank of Canada released its April monetary policy report. Incorporating the budget laid out by our government, its projection for the upcoming two years showed a substantial positive impact on economic growth in 2016 and 2017.

We will generate literally tens of thousands of jobs from our infrastructure plan over the coming years. These are good jobs. They are middle-class jobs. They have good benefits and allow families a brighter future.

Financial Statement of Minister of FinanceThe BudgetGovernment Orders

10:40 a.m.

Winnipeg North Manitoba

Liberal

Kevin Lamoureux LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, I am always intrigued by questions coming from the New Democrats, and I will ask my colleague to provide some commentary.

They always want to say we should be spending more money on this and more money on that. They believe we should be spending billions and billions of additional dollars. On the other hand, they had a huge leap—if I could put it that way—when they said they were going to have a balanced budget guarantee. That balanced budget guarantee would have meant severe cuts in the budget.

Could the member give any indication of what he believes the NDP might have cut, while at the same time saying they would be putting more money into the budget? There seems to be a lot of potential hypocrisy there. Would he not agree?

Financial Statement of Minister of FinanceThe BudgetGovernment Orders

10:40 a.m.

Liberal

Francesco Sorbara Liberal Vaughan—Woodbridge, ON

Mr. Speaker, any promise by any party to balance the budget in times of low commodity prices and a sharp drop in revenues for the government is really irresponsible. It is irresponsible to Canadians for those cuts to occur.

It was ironic that the New Democrats did not say where they would cut. Would they cut child benefits? Would they cut benefits to seniors? It was a bit hypocritical of them.

Those cuts would result in a negative impact on economic growth and of course on jobs. We are the opposite of that. We will be investing in Canadians this year and for years to come.

Financial Statement of Minister of FinanceThe BudgetGovernment Orders

10:40 a.m.

Conservative

Earl Dreeshen Conservative Red Deer—Mountain View, AB

Mr. Speaker, I proudly rise today on behalf of the people of Red Deer—Mountain View to speak to this Liberal budget for the upcoming fiscal year. I will be sharing my time with my hon. colleague from North Okanagan—Shuswap.

In this budget there is bad news and there is some good news. The bad news is for hard-working Canadians in this country and the good news is for some very sketchy Liberal pet projects.

During the 10 years of Conservative government, there was a critical point that Canadians could count on: a promise made was a promise kept. We can imagine the surprise of Canadians when they realized that when the Liberals made a promise, it was not worth the paper that it was written on. Perhaps they thought they could take the Liberal campaign promises to the bank, but now they have found that the only thing going to the bank is a request to increase the limit on Canadian taxpayers' credit cards. That affects every Canadian.

My constituents come from all walks of life: oil and gas, farmers, teachers, social service workers, protection services, community leaders, small business owners, and so many aspiring entrepreneurs. As Conservatives, we had it right with our economic formula: tax relief, training our future workforce, and supporting trade.

Take, for example, the knowledge infrastructure program, or KIP, which we introduced as part of the Conservative economic action plan. KIP was a two-year, $2-billion economic incentive to encourage infrastructure enhancement at Canadian post-secondary institutions. The program helped to provide economic stimulus, training, and subsequent employment for engineers, architects, tradespersons, and technicians in my community. It was delivered during a time of global economic distress, and it was done in an effective and expedient manner.

KIP also helped to generate the advanced technologies infrastructure needed to keep Canada's research and educational facilities at the forefront of scientific advancement. Both Red Deer College and Olds College received funding under this program, and I have been told many times by people at these institutions how helpful the program was for them. It had a track record of positive results, and Conservatives were able to fund such programs while being financially responsible.

During the past decade, central Alberta enjoyed a reputation of being one of the fastest-growing communities in the country. It was a region renowned for its economic growth, and we saw significant and rapid increases in population.

This entrepreneurial spirit was evident a short time ago when I was honoured to attend the Alberta Chamber of Commerce 2016 Awards of Distinction. I was extremely proud to see many of my constituents and their local businesses recognized on the provincial stage.

Melanie Tuck of Collegiate Sports Medicine took home the award for Woman Entrepreneur of the Year. Melanie and her team saw tremendous growth in both her Red Deer and Olds facilities as she used their expertise to help injured athletes, workers, and community members.

Also, Tannas Conservation Services out of Cremona was nominated in the category for young entrepreneur, while Platinum Homes and Developments from Red Deer was nominated in the small business category. These job creators and community leaders have done an incredible job in growing their businesses to the benefit of our communities.

Sadly, it is the entrepreneurial leaders, future business owners, small businesses, and community job creators that the government is targeting in budget 2016. With this budget, aspiring business owners will be hit with higher taxes, making it harder for them to save up to start a business. Existing small businesses will also be hit with higher payroll taxes through the addition of over $1 billion in new EI expenditures and higher premiums for all future employers.

Additionally, the budget killed the small business hiring tax credit, which was designed to help small businesses grow and create jobs.

Under the Conservatives, Canadians across the country enjoyed the lowest tax rates in 50 years. Low taxes mean more money in the pockets of every Canadian. It is not what we see in this budget.

Today more than 100,000 Canadians from across the country are out of work in the oil and gas industry alone. These Canadians have worked hard to take care of their families and they have paid more than their fair share into the system. For decades they helped pay down debt and they paid their dues. To thank them, the Liberals held a photo op in Calgary, telling struggling oil and gas workers that some of them would be getting a bizarre employment insurance extension plan. This is not the jobs creation plan that Albertans were promised. Unfortunately, this neglect seems to extend past Alberta, with the Liberals failing to identify a solid jobs plan for all Canadians.

The government told us to wait, that when the budget was delivered there would be a clear job plan for everyone. With the budget before us now, we know these were empty words from the Prime Minister.

The Prime Minister's favourite saying seems to be that Canada is back. Well, millions of Canadians are certainly disappointed to see that what is actually back is the old tax-and-spend Liberals, wrecking the economy and the financial well-being of Canadians.

After years of record economic growth and job creation under the Conservatives, the Canadian economy will now be handcuffed, thanks to this reckless Liberal spending.

The Liberals will not tell us this, but the truth is that in the last four months, the Liberals have blown through over a $3 billion surplus as well as an addition $5.4 billion. To pay for their reckless spending, Liberals have already raised taxes and will raise more in the future. With this budget, personal taxes are set to go up by $1.3 billion this year and $2.4 billion the next. Now they need to break their election promise to borrow even more.

The rhetoric does not mask the fact that if the Liberals were the open and transparent government they have claimed to be, they would have allowed us to table the real economic figures and updates in the House.

Financial experts and economists warn us that this irresponsible spending will pile on billions more to the national debt over the next four years. This is reckless spending, with no foreseeable economic boost in the future. There is no clear economic leadership from the Liberals.

This is not the economy environment that will reassure Canadians. When investors and businesses lose confidence, investments start to decline and communities suffer. This is manifesting itself in Alberta at this time.

Budgets should be a source of reassurance to Canadians, assurance that their government is doing its best to encourage a strong economy, good jobs, and uncompromised services. On that note, this budget has failed.

My colleagues and I came back from our ridings sharing the same concerns of our constituents. Canadians are worried.

The government is cutting funds from important sectors. It cut $3.7 billion from our defence budget, and the Liberals have short-changed public safety with a mere $57 million at time when terrorism is a global and national threat.

In terms of provisions for the services we Canadians care about, the Liberals came out empty-handed. They have no clear path in supporting the long-term health of sectors such as home care, palliative care, support for seniors, or a provincial health care and social services scheme.

The leader of the opposition said it well when she said, “Without real economic leadership, there is no means to pay for all of these important social programs that so many Canadians rely on when they need our compassion.”

I sure hope that by the time budget 2017 comes along, the Liberals will stop taking economic lessons from the Prime Minister's government friends from Ontario, who have successfully ransacked local economies, cut essential services, and created mountains of debt for future generations.

Let me again remind everyone that our children, our grandkids, and their children did not sign up for this multi-billion credit extension to which these Liberals feel so entitled. They promised they would be responsible in their quest for change, but with this budget they have abandoned that.

The Liberals have also abandoned our allies when they were needed the most. They abandoned our natural resources industry. They have abandoned our farmers. They have abandoned the champions of religious freedom for persecuted religious minorities around the world. Now they are turning their backs on the future, economic stability, and quality of social services in our country. This budget will short-change Canadians today, tomorrow, and for generations to come.

Canadians and future Canadians, however, can count on the Conservatives to be on their side.