Madam Speaker, I would like to inform you that I will be sharing my time with my friend, the member for Scarborough—Rouge Park.
I will be speaking about the second budget implementation act.
First of all, I would like to say how proud I am to represent the people of Gatineau in the House. It is an honour to have been chosen as their spokesperson in this chamber of Canadian democracy. Every day, as the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Services and Procurement and as MP for Gatineau, I try to promote the interests of my constituents within the Government of Canada.
The first thing I would like to say is that this bill is part of a larger movement or trend, part of our government's wider plan to promote greater work-life balance. It will also help ease the burden of young families and our families in general. This is a well represented group in my riding of Gatineau. A recent study found that the population of Gatineau is younger, and that its income and rate of growth is higher than the Quebec average. The riding's people work hard and have helped build Canada through their participation in the federal public service. The people of Gatineau have worked hard in the forestry and resource sectors. They have created wealth. My constituents work, and most importantly, live and raise their families in the riding of Gatineau.
Our government's efforts and policies are appropriate for the people of my riding and have a positive impact on the citizens of Gatineau. It is very difficult to achieve work-life balance today. There are problems with transportation, and there is stress. Even with two incomes, our families' debt levels are higher than the national average. The government must take action.
Our election platform and the bill before us today are meant to ease this burden. I would remind the House that we cut taxes for the middle class. When we talk about the middle class, this includes the people of Gatineau. One of the first things we did was to cut taxes for the middle class. We dropped the retirement age. Mr. Harper wanted to raise the eligibility age for retirement to 67, but we brought it back down to 65.
As the Prime Minister said yesterday, the Canada child benefit and the enhancement we just announced in the fall economic update will help all Canadian families. It will give them room to make some choices, whether regarding child care, registration in cultural activities, leisure activities, and so on. The Canada child benefit is the most important social program of my generation for future generations, for the families and children in Gatineau and across Canada.
We enhanced the Canada pension plan. I applaud the Quebec finance minister' initiative, which will adapt the Canadian reform to Quebec society. The Canada pension plan will get a boost from coast to coast thanks to the federal government's efforts. This means that young workers and young families can rest assured that they will have a better and more secure retirement. What they save now will be returned to them at the end of their working lives.
Of course, there is also the working income tax benefit. Just like everywhere else, some people have trouble getting off social assistance. They find it difficult to choose between getting back into the job market and continuing to receive social assistance. Thanks to measures we just announced, this tax credit will be enhanced, which will make it easier for people to choose to go back to work and contribute more to society because they know they will get a tax credit, they know the government supports them, and they know that, financially, going back to work makes sense.
The bill we are talking about today will make life easier for people working in federally regulated industries. There will be more flexibility around vacation and annual leave. People will have up to 10 days of bereavement leave if they lose a loved one, and they will have an additional three days of unpaid leave to attend to family responsibilities. That is one way we are showing compassion for our workers and for people who are having a hard time balancing work and family responsibilities. Those responsibilities can be toward our parents, our children, or even ourselves. We have introduced important measures.
Our government will continue to make life easier for Canadian families. It will also continue to make it easier to raise a family and to deal with the stress associated with two incomes, the stress caused by personal debt, and the stress caused by job insecurity in our country.
We are well aware of these realities in Gatineau and elsewhere. As the member for Gatineau, I will continue to urge my government to take action and do what is necessary to help families in Gatineau and Quebec find work-life balance.
I will close on a more personal note. Tax measures alone will not allow people in the riding of Gatineau and the Outaouais region achieve work-life balance. We need to invest more in our roads and infrastructure, including those we share with other levels of government.
We have taken a big step forward with the Rapibus extension that I recently announced with my friends and provincial and municipal counterparts. This will make life easier for many people in Gatineau. We must continue to find solutions for the western part of Gatineau and extend this transit system to the eastern end of the city.
Another initiative that must be undertaken by our government, in co-operation with our friends in Ottawa, Ontario, Quebec, and Gatineau is the construction of a sixth interprovincial bridge, this one in the Gatineau sector. That would allow a young single mother who works in Tunney's Pasture to get to the Cheval-Blanc sector of Gatineau more easily to watch her daughter's soccer game, for example. We need to reduce traffic by improving transportation, something that the programs we will put in place will accomplish. With the help of the federal government, life will be greatly improved for the people of Gatineau.
I am very pleased to be part of this government, this movement, and this trend. I once again thank the people of Gatineau who gave me the honour of representing them.