Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to speak to Bill C-63, a bill to implement certain provisions of the budget. I want to first say how proud I am to be a colleague of the finance minister and to sit in the government with him.
The finance minister has led what most people would understand as an exemplary personal life. He has used much of his fortune to assist people in various parts of the world. He has to suffer the innuendo that is being offered almost every day, that perhaps he joined public life in order to enrich himself. I do not think anyone would seriously believe that we would engage in the election campaign and be successful in public life in the hopes of leaving this place as much wealthier people than when we came. The other thing I want to say about the finance minister is that his area of expertise is critical to the future of so many Canadians, because we have an aging population, we have many issues with regard to pensions, and it should be seen by most Canadians as a benefit to have someone with the profound expertise in the world of pensions such as our minister has.
The biggest take-away from the finance minister and the government legislation that we have put forward is the economic success of the country. All the numbers show it, and we have heard about the job creation. In my own city of Hamilton, we have an unemployment rate of 4.2%, and for the seventh year in a row we have over $1 billion in new building construction.
I also want to point out the success we have had with the Canada child benefit. In my own riding in the month of July, which is the latest for which I have the final figures, 9,470 families received cheques that affected 16,560 children for a total of $5.8 million. In the entire city of Hamilton, all five ridings, 44,700 families were affected, 80,620 children received the benefits, and the total amount for one month in Hamilton was $27.4 million. This money not only goes directly to the families involved, but one would assume it would immediately be reinvested in the community, in the neighbourhood stores, and in the small businesses in the neighbourhood where purchases are made. Therefore, this investment in the Canada child benefit plan is paying dividends that are almost impossible to understand. It is worth saying that in my city there are 80,000 children who are benefiting from this policy that stems from our budget, which was created in part by the finance minister.
I also want to briefly touch on the notion that comes from across the way referring to the costs to be borne by future generations. As a former mayor, I can say that the cities of Canada are in a desperate situation with a huge municipal infrastructure deficit that they cannot solve through the local tax revenues that they generate. Therefore, what would it be like for our future generations if the roads and sewers were even further incapacitated in the years ahead? In our case, we have just made a significant investment in safe drinking water. These are problems that exist now, and fixing them will be to the benefit of those future generations, so I am proud of what we have been able to achieve.
I will leave it at that for now.