Mr. Speaker, it is an honour and a privilege to speak, on behalf of the people of Fredericton, the riding I have the pleasure to represent, to Bill C-63, the budget implementation act No. 2, which will help us conclude our budgetary measures for 2017.
This bill contains some of the important measures from our government's second budget. These measures are in line with our plan to continue to create jobs, stimulate the economy, and offer Canadians more opportunities to succeed.
In just two short years our government has accomplished a great deal. I hear from people in Fredericton, Oromocto, Maryland, and the Grand Lake region that they like what we are doing. They like the tax cut for the middle class. They like that we have enhanced the Canada child benefit, lowered the eligibility age for the old age pension to 65 from 67, and expanded old age security for low income seniors.
As a result of this government's efforts to ease the burden on our middle class, nine million Canadians are now paying less tax. This tax cut provides about $3.4 billion in annual tax relief to the middle class. Single individuals, who benefit, will see an average tax reduction of $330 every year. Couples, who benefit, will see an average tax reduction of $540. To help pay for this middle-class tax cut, we raised taxes on the wealthiest 1% of Canadians.
We also decreased small business taxes from 11% to 10.5%, and it will drop even further, down to 10% on January 1, and then down again to 9% by 2019.
In the fall economic update, the government announced another enhancement to the Canada child benefit. As a result of this change, an average Canadian family with two children will see about $200 more in the Canada child benefit payments next year and about $500 more in 2019. In New Brunswick, this amounts to 71,000 recipients, with a total investment of $499 million.
The Canada-New Brunswick early learning and child care agreement signed in August will see the federal government invest close to $30 million in improving early learning and child care for pre-school-aged children. By the end of the three year agreement this funding will build a high quality early learning and child care system that New Brunswick families can rely on.
While I am on the subject of supporting families, let me remind the House that Fredericton welcomed more than 500 Syrian refugees, more per capita than any city in Canada.
With an aging population, one-third of which is expected to be over the age of 65 by the 2030s, support for New Brunswick seniors is essential.
During our first year in government, we restored the eligibility age for old age security and the guaranteed income supplement back to 65. We increased the GIS top-up benefit for single seniors by up to $947 per year. We enhanced the Canada pension plan as well.
Budget 2017 further ensures that seniors continue to receive the support they deserve by committing $125.1 million to improve home care for seniors in New Brunswick.
Over the next 11 years, we will invest $3.2 billion to support affordable housing priorities, including initiatives to support safe and independent living for seniors.
Over these 11 years, we will invest an additional $5 billion to establish a national housing fund to help seniors and the most vulnerable.
New Brunswick is the ideal place to rollout bold and transformative approaches that will enable healthy aging. The federal government's $16.6 million investment in the University of New Brunswick's Centre for Healthy Living is an excellent example.
AGE-WELL, Canada's technology and aging network, recently partnered with the New Brunswick Health Research Foundation and Fredericton's York Care Centre to open a new national innovation hub in Fredericton.
AGE-WELL is a network of federally funded centres of excellence that advance innovation in the field of technology and aging in the interest of all Canadians.
The federal government's first health care deal will enable seniors to live longer, healthier lives in their own homes, and reduce financial and administrative burdens on our already over-stretched health care system
As chair of the Atlantic growth strategy subcommittee on innovation, I can assure the House that the federal government is committed to empowering Atlantic Canadian entrepreneurs through innovation. Under the Atlantic growth strategy, the government is taking bold action to create more middle-class jobs, strengthen local communities, and grow the economy. The AGS will enhance and enrich Atlantic Canada's innovation ecosystem.
Recently designated community of the year for startups in Canada, Fredericton has built a well-earned reputation as an entrepreneurial hub and a centre of innovation.
Thanks in part to the University of New Brunswick's essential role, the innovation ecosystem of this city is attracting a larger number of creative entrepreneurs.
In our 150th year of Confederation, as we prepare to once again take on a more active and dynamic role in the world, we are committed to the vision of Canada's new defence policy. To meet this commitment, the federal government is investing in an agile, multi-purpose, combat ready military, operated by highly trained and well-equipped women and men.
Over the next 10 years, defence spending will increase by more than 70%, which means that 5th Canadian Division Support Base Gagetown, Canada's second-largest military base and home of Canada's army, will take on an even bigger role as an economic generator in our local economy.
Earlier this year, I took part in a ribbon cutting ceremony for a new tactical armed patrol vehicle facility, a $26 million investment by this federal government. When we add this $26 million investment to the $38 million investment in critical infrastructure upgrades at Base Gagetown last year, we get a clear picture of just how big an economic generator Base Gagetown is to the Fredericton region and to all of New Brunswick.
This investment in infrastructure is certainly important, but the federal government's investment in the Canadian Armed Forces is even more important.
For example, since January 1, all troops deployed on international operations have been exempt from federal income tax on their CAF salary up to a pay level of lieutenant colonel. This is in addition to existing allowances that compensate for hardship and risk. Other investments include $198.2 million over the next 10 years to implement a new total health and wellness strategy, providing a greater range of health and wellness services and programs.
There is also an increase of $6 million per year to modernize family support programs, such as military family resource centres, and a new 1,200-person Canadian Armed Forces transition group that would help CAF members and their families transition back into CAF following illness or injury, or into civilian life at the conclusion of their military service.
Budget 2017 would continue to improve the lives of veterans by focusing on three important themes: ensuring the financial security for ill and injured veterans, investing in education and career development to help veterans transition into post-military life, and supporting families.
In the 150th anniversary of Canada's Confederation and with Remembrance Day just a few days away, I want to underscore the sacrifices that our women and men in uniform have made in service to our country. We are here because of them, and we will remember them.