Mr. Speaker, as we gather here to debate the merits of the 2017 budget, let us recognize that we are here on the traditional territory of the Algonquin people. It is a meeting place of first nations, Inuit, and Métis peoples. It is also the national capital of all Canadians.
This budget is about investing, not just in traditional budget items like bridges and roads, but in people, because they have become la raison d'être. They are the most important thing in this budget.
As I was rereading the throne speech from December 4, 2015, I read the words of Governor General David Johnston, which state:
First and foremost, the government believes that all Canadians should have a real and fair chance to succeed. Central to that success is a strong and growing middle class.
We can see that this budget goes a long way to deliver on that ideal. It makes a great difference in the lives of many people. For instance, we are significantly boosting federal support to provinces and territories by $2.7 billion over six years to help more unemployed and underemployed Canadians access the training and employment services and supports they need to find and keep good jobs.
We are also investing $225 million over four years to identify and fill skill gaps in the economy to help Canadians be best prepared for the new economy.
Also, there is the Canada caregiver credit, which is a new credit that will provide better support to those who need it the most, and will be given to caregivers whether they live with their family members or not. It will help families with caregiving responsibilities. This new Canada caregiver credit will provide tax relief on an amount of $6,883 in 2017 in respect of expenses for care of dependent relatives with infirmities, including persons with disabilities.
The forces of inertia, of immobilization, of standing still, of 10 years of darkness characterize what happened in the past decade of the ancien régime. It may give voice to an opposition, but as the Governor General has said on December 4, 2015:
Let us not forget...that Canadians have been clear and unambiguous in their desire for real change. Canadians want their government to do different things, and to do things differently.
Budget 2017 proposes to increase financial support for Canada's clean technology sector by making available more financing to clean technology firms. Nearly $1.4 billion in new financing, on a cash basis, will be made available to help Canada's clean technology firms grow and expand.
Budget 2017 also proposes to invest $400 million over five years, starting in 2017, to support projects that develop and demonstrate new clean technologies, that promote sustainable development, including those that address environmental issues, such as climate change, air quality, clean water, and clean soil.
Budget 2017 also proposes to adopt clean technology in Canada's natural resources sectors, with $200 million over four years, starting in 2017, going to Natural Resources Canada, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, and Fisheries and Oceans Canada.
This is not all. In housing, budget 2017 proposes to invest more than $11.2 billion over 11 years in a variety of initiatives designed to build, renew, and repair Canada's stock of affordable housing, and help ensure that Canadians have affordable housing that meets their goals.
I think about the 1,500 homeless people who I find in my riding. They are asking for housing not just in the suburbs, but in their neighbourhood where they can receive supports so they can be successful as well, where they do not have to end up in a prison or the emergency wards taking up valuable resources, but where they can find the resources that society should provide them and they can be housed and healthy as well.
This is what our plan and our budget propose to do.
Our Governor General goes on to state:
Because it is both the right thing to do and a certain path to economic growth, the government will undertake to renew, nation-to-nation, the relationship between Canada and indigenous peoples, one based on recognition of rights, respect, co-operation and partnership.
This is perhaps one of the greatest budgets we have ever seen for indigenous peoples, and perhaps for all Canadians, $828.2 million over five years to improve health outcomes for first nations, Inuit people, and communities, including mental health services. The opposition should be excited about this.
In education, we have invested $165 million over five years to support post-secondary education and skills training for indigenous peoples. We have also increased funding to the post-secondary student support program by $90 million over two years beginning in 2017. There will be $25 million over five years to Indspire. This will fund bursaries and scholarships for 12,000 Métis, Inuit, and first nations youth in our country, ensuring they can get the education so they can build communities, their families, and a life they deserve.
It is not even done. There will be $18.9 million over the next five years and $5.5 million every four years thereafter to support indigenous youth and sport programs. When we have crises in many of our communities among our youth, we need to ensure they are healthy. To be healthy, they need to do sports. We need to ensure they are active, that they have good mental health. We know from empirical studies that if we are active, our mental health is often better.
That is not all. There will be $225 million over the next 11 years to improve housing for first nations, Métis, and Inuit people who live off reserve; $4 billion over 10 years on social and green infrastructure funding to build and improve infrastructure in first nations and inuit communities; $21.4 million over four years to support the development of renewable energy projects in indigenous and northern communities that rely on diesel for electricity and heating, by continuing the northern responsible energy approach to community heat and electricity programs. That is good for the environment because diesel is not a clean fuel. We need to ensure people have access to clean technology.
There will be $83.8 million over five years to integrate traditional indigenous knowledge of our elders, to build better understanding of climate change, and inform adaptation actions and to enhance indigenous community resilience through infrastructure planning and emergency management. In communities where even the risk of flooding has not been truly evaluated, we will ensure we can evaluate it so if there is flooding or environmental change, we can do it in a good way.
There will be $26.4 million over five years, starting in 2017, to support indigenous collaboration on climate change and $18 million over five years to implement a climate change and health adaptation program for first nations and Inuit communities, including support for surveillance and monitoring activities, risk assessment, laboratory diagnostics, as well as health profession education and public awareness campaigns.
One of the things I love so much about the budget is the fact that we are starting to talk about culture. Culture is so important to me as a traditional indigenous person. There will be $89.9 million over the next three years to preserve, protect, and promote indigenous languages and cultures. That warms my heart. When I go to my sun dance, I can look my brothers and sisters in the eye and tell them that this Canada will represent them and will ensure they have a place in our country.
There will be $25 million over five years to launch a pilot indigenous guardians program, a program which I supported in the finance committee and ensured was in our pre-budget report.
There will be $250 million over five years to renew and expand Pacific and Atlantic integrated commercial fisheries initiatives and to augment indigenous collaborative management programming.
There will be $8.6 million over four years to develop the indigenous tourism industry. So many of our young people do not have the education they need, but they often have skills. It might not be a diploma, but perhaps they know to do a very good powwow dance. They can entertain people, but they never get paid for it.
There are so many things we can do.
I remember a story about a man I met just last weekend at a powwow, Gordon Kent. He has been homeless for many years, and it was very hard for him. It would have been easier if he had received these supports earlier on. He would have been able to get off of the streets and his drug addictions. I met him at the powwow where he was dancing, where he was trying to rehabilitate himself and become a better person. The thing he wants to do most of all is to ensure that our young people do not follow the path that he chose, that they can choose the good path right when they are young, so they can look to him sometimes to see what not to follow, but what they should do later on in life. This budget is truly for Gordon. Hopefully, we will be successful for many more of our young people.
Tapwe akwa khitwam hi hi