Mr. Speaker, it is not easy having to raise my voice in order to be heard at times.
We have a Prime Minister, a government, and at least one caucus within the chamber that understand the importance of having an ambitious agenda and a productive chamber. That is what we have voted for today, recognizing that there is a need at times to put in a few extra hours. That is what Canadians expect. I believe Canadians would be disappointed with both the official opposition and the New Democrats for their behaviour in voting against having the extended sitting time.
It is an aggressive agenda, and this is nothing new. Whether it is in a provincial legislature or here on Parliament Hill, often parliamentarians are asked to extend sitting hours in the month of June in order to get the job done. What I have seen this afternoon from opposition members is disappointing, but that is okay because when I am back at home I will reaffirm to my constituents the significant amount of effort and work we have been able to accomplish even though the opposition did not want to sit those extended hours. We will continue, because at the end of the day we recognize the importance.
In terms of an aggressive agenda, let me highlight a couple of reasons why we need to extend the sitting hours. A legislative agenda deals in two parts, from my perspective. One is budgetary matters. The other is legislative matters. There is a full agenda on both accounts.
When we look at budgetary measures and what the government has been able to achieve in a relatively short period of time, I believe Canadians would welcome the type of productivity we have seen from the Government of Canada. We can start off by listing a few of those items that started just 14 or 15 months ago when we had a budget that saw the largest single decrease to middle-class income tax in recent history. Hundreds of millions of dollars were put back in the form of tax cuts to Canada's middle class and those aspiring to be a part of it. We saw a special increase in tax for Canada's wealthiest. On the tax break for the middle class, the Conservatives voted against it. On the tax increase on Canada's wealthiest, the NDP voted against it. One has to wonder what they are thinking.
Going further into the budget, we have the Canada child benefit program, which I have talked about on numerous occasions. It is lifting tens of thousands of children out of poverty. Do I need to remind the House how the Conservatives and NDP voted? Once again, they voted together saying they did not want to see that happen.
We had the guaranteed income supplement increase for seniors, again lifting thousands of seniors out of poverty in different regions of our country. Once again, the opposition voted against that.
Then we have one of the most significant investments in Canada's infrastructure that we have ever seen. It has been very interesting. The opposition we are getting from that does not make sense. Canadians understand. They want a government that is going to invest in our infrastructure. By investing in our infrastructure, we are creating opportunities for jobs and for communities to be developed and move forward. We see day after day the Conservatives and NDP taking exception and criticizing the types of expenditures. These are historic levels of infrastructure dollars being spent.
I sit behind the Minister of Infrastructure and Communities and I am so proud of the way he is handling the issue of the infrastructure bank that is a part of budget 2017. We need to put into perspective that we are investing more in infrastructure than any other government. At the same time, we are putting aside additional money for the creation of an infrastructure bank. That is over and above, and that is something I believe Canadians would welcome.
There are some municipalities and provinces that will be able to take advantage of that. When those municipalities and provinces are able to do that, we will see more money being created for some of our smaller communities, as the Minister of Infrastructure and Communities talked about in regard to the $2 billion delegated to rural municipalities. Again, this is something that is completely new, something that Stephen Harper never thought of. We did not see that commitment.
I believe in the last week or so we have had more infrastructure projects approved than the previous Conservative government did in four years. This is a government that is committed to action, because we believe in Canada's middle class. We understand that, to support our middle class and those aspiring to be a part of it, we have to invest in Canadians, we have to invest in the infrastructure. That is something this government is prepared to do.
We have legislation on which I look forward to hearing debate. Today, for example, we are talking about the legalization of marijuana. I heard the naysayers in the Conservative Party demonstrating just how out of touch they are with Canadians. I am glad and grateful that the NDP members seem to be offside with the Conservatives on this, and it would appear they will support us in having the bill go to committee. I applaud them on breaking their voting patterns with the Conservatives, and I look forward to having some ongoing support on this particular issue.
Let there be no doubt that, when we talk about that one piece of legislation—and I am looking forward to the debate—it is time we recognized that something needs to be done. Today we have more young people engaged with cannabis than any other country in the developed world. The status quo has been a total and absolute failure, and yet we have the Conservative Party asking what is wrong with that and who cares if we have the worst record in the developed countries. They are not prepared to do anything on the issue.
We in government are saying that is not good enough. We have faith in our young people and we believe that the time for change is now. After all, we have talked about real change, and this is a government that will deliver real change. We have seen that on numerous pieces of legislation. That is not to mention the air passenger bill that is being proposed and so much other legislation that we want to debate, and I look forward to seeing that debate in the coming weeks.