Mr. Speaker, it is an absolute pleasure for me to stand in this House on behalf of the residents of Davenport, a riding I am very proud to represent, to speak to Bill C-74.
Budget 2018 continues what we have tried to do since we were elected in late 2015 and in our first budget of 2016-17, which is continue to support Canadians, their families, our youth, and our seniors and continue to set up both Canada and Canadians for success moving forward. If I had to summarize, that is really what we are trying to do with this budget. It is a continuation of what we have already been trying to do.
I will focus my comments over the next few minutes on areas where I think budget 2018 is of particular benefit to Davenport. I will start with something that is top of mind for me right now, which is the skills and jobs of today and tomorrow.
I recently attended the Public Policy Forum, where Mark Carney was one of the honourees. He talked about a few things. He said, “Any large period of technological change mercilessly destroys jobs and livelihoods and therefore identities.” He also referenced a number of surveys. He said, “More than 90 per cent of people don't think their jobs will be affected by automation, while CEOs expect the exact opposite.” He also said that everyone will be going back to school and that there is a need to not only go back for lifelong learning but to look at our social welfare system with respect to how we are going to support our population moving forward.
I say all of this because in 2015, in one of the debates during the election, at J.J. Piccininni Community Centre, a 17-year-old asked me how the government was going to protect him and ensure that he has a job, because robots are taking over the jobs he wants to do. My response was that the world is changing faster than ever before, but we have a chance to actually chart our future. I want people to know that our government is seized with this issue. Last year we put a significant amount of money in budget 2017 for skills and training and put far more flexibility into our social welfare system to allow people to train and do all we can to encourage lifelong learning. Whether they want to do part-time studies, are on EI and want to do some retraining, or are in mid-career and want to completely change careers, we have put in a whole bunch of programs.
This year, in budget 2018, we have continued on this track. We have made a historic investment of nearly $4 billion over five years to support the next generation of Canadian researchers. What we are trying to do is invest in some of the areas where there will be future jobs. How will we invest in areas that will create those future jobs and encourage some of those innovations? There is $1.2 billion over five years for Canada's granting councils and research chairs in addition to additional dollars for laboratories, equipment, and infrastructure that researchers rely on every day. We have also put in quite a bit money to support our colleges. I am delighted to see that they are very much at the forefront of creating some of those programs that allow Canadian workers to transition.
We have put in quite a bit of money, $2.6 billion, for entrepreneurship. We want to make it easier for Canadians to do business and for entrepreneurs to more easily access the resources they need to innovate, scale up, create jobs, and reach customers around the world.
I will mention a couple of other things. We are spending some additional dollars, almost $2 billion, to support women-owned businesses, which I think is wonderful, and a whole bunch of programs that are going to help companies innovate and expand right across this country and around the world. We are very proud of that.
I want to move on to the next section, which was at the top of the list in my pre-budget consultations for 2018 in Davenport. People who came out let me know that Canada cannot achieve its potential if 50% of the population is held back. As members know, we have put quite a bit of money into making sure that women have an equal opportunity to succeed in whatever areas they want moving forward. The government is putting gender at the heart of its decision-making and working to help support women and girls, reduce the gender wage gap, and increase the participation of women in the workforce, which will help with economic growth for all Canadians. I am sure members have heard this many times before, but we are very proud of it. It is high time we put some significant money into these areas.
We are finally introducing our gender wage gap legislation, which will be introduced this fall. I was part of that committee. We named the report “Action Now”, because we knew it was a long time coming. Finally, at the federal level, we will ensure that we have pay equity nationally.
We are also putting quite a bit of money into helping women enter the trades and succeed in the trades. There is $20 million over five years for an apprenticeship incentive grant for women. We will see how successful it is and whether we need to put in more money moving forward.
There are a whole bunch of other initiatives around women in the workforce. I mentioned the entrepreneurship program, which would encourage and support more women when starting up and trying to build their businesses.
I should mention the employment insurance parental sharing benefit. I have had a number of parents say that this is a point of pride for them. It allows up to eight additional weeks if both partners raising children decide to take parental leave. It actually allows women, who have traditionally taken more of the parental leave, to go back into the workforce much more quickly. I am very proud of that.
The government proposes to provide $23 million over two years, starting this year, to increase funding for multiculturalism programming administered by Heritage Canada. The budget says that the funding would support cross-country consultations on a new national anti-racism approach. It would bring together experts, community organizations, citizens, and interfaith leaders to find new ways to collaborate to combat discrimination and would dedicate increased funds to address racism and discrimination targeted toward a number of minority groups that we have identified.
I was at the local mosque a couple of weeks ago. One of the congregants came up to me and said that he was having a hard time finding a job, and he was fairly convinced that it was because of his name and not his qualifications. I told him that we have money allocated in budget 2018 for anti-racism and systemic discrimination. I committed to him that I would hold something in our riding with employers and minority groups that feel that there is some sort of systemic discrimination or bias within the system. That is something we can study together to come up with solutions. I am very proud that we have that in our budget.
I also see this as a way of promoting multiculturalism. Fifty-two per cent of Davenport riding residents were born outside of Canada. I have a huge Portuguese, Italian, Hispanic, and Brazilian population. I am very proud of that, and I think they will be very happy to know that this funding exists.
Davenport is very proud of its environmentalism and of our federal government's commitment to achieving the Paris accord targets and to fighting climate change. In this budget we have committed $1.3 billion over five years to protect Canada's ecosystems, landscapes, and biodiversity, including species at risk. We love our nature. We are so blessed to have such a beautiful country, with lots of parks, lakes, and natural beauty. I am very proud to be part of a government that wants to protect it for today and for generations to come. We have also put some money in to make sure that we support the federal carbon pollution pricing system.
Small businesses have told me that they are elated that we are decreasing small business taxes from 11% to 9%. Seniors, in particular, have told me that they are very happy that we are serious about national pharmacare. We have created an advisory committee to look at how to implement it. We are not trying to decide whether we want to move ahead with it; we are trying to decide the best way to implement it across Canada.
I also want to mention that I am very happy with the dollars for border security and the no-fly list, the support for local journalism, the cybersecurity support, and the support for indigenous peoples.