Madam Speaker, I will be sharing my time with the member for Fredericton.
I will begin by saying it is such an honour to address the House today on the Speech from the Throne. I want to once again thank the constituents of Davenport and all the friends, family and volunteers who were so generous with their time and energy in ensuring my success in the 2019 campaign.
Davenport is an amazing, vibrant riding in the downtown west end of Toronto, and I cannot put into words what a privilege it is to be re-elected as the member of Parliament for Davenport. My highest responsibility is to serve Canadians, and I hope to always do my constituents and our country proud. In fact, it is a privilege and responsibility for all of us who work in this great chamber to address key issues facing Canadians today and to do all we can to create an even better Canada, ensuring Canadians are ready and have the tools to address the challenges and opportunities of today and tomorrow.
The throne speech mentioned the long history and the many differences in Canada, and the enduring stability and progress of our Parliament despite those differences. Canada, as we know, has three founding nations. Our country originated on the talents and values of our first nations and aboriginal peoples, as well as the settlers from Britain and France. At times in our history, relationships among the three groups have been contentious, to say the least, but as we evolved, our governments always found ways to compromise, collaborate and move forward toward a fairer and more just society.
Generations of immigrants to Canada from all over the world have only made our society richer and stronger. My riding of Davenport has Canada's largest Portuguese population, many of whom arrived over the same few years decades ago, but there are also people of Italian, Hispanic, Brazilian, South Asian, Middle Eastern, Chinese and Ukrainian descent, just to name a handful, all living together in the same wonderful community. I am the daughter of immigrant parents from Ukraine and Mexico, and I know as well as anyone the disagreement and beauty that come when cultures meet. We have had some of those arguments in my house, but at the end of the day, we are all family.
I want to turn my attention to the key priorities mentioned in the Speech from the Throne that are so important to Davenport residents.
I heard so much at the doors during the election campaign in October 2019. The first priority I want to touch on is environment and climate change. I would say this is the top preoccupation for most residents in Davenport. They were absolutely delighted to hear that we are already spending around $63 billion and have over 50 climate actions under way right now. They were also happy to hear that we have made a commitment to net-zero emissions by 2050 and that we will be studying legally binding five-year milestones based on the advice of experts and consultants. They know that in order for us to move to net zero by 2050, we will have to exceed our current 2030 targets. They were really happy to hear about the just transition act, because we want to make sure we give those working in high-emissions industries access to the training, support and new opportunities they need to succeed in a clean economy. A number of groups in the Davenport community have already met with me to say that this continues to be the key priority for them and Davenport.
I want to mention the promises about energy-efficient homes and lower energy bills that we made in our platform. I mention this point because many Canadians want to feel that they are taking their own steps to combat climate change in order to move us into a low-carbon economy.
What we promised in our platform and mandate letters is that we are going to give homeowners and landlords free energy audits. This, to me, is a game-changer. This would allow homeowners and apartment dwellers to take their own steps in order to reduce their energy bills, increase their energy efficiency and lower their individual emissions. We have also made a commitment to retrofit 1.5 million homes to help Canadians make their homes more efficient. This is wonderful.
I will mention a couple more things on the environment, because the environment is important for Davenport residents. We promised to protect 25% of Canada's land and oceans by 2025. We have the longest coastline in the world, one-fifth of the world's fresh water, and vast and wild forests. Our ecosystem depends on all of this for its survival, and our quality of life will depend on it moving forward.
My riding is also delighted with the ban on single-use plastics that will begin in 2021, but we know we have some more things to do. Davenport residents are very much looking for a full plan on how our government is going to ensure that we reach our Paris accord targets. They are also looking for the systemic changes that we need to make, such as perhaps putting all of our spending through an environmental lens, and various other systemic changes that we should be looking at moving forward.
I will turn to the second top issue that is preoccupying Davenport residents. That is housing.
Many people have owned homes in my riding for 20, 30 or 40 years, and they are starting to wonder how they are going to continue to be able to live in Davenport. They are older. They want to sell their homes. They want to, as seniors, continue to live in downtown west Toronto. They want their kids to live close to them. They are really happy with a number of the measures we are taking in order to ensure affordable housing moving forward.
We have already made a huge commitment to the national housing strategy, putting $11.2 billion over 11 years to build, renew and repair Canada's stock of affordable housing. We have also taken some steps for those who are new buyers. In our platform and the throne speech we said that we are going to improve our first-time homebuyer incentive, which will give people up to 10% off the purchase price of their first home. We have also increased the qualifying value of a home to $800,000. In places like downtown Toronto, unfortunately houses are that expensive, so we need to provide some additional support.
I have a lot of confidence that with these measures I have mentioned and other measures we will be introducing or have introduced, we will continue to ensure that people who want to live in our cities will be able to do so affordably.
I will move on to seniors, because I have so many of them in my riding. They are so wonderful and engaged, and they want to continue to be active citizens. We, as a federal government, want to help them to live affordably and to have a good standard of living. They were really happy with three key things in our platform that we had promised.
The first is that they do not have to pay taxes on the first $15,000 of whatever income they earn. They were pleased to hear about our commitment to increase OAS by 10% for those who are 75 years of age and over. They were also really happy with our promise to increase the survivor benefit by 25%. That is going to help 1.2 million more Canadian seniors to live more affordably in Canada.
In my remaining time I will talk about arts and culture. We have such a rich group of artists, creators and those working in the cultural industry in Davenport. I told them that our national government cares about them, and what we want to do is make sure there is more support and more funding to create and support Canadian content in Canada. We have made a strong commitment to impose a tax on foreign-based Internet platform providers to fund the creation of cultural content in this country.
I think everybody knows the importance of arts and culture to us as a nation, to getting a better understanding of each other and who we are in all of our complexities. It is a way for us to be able to share our joy, our pain and our way of understanding the world around us, not through words, but through pictures, dance and every way possible.
There are other commitments to health care, immigration and community safety in the Speech from the Throne that are really important to Davenport residents and that we are really happy about. We are in a minority government, and I still believe that we, as a minority government, can do great things. What we have to do is continue to listen to Canadians. We have to be willing to compromise and we have to never forget that we are here to serve Canadians.
I will end with a quote from our Prime Minister, “Canadians are counting on us, and this plan is a path forward for everyone. We have common ground and shared purpose. Together, we can and we will overcome the challenges of today to build a brighter tomorrow.”