Mr. Speaker, I will be be sharing my time with the member for Don Valley West, the parliamentary secretary for foreign affairs.
I will start off by saying that it is great to be back in the House to have the opportunity to speak on the floor. I am extremely pleased to speak to the Speech from the Throne, which was introduced two days ago, primarily because of the vision that it sets moving forward. It reflects on where we have come over the last six to seven months and where we need to go in the future.
It is worth pointing out that these have been incredibly challenging times for many Canadians. The economic impact and personal impact on so many Canadians have been devastating. In fact, the economic impact of COVID-19 is recorded as being worse than the 2008 financial crisis. That is why, as I indicated in a question I asked, I am extremely pleased to see the work that has been done by the federal government.
I am from a riding in Ontario, and in Ontario the federal government has stepped up, as it has in every province and territory throughout the country. It has contributed, and not just in a manner that, as the Bloc would suggest, is top-down, but in a manner that has meant working with provincial and territorial leaders throughout the last six to seven months. As we heard the Prime Minister say yesterday, there have been 16 or 17 first ministers meetings since the pandemic began, in addition to all the individual calls and outreach from the federal government to the provinces.
Indeed, what we have seen in Ontario is that 97% of the money spent on COVID-19 relief has come from the federal government. That is not to say that the federal government, as the Bloc would suggest, has been top-down, requiring that money be spent on this or that. A massive amount of the money that has gone to the provinces is to be spent at their discretion within specific areas of concern.
As we look forward, which is what the Speech from the Throne is about, we look forward to the actions we are going to see this government take if the Speech from the Throne is adopted. What I am most interested in talking about today is the action we are looking forward to taking on climate change and how that is going to impact our economy, broadband connectivity throughout the country, and long-term care homes and our approach to long-term care more generally. I am glad the Bloc member raised the topic of long-term care in her speech a few moments ago, because I would like to counter some of the claims the Bloc has made on the national care standards. However, I will first talk about taking action on climate change.
This government is proposing to legislate a goal of net zero by 2050, bringing this ambitious goal into legislation within our country so that in everything we do we strive to achieve it. How will we do this? This will be done, as indicated in the Speech from the Throne, through a number of incentives.
First of all, we can create thousands of jobs by retrofitting homes and buildings using cutting-edge technologies to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions and reduce costs that Canadian taxpayers and homeowners are experiencing.
We will invest in reducing the impacts of climate disasters. As I am from where Lake Ontario meets the St. Lawrence River, I can tell members that we are seeing erosion problems from the rising lake levels. Both in Kingston and on the islands that I represent, there have been extreme problems. Big Sandy Bay, which is a popular beach on Wolfe Island, an island I represent, has been completely closed on a number of occasions over the last few years because of rising lake waters that have wiped all the sand from the beach.
Another thing we will be doing, as indicated in the Speech from the Throne, is making zero-emission vehicles more affordable. We are at that tipping point where zero-emission vehicles, electric vehicles, are ready to take off as the new norm, and we are seeing that. We have seen massive growth. Something like 7% or 8% of vehicles being purchased throughout the world today are electric.
There will also be a new fund to attract investment for making zero-emission products, and we will be cutting the corporate tax rate in half for these companies to create jobs and make Canada a world leader in this clean technology.
As we move toward this, we cannot be left behind. We need to be at the forefront of this. We need to be at the forefront of these technologies so we can reap the rewards and gains that will come as they become mainstream and the norm throughout the world.
One issue that has become extremely important and apparent over the last six to seven months is broadband connectivity. I live in an area that is considered semi-rural. Kingston has a population of 124,000, but the vast geography of my riding is actually rural, including the two islands in the riding. One does not even have to go that far outside of the city of Kingston to see the issue. In fact, I live off Highway 2, and we immediately start to lose connectivity there.
As more people are working from home, which will probably continue for many people into the foreseeable future, we need to make sure people have a connection to the Internet and the connectivity they need to continue to work. It is not just for entertainment value that we need the Internet in this day and age. It is for getting work done. It is for people working from home and these constant video conferencing calls people are having. It is for the e-commerce that happens.
Connectivity is extremely important, and that is why I was very pleased to see the government announce that it would accelerate the timelines and ambitions of the universal broadband fund to ensure that all Canadians have access to the Internet throughout this country.
I will move now to long-term care homes. The Bloc has mentioned long-term care homes on a couple of occasions over the last day or so. It is important that we develop national long-term care standards, and I will tell the House why. It is not so that the federal government can somehow dictate to the provinces how they have to operate with respect to national standards, because it is never going to happen like that. The reality is that our Constitution clearly states who has jurisdiction and authority over what areas.
What we do know is that the provinces have jurisdiction when it comes to health care, for the most part. The reason we need these standards is not to tell provinces what to do, but to create national standards throughout the country that provinces and jurisdictions can look to for advice. This is a way of working with provinces.
I would argue to my friends from the Bloc that this is not anything radical or new. As a matter of fact, our building code works that way. We have a national building code in Canada. This does not mean that any of the provinces have to take up that particular piece of legislation. In fact, two do not. Ontario and Quebec do not use the national building code. They have their own. However, guess what? If we look at the two documents, they are almost identical. That is because provincial documents are quite often informed by the national document, the document compiled by looking at various different ways of doing things from throughout the country.
My understanding of national long-term care standards is that they should be something very similar to that. We should set national standards that the provinces can then look to for advice on how to go about making sure people in long-term care homes are taken care of. Why is this so important? Very clearly, we know certain facts. I tried to use data in asking the Bloc member a question, but he did not respond, so I will give the House some data.
What we know in terms of COVID-19 outbreaks is that 30.6% have happened in for-profit homes, 34% in not-for-profit homes and 24.8% in municipally run homes in Ontario. What is most alarming is that, according to a Toronto Star report in May, for-profit nursing homes were four times more likely to have COVID-19 deaths result from those infections.
We know there is a problem, but we also know there is one particular area doing very well: the municipally run homes in Ontario. Why would we not look to develop standards everybody could work toward?
In conclusion, I am extremely pleased with this Speech from the Throne. It sets ambitious goals as to what we can do to protect our environment and grow the economy in this new age, with clean tech.
We have the opportunity to work on our long-term care homes and to ensure they are the best they can possibly be. Of course, as I indicated in my speech, talking about connectivity and connecting Canadians is also extremely important.