Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise today to speak to Bill C-30, the budget implementation act, 2021, No. 1.
The Liberals claim this budget is focused on finishing the fight against COVID, healing the economic wounds left by the COVID recession and creating more jobs and prosperity for Canadians in the days and decades to come. However, it does not do any of that and does absolutely nothing to secure long-term prosperity for Canadians.
The Liberal government has mentioned that a consequence of COVID has been women leaving the workforce. This is true. COVID forced businesses, small and large, to suddenly shut down. At the status of women committee, we heard from witnesses that women left the workforce for several different reasons. Some left not by choice but because they worked in industries such as retail, travel and hospitality, which were hit the hardest. Others left because of the additional responsibilities of having to become teachers to their kids and caretakers to family members, while for others working from home was just not an option. As well, the committee heard from these witnesses that while many men have returned to the workforce, women have not returned at the same rate.
The government came to the conclusion that the reason for this was a lack of child care spaces and the need for a universal child care package. Again, the committee heard evidence from witnesses that this was not the case. As a matter of fact, we heard that child care centres were closing because there was a lack of children to fill the spaces. Additionally, a universal child care plan is a simple answer to a very complex problem. Under the Liberal plan, all children would be treated exactly the same and day care centres would be identical from coast to coast to coast. It does not take into consideration parental choice and that parents, not the government, are in the best position to make decisions about what is best for their kids.
The Liberal budget also has not taken into account the cultural sensitivities that exist in such a vast and diverse country as Canada. For example, I am of an ethnic background where we strongly believe in the importance not just of ensuring our children get a good education, but of preserving and teaching our culture, language and religion. Canadians do not need a generic program where they drop their kids off and then pick them up at the end of the day. Instead, they need support in their choice of child care, whether that be a day care centre, grandparents or friends who teach their culture, language and values to their children. I have heard from many that, when their children were younger, their grandmas and grandpas would watch them throughout the day. That is where the children learned to do fractions, and that four quarter cups equal one cup, while spending quality time baking delicious cookies and bread their parents enjoyed when they picked their kids up at the end of the day. This is something that is extremely important to my constituents, and this Liberal budget does not achieve that.
The Liberal government's budget also discusses COVID recovery programs, including the wage subsidy and rent relief programs. These programs were necessary at the beginning of the pandemic. The Conservatives fully supported the programs, and even made recommendations and changes to the programs to improve them and ensure no Canadians fell through the cracks. While there were always challenges, and we heard from our constituents about how these programs needed to be improved, I know my constituents were grateful that all parties put their partisanship aside to provide emergency support. However, these programs have made a reappearance in this budget as they are being extended. While most of the country is grappling with an intense third wave of COVID-19, and provinces are once again instituting some of the harshest lockdown policies we have seen thus far, this is all because of the current Prime Minister's failure to protect Canadians.
These programs are only being extended because the Prime Minister failed to take the appropriate actions at the start of the pandemic. Examples include closing our borders to all international travellers, supplying the provinces with rapid testing and securing enough vaccine deliveries in large enough quantities to provide a successful vaccine rollout.
Instead, because of the government's incompetence, many of our frontline workers, many of whom reside in my riding, have only been given their first shot and have been told they have to wait months before they can get their second shot.
Finally, I want to highlight in the budget the focus on gender-based violence in Canada. Since the government was elected, it has constantly talked about gender-based violence and how it negatively impacts women and girls in Canada. On average, one in three women and girls in Canada will face some sort of violence in their lifetime. That is 6,373,325 women and girls.
Each time the Minister for Women and Gender Equality has appeared before the Status of Women committee, I have asked her repeatedly when Canadian women and girls can finally see the government's national action plan to address gender-based violence. What is the answer? The minister always replies by acknowledging this is an important issue that the government wants to address, yet there comes a point when words no longer mean anything if they are not followed through with action.
Every single one of our allies who signed the international agreement that gender-based violence is a serious issue, a pandemic that needs to be addressed, at the same time as Canada did, has already published at least one national action plan. In some cases, they are already working on versions two and three. We cannot even get our first version out. This is why I was pleased to see in the budget the government's plan to address this very serious issue. However, I was completely disappointed that, after years of campaigning and promising from the Prime Minister, the government has only now decided to appoint a secretariat to develop this plan.
There were 161 women murdered last year solely because they were women and just last week in Quebec, they had their 11th woman murdered, a victim of femicide, since February of this year. This is why I have been meeting with stakeholders across this country and working with my Conservative colleagues on how we can effectively and quickly address this ever-growing crime and end violence toward women.
Conservatives have put forward solutions to better monitor individuals with a history of domestic violence and to address sexual exploitation of minors. Conservatives have advocated for giving women the ability to find out if their intimate partner has a history of violence. Canadians cannot afford more empty promises and recommendations that fall on deaf ears, not when the lives of our daughters, sisters, mothers and grandmothers are at stake.
Canada's Conservatives were very clear that we wanted to see a plan to return to normal that would secure jobs and the economy. However, the Prime Minister's budget is a massive letdown for Canadians who were looking for a plan to create jobs and boost economic growth. Conservatives have put forward a real viable plan to help get our economy going again.
Canada's recovery plan is focused on creating financial security and certainty. This plan will safely secure our future and deliver a Canada where those who have struggled the most through this pandemic can get back to work. This plan will ensure that manufacturing at home is bolstered, where wages go up and where the dream of affording a better life for their children can be realized by all Canadians.
Canada's Conservatives got Canada through the last recession and with Canada's recovery plan, we will get Canadians through this one too.