Madam Speaker, my esteemed colleague and seatmate, the member for Berthier—Maskinongé, is a tough act to follow. Since he was a teacher, he knows that repetition is the key to success, and that is what we need to do. My husband, who works in advertising, would say the same thing, so that is what I am going to do today.
It is with excitement for the end of the year that I rise today to speak to Bill C-30 at report stage. Many of my colleagues and I have said it before, so the House already knows that the Bloc Québécois will vote in favour of this bill to implement certain measures in the 2021 budget.
However, as the Bloc Québécois critic for seniors, I want to remind the House that we first voted against budget 2021 because the federal government was not responding to our two main requests, which remain essential.
Before the House adjourns for what might be an indeterminate period of time, I want to reiterate those requests. First, the Government of Quebec and the Canadian provinces are formally requesting adequate, recurrent health funding. Second, seniors are calling for an increase in old age security for those aged 65 and up, a request brought forward by the Bloc Québécois.
The government continues to ignore Quebec's request. I know because I recently met with many elected members and employees at the National Assembly of Quebec, who speak to me about this regularly. This is a unanimous request from the provinces, Quebec, the National Assembly, and even the House of Commons, which adopted a Bloc Québécois motion last December that called on the government to significantly and sustainably increase Canada health transfers.
The government refuses to increase the current level of health transfers from 22% to 35%. Instead, Bill C‑30 offers only a one-time increase in health transfers, as announced last March. At the time, I showed that the amounts were clearly insufficient.
In this speech, which will quite probably be my last before the summer break, I will address our key requests for health and for seniors, as well as our requests for businesses and business owners. I will finish with a few wishes for the future of this Parliament.
The Bloc Québécois has made sensible choices in the best interest of Quebeckers. The deficit announced in budget 2021 is lower than expected: $354 billion instead of $382 billion. The difference happens to be $28 billion, the exact amount that Quebec and the provinces are asking for. With the government clearly gearing up for a massive spending spree, by refusing to increase transfers, Ottawa is making a political choice, not a budgetary choice, to the detriment of everyone's health.
The saddest part, however, is that Bill C‑30 is strictly an election budget. It merely repeats the Liberals' 2019 campaign promise to seniors to increase old age security, but only for those aged 75 and over and by only $766 per year, or $63.80 per month. This increase, which will not take effect until 2022, is not enough for seniors or for the Bloc Québécois. More importantly, it leaves those aged 65 to 74 out in the cold, which is practically half of the current beneficiaries of old age security. Let us also not forget the one-time $500 payment to made in August 2021, also only to those 75 and older.
That is why I continue to keep talking about our support for seniors. The Bloc Québécois will continue to demand a substantial increase, namely $110 more a month, for all seniors aged 65 and over. We do not accept the Liberals' argument that financial insecurity begins at age 75 and that younger seniors can just go to work.
For that reason, I am currently sponsoring petition e-3421, which was put online by Samuel Lévesque on behalf of his grandparents. Several seniors' groups have also sent letters in support of this request that comes from the entire House, except the Liberals, who continue to be isolated.
Ottawa is not doing as we asked and is creating two classes of seniors. Seniors' groups and seniors want to know why only seniors 75 and older are getting this increase and why it only starts in 2022. There are testimonials posted on FADOQ's web site showing that the lives of seniors 65 to 74 can also be difficult, and that they have needs that cannot wait until they turn 75.
For the Liberals, vulnerable people 65 and over do not deserve their attention. For the Liberals, insecurity only begins at 75. Naturally, we are not against the idea of a good number of seniors, about 50%, receiving the help they need, which is what Bill C‑30 would do.
In terms of the economy, I am elated to know that Bill C‑30 has finally rejected the foundation for creating a pan-Canadian securities regulatory regime, which the Bloc Québécois and Quebeckers strongly opposed. I would like to congratulate my colleague from Joliette for this important win and his hard work on this file. Ottawa could not be allowed to centralize securities regulation in Toronto. This is a big win for Quebec.
The Quebec National Assembly adopted four unanimous motions calling on the federal government to abandon this idea. Seldom had we seen Quebec's business community come together as one to oppose a government initiative. A strong financial hub is vital to the functioning of our head offices and the preservation of our businesses.
As we have seen with the pandemic, globalized supply chains are fragile and make us entirely dependent on other countries. We must develop our own chains and restore economic nationalism. Some measures in the budget are good, and we support them and support implementing them. For example, the budget will extend some essential, albeit imperfect, assistance programs, such as the wage subsidy and rent relief, until September 25, 2021. This is a positive because businesses, especially the ones back home that made good use of these programs, need some predictability in the programs they will have access to in the coming months. I should point out that this extension comes with a gradual decline in the amounts provided, which is a concern.
The Bloc Québécois will ensure that our businesses have access to programs that meet their needs for as long as they need them, particularly in the sectors that will take more time to get back to normal, such as tourism and small- and large-scale live events. These sectors are very important to Shefford, which relies on Tourisme Montérégie and Tourism Eastern Townships, and, of course, on many cultural events, such as the Festival international de la chanson de Granby. I could go on.
The bill also introduces some measures to combat tax evasion, but it does not go far enough. The government is presenting these measures as a massive campaign against corporate tax evasion, but in reality, these are just some highly specific, minor changes connected to ongoing litigation. The fight against tax havens will have to wait, even though it is a very important aspect of building tax fairness to enhance social justice.
Another thing to highlight is the creation of a new hiring subsidy program for businesses that are reopening. It could be useful. Bill C-30 would create this new program to encourage businesses to rehire their staff. We know that the hiring subsidy will come into effect in November 2021. Businesses will then have the choice of applying for either the hiring subsidy or the existing wage subsidy, whichever works out better for them. These are measures that could be very useful.
Since my time is running out, I will try to cover everything quickly. I have a wish list. I would have liked to see more investments in social and affordable housing in this budget. This problem continues to affect my riding in particular, especially the city of Granby, which is otherwise considered a great place to settle down. Businesses in my region are experiencing a labour shortage and need housing to attract workers with families so they can try to recruit them, but they have nowhere to house them.
There are also some bills that will not receive royal assent. That really saddens me. I would have like to see the Émilie Sansfaçon bill passed to allow people who are suffering from a critical illness to have 50 weeks of leave instead of 15 weeks. It is a matter of recovering with dignity.
I would have also liked to see the House pass my colleague from Manicouagan's Bill C-253 regarding pension protection and for it to receive royal assent. People who worked hard their whole lives have the right to enjoy the fruits of their labour. This bill would help them age with dignity.
I would have liked a budget with more support for our farmers. That is so important in my riding, which is part of Quebec's pantry. I would have liked to see a greater willingness to help the next generation of farmers. I want to point out that, right now, farmers are suffering because of frost and a lack of precipitation. They need better risk management programs and more precise traceability programs. Farmers are also feeling the effects of climate change.
I would have also liked to see tougher environmental measures for a greener recovery. For example, the government should invest just as much in forestry as it does in the oil industry. My Bloc Québécois colleagues and our political party established a comprehensive plan to focus more on renewable natural resources to get out of the crisis and to drive our regions' economies.
In closing, I would like to add one last thing. It goes beyond the budget, but as the status of women critic, I cannot give my last speech before the summer break without mentioning the crises that have been affecting women in particular since I arrived in the House. We commemorated the 30th anniversary of the École Polytechnique attack, but the issue of better gun control has still not been resolved because too many people are not satisfied with Bill C‑22. Femicides are on the rise. There have been 13 just since the beginning of the year. Quebec is calling for transfers with no conditions and fewer delays to provide better funding for women's shelters. Quebec knows what to do. There are also the cases of assault in the Canadian Armed Forces. The Deschamps report needs to be implemented.
In short, there is still a lot of work to be done. Let us reach out to one another and work together. The federal government's paternalism and interference needs to stop. We need to take action. There is still so much to be done.