That this House approve in general the budgetary policy of the government.
Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 83(1), I would like to table, in both official languages, the budget documents for 2023, including notices of ways and means motions.
The details of the measures are contained in these documents.
Pursuant to Standing Order 83(2), I am requesting that an order of the day be designated for consideration of these motions.
Canada's economy has made a remarkable recovery from the COVID recession. Last year, Canada delivered the strongest economic growth in the G7. There are 830,000 more Canadians working today than when COVID first hit. We have recovered 126% of the jobs that were lost in those first months, compared to just 114% in the United States.
When we announced a Canada-wide system of affordable early learning and child care in our 2021 budget, we said that it would create new economic opportunities for mothers all across Canada and thus greater prosperity for all of us. It worked. I am so proud to say that last month the labour force participation rate for Canadian women in their prime working years hit a record high of 85.7%. That is feminist economic policy. Therefore, today there are more Canadians with good jobs than ever before.
Putin and the pandemic drove up inflation around the world. Central banks have responded with one of the fastest and most synchronized monetary tightening cycles since the 1980s.
Today, here in Canada, inflation is coming down. Inflation has fallen for eight months in a row, and fell to 5.2% in February. The Bank of Canada predicts it will drop to just 2.6% by the end of this year.
In February, the average wage for Canadians went up by 5.4%. That meant paycheques outpaced inflation, which meant more money in Canadians' pockets after a hard day's work—from coast to coast to coast.
However, we all know that our most vulnerable friends and neighbours are still feeling the bite of higher prices. That is why our budget delivers targeted and temporary inflation relief to those who need it most.
For 11 million Canadians and Canadian families, a new grocery rebate will help make up for higher prices at the checkout counter—without adding fuel to the fire of inflation.
What all Canadians want right now is for inflation to keep coming down, and for interest rates to fall. That is why the budget I have tabled today will ensure that Canada maintains the lowest deficit and the lowest debt-to-GDP ratio in the G7.
We are making sure the very wealthy and our biggest corporations pay their fair share of taxes, so we can afford to keep taxes low for middle-class families and invest in our health care system and social safety net.
Canada is a country of peace, order and good government. We have strong institutions and a resilient financial system that is the envy of the world. Our country has a proud tradition of fiscal responsibility. That is a tradition we are determined to uphold. We are refocusing government spending while taking great care not to reduce the services and direct support Canadians rely on.
By exercising fiscal restraint, we are ensuring that we can continue to invest in Canadians and in the Canadian economy for years to come, just as we have done since 2015. We know that investments in Canadians are also investments in our economy. This is what the U.S. Secretary of the Treasury, Janet Yellen, has referred to as “modern supply-side economics”.
We are investing in housing, because our economy is built by people and people need homes in which to live. We are investing in Canadian workers so they have the skills they need and can travel to where the jobs are. We are investing in a stronger immigration system and welcoming record numbers of skilled workers to Canada to support our growing businesses. We are also investing in affordable child care for families from coast to coast to coast, so that more Canadian mothers no longer have to choose between their family and their career.
Investments in housing, skills, immigration and child care are not just social policies. They are economic policies.
Health care is another one of those policies, so today we are delivering the comprehensive $198-billion investment in public health care that the Prime Minister announced last month.
From helping every single Canadian find a family doctor to tackling the unacceptable backlog of surgeries and combatting the opioid crisis that has devastated so many of our families and our communities and has taken so many lives, we will ensure that Canadians receive the care they need. We will ensure that every Canadian can rely on a world-class, publicly funded, universal health care system, one that is deserving of its place at the very heart of what it means to be Canadian.
Just as we are reinforcing the public health care system we have today, we are also expanding its reach. Since December, our investments have helped more than 240,000 Canadian children receive the dental care they need.
Let us just think about that: 240,000 Canadian kids. Maybe their parents could not take them to the dentist before. Maybe their teeth hurt. Maybe they missed days at school. It is so important.
That is why today I am so proud to announce the creation of a new Canadian dental care plan. By the end of this year, by the end of 2023, we will begin rolling out a dental care plan that will eventually cover up to nine million uninsured Canadians. This will mean that no Canadian, ever again, will need to choose between taking care of their teeth and paying the bills at the end of the month. It will mean that one cannot tell the size of someone's paycheque by their smile.
These are significant and necessary investments, because a strong and effective public health care system is essential for a strong and healthy Canadian workforce. We need a strong and healthy Canadian workforce now more than ever because, as we wrestle inflation to the ground, Canada must also navigate two fundamental shifts in the global economy.
First, in what is the most significant economic transformation since the industrial revolution, our friends and partners around the world, chief among them the United States, are investing heavily to build clean economies and the net-zero industries of tomorrow.
At the same time, Putin and the pandemic have cruelly revealed to the world's democracies the risks of economic reliance on dictatorships. As a result, our allies are moving quickly to friendshore their economies and build their critical supply chains through democracies like our own.
Together, these two great shifts represent the most significant opportunity for Canadian workers in the lifetime of anyone here today, including our most senior and respected members of the House.
This is not hyperbole or mere turn of phrase. When President von der Leyen stood in this House earlier this month, she said that she wants Canada and Europe to “join forces for the climate, for our economies” and to end what she called Europe's “dangerous dependencies” on authoritarian economies.
When President Biden stood in this House just last week, he told us that we are at an “inflection point in history”. He said that we had all learned the hard way that just-in-time global supply chains make us vulnerable. He urged us to work together to build a shared future where Canada and the United States can “anchor the most competitive, prosperous and resilient economic region in the world.”
These are our closest friends. These are our steadfast democratic allies. These are our two greatest trading partners. Like so many of our friends around the world, they need the expertise of Canadian workers, the ingenuity of Canadian businesses and the resources that Canada has in such fortunate abundance.
Today, and in the years to come, Canada must either meet this historic moment—this remarkable opportunity before us—or we will be left behind as the world’s democracies build the clean economy of the 21st century.
So we will fight for Canadians, and we will fight for Canadian businesses. We will ensure that Canada seizes the historic opportunity before us. We are going to build a clean electrical grid that connects Canadians from coast to coast to coast, protects our environment, and delivers cleaner, more affordable electricity to Canadians and Canadian businesses.
We are going to make Canada the very best place in the world for businesses to invest, because that means more vibrant, prosperous communities, and more good careers for Canadians.
Canada has free trade deals with countries that represent two-thirds of the global economy. We are going to make Canada a reliable supplier of clean energy to the world, and, from critical minerals to electric vehicles, we are going to ensure that Canadian workers mine, and process, and build, and sell the goods and the resources that our allies need.
We are going to make sure that the unions who built the middle class can continue to thrive, and we are going to make it easier for Canadian workers to learn the skills they need.
When the Government of Canada buys things from other countries, we are going to make sure that those countries offer Canadian businesses the same access that we give them.
We are building big things here in Canada, from a Volkswagen battery plant in Ontario to the Galaxy Lithium mine in Quebec, to the Trans Mountain expansion in Alberta, to the Atlantic loop, to the LNG terminal in Kitimat, B.C.
Our plan means good-paying jobs, good careers for everyone everywhere, from our biggest cities to our smallest towns, from Toronto, Ontario, to Peace River, Alberta, for our auto workers building electric vehicles and our bus drivers who drive them, for our skilled tradespeople, expanding our clean energy grid and building thousands and thousands of affordable energy-efficient homes, for our miners and energy workers powering Canada and the world, for our health care workers and teachers, who make our communities thrive, for our farmers and fishers, who feed Canada and the world, for our incredible service workers, who are as essential today as ever.
Our plan is good for our forestry workers, for our climate scientists, and for our environmental biologists, for our engineers designing hydrogen plants and SMRs, and for our computer scientists who have made Canada an AI superpower.
Our plan is good for indigenous peoples building major projects and sharing in the prosperity they create, for our new generation of small business entrepreneurs dreaming up solutions to the challenges of the 21st century and for their hard-working employees providing for their families all across our great country.
As I travelled across Canada over the past year, I met a lot of incredible hard-working Canadians.
Jeff is an electrician who lives in Etobicoke with his wife Cheryl, an ICU nurse. They are proud of their jobs and proud of the family that their jobs have made it possible for them to raise. As Jeff said to me, “I've got the skills to pay the bills.”
Léonard, a software developer in Quebec City, who codes charging stations that are used from San Diego, California, to Happy Valley-Goose Bay in Newfoundland and Labrador.
I met two young union women. To Nicholle in Oshawa, who will start her first electrical placement this week, I would say, “Well done, Nicholle.”
Kayla, who I first met in Edmonton and then again in Calgary, teaches apprentices to weld and she gave me a couple of lessons too.
I have met potash miners and early learning and childhood educators. I have met scientists and innovators, and the longshore workers and the truckers who keep Canada's economy moving.
All across Canada I have met people who value the same things: a good career that pays them well for doing work they are proud of; the ability to live with dignity, to be who they are, to love who they love and to be judged on their character rather than what they look like or where they were born; the belief that if they work hard they can afford to raise their children and launch them into an even more prosperous future; and the conviction that because they live in Canada, by birth or by choice, every single day represents a new fresh opportunity.
That is what this budget invests in: the possibility for every single Canadian to share in the remarkable opportunities that Canada provides and in the new era of prosperity that we will build together.
The brave people of Ukraine have reminded me, I think they have reminded all of us, that we must never take our freedom and our democracy for granted. We have the power to shape our country's future and we must always be sure to use it.
What a gift it is to call this remarkable country our home. Canada is a land filled with good, hard-working people, people who do big and important things. It is because of us, the people of Canada, and the big and important things we will do in the months and years to come that I have never been more optimistic about the future of our great country than I am today.