Madam Speaker, what a pleasure it is to rise today and speak about the budget implementation bill.
Today is a very special day in Parliament. Parliament is actually celebrating Vaisakhi on the Hill, so I would like to wish everyone a very happy Vaisakhi.
Vaisakhi is a very important part of the month of April, and here in Canada we celebrate Sikh heritage in the month of April. It does not matter where one goes in Canada; it is important to take a look at the importance of Canada's diversity and Sikh heritage and the contributions they have made to our communities over the years.
Last summer, I had the opportunity to travel to Abbotsford, where we have the first gurdwara, which is still standing. It is a Canadian heritage site. Whether it is in Vancouver, Winnipeg, Toronto, Montreal or out on the east coast, Sikh Heritage Month is a very important month of the year for people of Sikh faith and others who get engaged in recognizing and celebrating Sikh Heritage Month.
Earlier this month, the city hall of Winnipeg recognized Sikh heritage. Just last week, the Manitoba legislature had Turban Day inside the Manitoba legislature, and today here on Parliament Hill, as I indicated, we are celebrating Sikh Heritage Month and requesting people to put on a turban. It is with great pleasure that I put on a turban today.
I think of the importance of the khalsa and the minister providing the service. He posed a question: “What is Vaisakhi to you?”. Vaisakhi to me is very meaningful. It is about equality. It is about the khalsa. Back in 1999, I had the honour and privilege to introduce into the Manitoba legislature a recognition of the khalsa to recognize the importance of it, and just in February, I had the opportunity to travel to India. It is a beautiful country. I went to a few places, like Anandpur Sahib, where the khalsa was born, and the Golden Temple in Amritsar. I must say that at 1:30 in the morning, it is very surreal. When I was there, I could feel a spiritual presence.
The point is that, for me personally, it is all about faith and it is all about equality. It speaks volumes about Canada's diversity. When I think of Canada's diversity, I would suggest it is our diversity that is one of the greatest assets we have in society.
When we talk about the budget and think in terms of where the growth is within our budgetary measures, I believe we will find that Canada, as a trading nation, is very much dependent on world trade. When I think of world trade, I cannot help but think of some of our partners from the past and today, such as the United States, and the amount of trade that goes between our borders. I also think of the number of trade agreements we have been able to accomplish over the last seven years. I believe that as a government, we have signed off on more trade agreements with other countries than any government before us.
India is a vast, beautiful country. Many, including me, would argue it will be an economic superpower in the future. The greatest asset we have here in Canada is indeed our diversity and people, in this case of Indian heritage, being able to look at ways we can enhance trade opportunities. That applies to many other communities. When we talk about diversity, today is Sikh Heritage Month, but we have Portuguese Heritage Month and Filipino Heritage Month, which is coming up in June.
We recognize Canada's diversity, and that diversity shines through in many different ways. It is more than just heritage clothing, if I can put it that way, or traditional wares. It is very much about opportunities, and Canada is laden with opportunities, going into the future, based on trade.
Now here we are with the budget implementation bill, and one would think I would be talking a lot about the grocery rebate. I know the grocery rebate is very important. It is actually incorporated into this legislation. It is one of the ways the Government of Canada is going to be assisting Canadians through a very difficult time.
We talk about inflation, and I have made the comparison in that past when we have talked about inflation in Canada that we are doing relatively well compared to other countries in the world, whether it is the U.S.A., many of the European Union countries or those in the G20. We are actually doing quite well. However, the government recognizes that we could do better to assist the population. One of the ways we would be able to accomplish that is the grocery rebate. That would put money in pockets. The budget implementation bill is there to ensure that we are able to administer the grocery rebate.
The good news is that, as we did not know how long it would take to get through the budget debate, we were able to build a consensus to pass Bill C-46, which would ultimately put in place the grocery rebate. Canadians can look forward to seeing not only that particular piece of legislation pass but the money being sent out.
On Friday, when I talked about one of the more recent announcements, the VW announcement, I talked about a difference, a contrast, between what the Conservatives in opposition believe and what the Government of Canada believes. Over the last number of years, we have put a great deal of effort into building the Canadian economy and supporting Canada's middle class. We have done that in a number of different monetary measures, through budgets, and legislative measures.
Let me give a good example of this that I started to talk about just last Friday. We had the announcement of what will be Canada's single largest factory, where we will be producing and manufacturing electric batteries. It is very much a thing of the future that will provide literally thousands and thousands of jobs. It will provide the opportunity for Canada to become a significant player in the manufacturing of electric batteries for automobiles.
When we look at how the Conservatives here in Ottawa are responding, we see it has not been very positive, even though Premier Doug Ford has also contributed to the plant, not only from a financial point of view but also by building part of the infrastructure that will be necessary. This factory, land-wise, will be hundreds of times the size of a football field. It is going to be gigantic in terms of its footprint in St. Thomas, Ontario. All of us will benefit from it.
The leader of the Conservative Party tweeted not that long ago and said that we do not have lithium mines and do not have batteries being developed. That seems to be the attitude of the Conservative Party, and it does not have to be the reality. The reality is changing because we have a government that has recognized the potential of the industry and the important role that the Province of Ontario in particular has played in the automobile industry. That was no doubt a huge attraction for Volkswagen. We will now see more lithium mining taking place in Canada. We now have an industry that will be able to grow, expand and provide both direct and indirect jobs in the future.
On the other hand, the contrast is that we do nothing. Had we done nothing, we would never have been able to land the Volkswagen deal, and that industry would continue to be dominated by countries like the U.S.A. and China. However, as a result of the Government of Canada recognizing that we can and should be a player, we are now going to see and reap the benefits.
Sure, there is a cost to this. However, that cost will be paid back tenfold in the next 10 years. It is worth the cost. This is an industry that will do exceptionally well, much like the aerospace industry, which we talked about last week. As I made reference to last Friday, all of us, like those in Quebec and my home province of Manitoba, benefit when a province is able to do well.
I am excited about the future because this budget implementation bill is there to support workers, to support our environment and to support consumers. It is there in a very real and tangible way. I would encourage all members to rethink their positioning and look at it as a way forward for Canada that will create middle-class jobs, the good jobs we want in our economy, and that will create opportunities and entrepreneurs well into the future.