Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure to speak to budget 2007, a historic budget that will deliver more funds to Saskatchewan than any other budget.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank the Minister of Finance for an outstanding document and especially for fixing the fiscal imbalance in this country. I would also like to thank the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance, the member for Calgary--Nose Hill, for all her hard work on the budget.
Restoring fiscal balance in Canada will bring federal support for provinces and territories to unprecedented levels. For Saskatchewan this totals more than $1.4 billion in 2007-08. I am pleased that Saskatchewan is the recipient of the largest per capita gains of any province under the new fiscal balance package. This budget contains an extra $230 for every person in our province.
I would like to discuss what $1.4 billion will actually mean to the people of Saskatchewan, and how each and every person's life will improve as a result of last week's budget. There is more support for families. There is more money for health care, more support for seniors, and more incentives for new industry in Saskatchewan.
The most important investment we can make in a country is to help families raise their children. I would like to discuss what this budget will mean for hard-working families in our province.
Let us take Vanessa and Mark Webber and their young farming family for example. Vanessa and Mark are two hard-working Canadians who live just outside of Goodsoil, Saskatchewan. They have two daughters, Kelsey, who is three, and Mia, who is one. Mark is a farmer and Vanessa is currently on maternity leave.
The introduction of the new $2,000 child tax credit alone will save this farm family $620 a year to be exact. Coupled with the new increase in the basic personal amount, this will result in nearly an extra $1,000 per year. Let us also not forget that this family receives $100 per child per month through the universal child care benefit. This universal child care benefit is particularly beneficial to this rural family that does not have access to day care.
As a result of our budget, this hard-working family will have almost $3,400 back in their pockets. This $3,400 will buy clothing, groceries and books for their family. I can assure the House they will not be spending this money on beer and popcorn. They could even put this money toward their daughters' RESPs. As a result of budget 2007, they can contribute as much as they want because there is no longer a limit. This is particularly important for rural families as these children will not have the option of living at home during their post-secondary education. All rural students face this financial burden and easing the restrictions on RESPs will be particularly helpful to them.
This is just one example of how federal money will go back directly into the hands of the people of Saskatchewan. However, this is not all this budget will do to help farming families such as the Webbers.
Saskatchewan farmers will receive approximately $250 million from budget 2007. The government has proposed a separate, simpler and more responsive income stabilization program through the establishment of a new savings account program for farmers.
The amount of $1.5 billion has been allocated toward operating incentives for producers of renewable fuels. This funding will help Saskatchewan farmers by creating new market opportunities and creating value added jobs here in Canada and all over Saskatchewan.
The Webber family is just one of the families in Saskatchewan that will benefit directly from this budget. I am pleased to say that every family will benefit.
I also received a letter last week from one of my constituents, Trent Lalonde of Saskatoon, owner of TA Lalonde Transport Limited. He had this to say about the federal budget:
I have been a truck driver for the past fourteen years, and the recent federal budget is the first and only help I have ever received from any government at any level.... The money I save will afford me the luxury of taking a little more time off each year to spend with my wife and children. Thank you.
The trucking industry will benefit from the budget and so will many other industries. The budget created a $500 million fund for Sustainable Development Technology Canada to support the private sector production of renewable fuels. Iogen, one of Canada's leading biotechnology firms, is seeking $180 million to build a new plant in Saskatchewan and would be a candidate for this funding. Saskatchewan will also benefit directly from the extension of eligibility for the mineral exploration credit.
To sum things up, I could not be prouder of this historic budget, especially for what it will bring directly to hard-working people in Saskatchewan. We have a wonderful province. Had the Conservatives' new equalization system been in place over the last 20 years, Saskatchewan's equalization payments would have doubled from $6.6 billion to $11.8 billion. Fully $1 billion of that increase would have been a result of fulfilling our commitment to exclude natural resource revenues in calculating Saskatchewan's equalization entitlements.
I am proud of what this government is doing for families. This government recognizes that the people and the families of Saskatchewan are what make it such a great province.
As Minister of National Revenue, there are several other budget items I would like to discuss.
Since I became minister, reducing the compliance burden for small businesses has been our priority. I am pleased to see that important steps have been taken in the budget toward reducing this burden.
Throughout the taxation year, businesses are generally required to pay their income tax in regular installments. Budget 2007 will allow small businesses to reduce their number of remittances and filings. These changes will reduce red tape for small businesses and improve cash flow positions for more than 350,000 small businesses.
The filing and remitting requirements for small businesses will be reduced by about one-third and for some small businesses the reductions will be up to 70%. This is a great first step toward reducing the compliance burden on small business. The CRA's action task force on small business issues will continue to provide useful input on how to further simplify the tax system.
This government is committed to a fair tax system, which is why I am pleased that the CRA will be provided with additional resources to strengthen the enforcement of Canada's tax system. Particular emphasis will be placed on complex international tax avoidance cases. In Advantage Canada the government committed to making the tax system simpler and fairer. Budget 2007 delivers on this.
I am asking all opposition parties to look closely at this budget, and before voting, to think what it will mean to all Canadians. We must think of Canada.