Mr. Speaker, I will be splitting my time.
I am very pleased to comment on the budget which was presented by the Minister of Finance. As a member of the finance committee, I know that our government has always consulted our citizens from coast to coast to coast. Therefore, this budget was a result of taking all the concerns of Canadians.
As a former university teacher, I am always interested in education. We all know that a post-secondary education is an imperative in today's society and is required for 70% of new jobs created in Canada.
Announced in the budget is a $500 Canada learning bond that will be provided at birth for children in families that are entitled to the national child benefit supplement. This bond is up to $2000 for each child born after 2003. It will save for a child's college education in the future. The government will provide over 20,000 students from low income families with new grants worth up to $3,000 to cover a portion of the first year's tuition. All those things will help.
As well, the government will provide literacy training and essential skills upgrading for workers, measures to encourage apprenticeships in skilled trades, and employer-based training. That will certainly help Canadians to have more skills for job selections.
The budget provides $15 million over two years for a pilot project to provide matching funding for union-based training centres. This funding will be used to purchase new equipment and machinery to meet current industry standards and requirements.
Today Canada is facing an aging population and low birth rates. Canada really needs many skilled immigrants in the labour market, but due to the cultural and language barriers, they need help to develop their new language skills and trying to overcome some of the obstacles.
Last year our government committed to $5 million annually for pilot projects under which community-based partners deliver labour market language training at more advanced levels to help those new immigrants. In this budget we propose to invest an additional $15 million a year to provide skilled immigrants with work-related language training at more advanced levels. Essentially that will enable them to enter the labour market as soon as they can.
This budget also sets aside an additional $5 million per year beginning in 2005-06 for the integration of skilled immigrants and in recognizing the credentials of internationally trained workers.
We all know that many foreign-trained professionals, like doctors, nurses, engineers, teachers and scientists come to Canada, but they cannot utilize their own training. It is a real waste of their trade and skills. Their skills are really needed in the country. It is our government's intention to recognize their foreign credentials so they can better contribute to Canada. We are giving new immigrants very good support and they will be able to take on the jobs in the country.
I would like to talk about the business side. We all know that small businesses and entrepreneurs are really the backbone and the job creators in Canada. In my riding of Vancouver Kingsway, small businesses are in the majority. I know it is so important for them. They are also facing a lot of difficulty and struggle. For them, our budget will accelerate by one year the planned increase in the small business deduction limit. It will be the lower 12% income tax rate applied to $300,000 by 2005.
Also, recognizing the financial losses that are incurred during developing new technologies and the products, the budget will help those innovators to start up small business by extending the non-capital loss carry-forward period to 10 years This certainly will help a lot of newly developed companies that have quite good innovation. It is an important support for them.
In our public consultation, we had also heard Canada really needed a lot of venture capital financing to support and help encourage the new business. The budget will provide $270 for new investments in venture capital financing by the Business Development Bank of Canada, BDC, and the Farm Credit Canada, FCC.
The budget will provide $100,000 for direct investment in new technologies to bring them to the next level of venture capital financing. Another $100,000 will be provided to support the creation of specialized funds that will level additional private equity investment in leading edge technology.
I think all this is very thoughtful, and we heard it many times during our public consultation. I congratulate our Minister of Finance for providing such strong support.
Now I would like to comment on the health area. From having so many extended consultations, including the last year's SARS epidemic, we learned that Canada really needed a new Canada public health agency. There will be $160 million in new money, and transfers of another $400 million from Health Canada, to kick off the Canada public health agency.
Again, I have to congratulate our Minister of Finance. This will be a wonderful thing for Canada.
The new agency will focus on the management of infectious diseases, emergency preparedness and responses, and chronic diseases. We all know this is necessary and essential. It is very important for the public health of Canadians. This is also a national organization that will monitor the big picture by spotting outbreaks quickly and also mobilizing emergency resources to control any infectious diseases. We will also appoint a chief public health officer to oversee the agency and help co-ordinate the national responses during the public health disasters and emergencies.
As a matter of fact, I think in Canada we have a few very good centres to be qualified for such an agency. Of course, as I am from B.C., I would think Vancouver is one very good place to have such an agency.
Overall the budget really focuses on many points, and I just briefly mentioned some, but above all the biggest accomplishment is very obvious.
This is the seventh consecutive balanced budget projected and it is the first time since Confederation that such a wonderful thing has happened. I think it is also one of the best among the G-8 countries. Also, improving the expenditure control and oversight by implementing a comprehensive plan, including the re-establishment of the office of the comptroller general of Canada, is another important thing.
The budget also confirms the payment of an additional $2 billion in health care funding for the provinces and territories in the 2003-04 fiscal year. As part of the government's commitment to provide stable, long term health care funding, cash transfers to the provinces and territories for health and social programs will reach $28.1 billion in 2007-08. That represents an average annual increase of $1.8 billion or 8% per year starting from 2003-04.
Of course as I already indicated, establishing the Canada public health agency is another very important highlight for our country. Also we are speeding up the implementation of the agreement with the provinces and territories to provide better access to affordable and quality child care and early childhood learning. That is very important. I want to offer congratulations.