Mr. Speaker, I rise today to comment on the amendment to delete clause 181.
When I look at the economic update, I see that corporate taxes will be cut by 7% in the next four years. Members of the official opposition have applauded this because they say that it was actually their idea in the first place and that they should have credit for it.
Let us be very clear that when the government puts this forward and the official opposition applauds it, they are applauding and celebrating the fact that yes, in some resource industries, oil, gas, mining, we do have increased revenues, but it is not taking into consideration other natural resource industries in which communities are devastated.
I speak of the natural resource of forestry, which is also a manufacturing industry. In British Columbia, forestry will not in any way benefit by these tax cuts. There is actually not a lot of forestry to be benefited at all. We have no mills left on the Fraser River in British Columbia because they have all closed. The forests have been devastated by pine beetle and towns and communities have closed. It has not only affected the workers. It has affected their families and their children, who are then uprooted to go somewhere else for a job that their prime wage earner may or may not find, and retraining that they may or may not find, because with the corporate tax cuts, I do not see a major focus on retraining for these workers.
It is another example of the lack of balance pursued by the government. To rate the economy, what steps can be taken? A number of steps were entirely overlooked in this economic update.
What about apprenticeship support? Surely apprenticeship support aids our economy in major ways. In British Columbia, we have jobs we cannot fill. I realize it is hard to say that after listening to the member for Windsor—Tecumseh, whose town is devastated, but we have well paying jobs in British Columbia that we cannot fill because we do not have the skilled workers. We do not have apprenticeship programs for people to learn those skills.
With the coming of the Olympics and all of the development that comes with it: the housing that develops in the communities where the Olympics will take place; all of the creation of the Olympics; the facilities; and simply the visitors that it brings and the facilities they will need, aids the economy enormously.
However, without apprenticeship support, without support for people in trades and technology, those jobs that support our economy will go unfilled or they will be filled by people who do not really have the skills to do the job. In five years time, as we have all seen happen in B.C., we will back in repairing the work because the work originally done was not necessarily done by people who knew precisely what they should be doing.
My constituents in Surrey North cannot afford the private colleges that offer trades and technology. They do not have the dollars for themselves or for their sons and daughters to pay the high tuition fees. This was a superb opportunity to provide support to those young people and those adults who were looking and wanting to have training.
How do we attract investment? I heard people talking about attracting investment to Canada. If companies are asked what attracts them to a country, they will say that they want to move their company or their manufacturing plant to a country that has skilled workers, strong research and development, has a commitment to assisting companies to renew machinery and equipment and is supportive of green companies.
I cannot open my paper from British Columbia without seeing the housing development embracing the building of a home using the green components that we have learned about. Businesses are looking at that as well. What a wonderful opportunity this would have been to invest in green companies.
My colleague from Etobicoke North, who spoke a moment ago, talked about our national infrastructure deficit. I live in Surrey, a city of 400,000 people, and it has for years been one of the most rapidly growing cities in the country.
If the federal government had worked with the provinces and the municipalities, there could have been a vibrant partnership to renew the infrastructure that is virtually crumbling across this country. One part of the Fraser Highway in Surrey needs about $20 million to upgrade but our city does not have that kind of money.
People move to Surrey because there is affordable housing but they often work in Vancouver, Coquitlam or Langley. We need a massive expansion of buses or light rapid transit along King George Highway or the Fraser Highway but it would cost $800 million to TransLink, which is our overall transit organization and we do not have that kind of money.
All those people who want to live in Surrey but work outside Surrey cannot because there is no viable transportation for them. This is because we have a huge national infrastructure deficit and we are ignoring it and we are ignoring it at the plight of all the people who live in our communities and, in this case, in Surrey and in my riding of Surrey North.
The other problem is our investment in human resources. The first investment in human resources that any of us can make is in child care. If there are people who are able to choose and they choose to be home while their children are small, then that is their choice and I support that choice. However, not everyone can do that. The government gives $1,200 a year for infant care. I do not know how much a person would need to make in order to even enter into the workforce to support their family.
What the NDP looked for in this budget was an investment in people and their communities, targeted tax relief and closing the gap between those who have and those who do not, between working women and men who do not have those opportunities and those who do. How do cuts to corporate taxes help those entrepreneurs and small home businesses that actually support our economy? They do not.
From the position of someone living in Surrey and representing the riding of Surrey North, I support the amendment to delete clause 181.