Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my colleague from Charlesbourg—Haute-Saint-Charles for her speech and for sharing her speaking time.
Like my other colleagues on this side of the chamber, we will be opposing the bill at third reading, and the reasons are many. My colleagues have spoken many times today about the reasons why we will not support the bill.
First, we are with another omnibus bill, 150 pages, 270 clauses. When the Conservatives were in opposition, they railed against the then Liberal government for bringing in budget bills that were smaller than this. However, I have to give them credit. This is actually a pretty trim budget bill for the Conservatives. We have had budget bills from the government that are 300, 400 and 500 pages long, and they contained so many clauses that had absolutely to do with the budget. Unfortunately, this one does too, but just a few less than in previous budgets.
The Conservatives have included retroactively changing the Access to Information Act. We heard the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness talk in the House today about the will of Parliament. The will of Parliament exists after Parliament has voted on something. These changes are to retroactively make changes to absolve the RCMP of responsibility for destruction of documents that happened before Parliament exerted its will. I really cannot find a justifiable reason why any government would put that kind of change in place. It really sets a dangerous precedent.
Suzanne Legault, Canada's independent Information Commissioner, has said that the Conservatives has set a perilous precedent against the quasi-constitutional right of Canadians to know. This is not the first dangerous precedent that the government has set.
Then the Conservatives are slipping in some balanced budget legislation into the bill. We only have to look at the previous Conservative government in Alberta to know what happens to balanced legislation. When the Conservatives do not like it, they just change it.
If the government would have had to deal with this kind of legislation being in place when it came into power, the front bench ministers would owe the Canadian taxpayers over $3 million for all the deficits they have put in. Adding $150 billion to Canada's national debt is something our children and grandchildren will likely have to pay off because of many of the decisions made by the government.
The Conservatives have extended the universal child tax credit and they have talked about how much this would help families. We agree that families do need help, because after almost 10 years of a Conservative government, they are struggling. However, time and time again we have heard the Conservatives say say that we, the New Democrats, would get rid of that. They are not speaking the truth when they say that. We had committed to keeping that money in the pockets of Canadian families because it is true that families are struggling after a decade of Conservative rule in Canada.
We would go well beyond that. We would not just let Canadians have that money back. We would bring in a national child care plan that would create a million new child care spaces in Canada at $15 a day.
The thing that the Conservative and Liberals do not want to tell Canadians is that with both of their plans, it leaves child care costs in Canada sky high and unaffordable for many families. For folks in Toronto, many people have to spend over 30% of their annual income for child care. In Toronto, people pay, on average, between $1,000 and $2,000 a month, $1,676 is the figure that is mentioned. The entire amount the Conservative plan gives back to families is only $1,900. That would pay for a little more than one month of child care for families that need it. What are families supposed to do for the other 11 months of the year?
Many families are unfortunately having to forgo having an income from one of the parents so they will not have to pay for child care. Instead, one of the parents stays home. What does that mean? Families fall further behind, because in a city like Toronto, the vast majority of families need two incomes to make ends meet. If one of the parents has to stay home, that family falls further behind.
It is hurtful to the economy because less people are out there working and making money. Then it hurts the treasury as well because less people are paying taxes and more people need to receive benefits. What the other two parties want to do is completely backward. They are fighting themselves on the wrong issue. What needs to be tackled is the high cost of child care. It is only the NDP that has made a commitment to deal with those high costs.
We do not oppose everything in the budget. As my colleague from Trois-Rivières mentioned, there are several diluted NDP initiatives that are in the budget implementation act. The first one I will mention is the way the Conservatives decided to try cutting small business taxes out of the NDP platform. However, they could not even do that right.
The NDP committed to reducing small business taxes from 11% to 10% to 9% in two years. The Conservatives are cutting them by 0.5% each year for four years. Small business owners will know who they will be better off under. It will be an NDP government because by the time the Conservatives' full tax cut comes into play, they will already have two full years of the full 9% lower tax rate that an NDP government would bring in.
The Conservatives really only have done this because it is an election year. They know that this has been our long-standing position and that we will not support the budget because of ridiculous policies like income splitting, which would only help the top 15% of income earners yet would cost the federal treasury $2.5 billion.
The projected surplus for this year is about $1.8 billion, $1.4 billion, somewhere in that range. It is well below $2.5 billion, which means the Conservatives are adding to the deficit and adding to the national debt to pay for a program that will go to the people who need the help the least. The vast majority of people who can take full advantage of income splitting are in the higher, not lower, income brackets. This is the plan of the Conservatives.
Then there is the doubling of TFSAs. Conservative after Conservative have talked about how 11 million Canadians have opened TFSAs. What they again will not tell us is that out of those 11 million accounts that were opened, less than 30% get filled up every year. They forget to talk about that. They talk about 11 million as if one-third of Canadians are maximizing the current TFSA limits of $5,000 a year. That is not even close. It is less than 30% of the 30% who have opened accounts who are maximizing out the ones that are there.
Canadians need ways to save money for their retirement, but most cannot even put $5,000 a year because they are paying exorbitant costs for child care, or are sometimes paying more to get prescription medication, or the cost of living has gone up. In a city like Toronto less than half of all the working people in Toronto have a full-time permanent job. The vast majority now are working precarious part-time jobs. The situation gets even worse with young Canadians where 13% are now unemployed.
Some shocking statistics came out. Over the last two decades, the last eighteen years, which is nine years of Liberal government and then nine years of Conservative government, minimum wage workers have skyrocketed. The number of minimum wage workers has increased by 94%. They used to make up 3% of Ontario's workers. Now they make up 12% of Ontario's workers. What those two parties have done is sent us to the bottom just to pay for the tax cuts for corporations. Corporations now have more money squirrelled away in the bank than the total size of our national debt. They are not going to invest that money in Canada. They are going to leave it in the bank. That is dead money. It is money that could be used to improve the economy.