Mr. Speaker, I would like to share my time with my colleague from Brampton East.
On March 22, Canadians witnessed real change with the tabling of the budget by my colleague, the Minister of Finance. As a member, a businesswoman and a person involved in my community, I can only be delighted at a budget that leaves no one behind. Seniors, families, workers, entrepreneurs, and job creators all have been presented with a budget of opportunities and above all a budget of compromise and openness. I say compromise because there is one thing we Liberals understand. We have two ears and just one mouth. As a mother of four, this is something I have often said to my children. The logic goes something like this: you have to listen twice as much as you talk. In other words, we have understood that we have to engage citizens in public affairs and listen with one ear to their concerns, but with the other to their ambitions, their dreams, and their goals for both themselves and their community. That is why the finance minister and his parliamentary secretary toured Canada from sea to sea to listen to Canadians. I want to underscore this leadership and this openness.
The choice that our government made on March 22 is thus perfectly in line with the concerns of Canadians. For my part, together with my parliamentary colleague from Thérèse-De Blainville, I held a pre-budget consultation with some 50 local stakeholders who let us know their concerns and their ambitions for Rivière-des-Mille-Îles. We welcomed their ideas and we recognize that interest rates are really low. The time has come to invest in our infrastructure, in the environment, and above all in our people.
During the election campaign, we proposed to Canadians that we invest in them. As a result, we form a majority government that knows for a fact how Canada’s economic wheel turns. Its gears are the middle class. That is why we brought in a middle-class tax cut that will benefit nine million people. That is how to walk the talk. It is also important to point out that when the middle class has more money in its pockets, all the players in our economy benefit, including our small and medium-sized businesses that work hard all year long.
In my introduction, I raised a concept that is important to Canadians, just as it is to the people of Rivière-des-Mille-Îles. That is the concept of opportunity.
Better is always possible.
That is why we are proposing a massive investment in infrastructure: $3.4 billion in public transit and roads, $5 billion in green infrastructure, and $3.4 billion in social infrastructure, including affordable housing and seniors’ housing.
I can confirm that this money is being very well received by the people in my riding, even though Rivière-des-Mille-Îles already has affordable housing, especially in Saint-Eustache and Deux-Montagnes. Municipal officials now feel as though they are being heard. Their concerns have been heard, and now they will have dedicated funds for the renovation and construction of social and community infrastructure. Furthermore, this infrastructure plan will enable me to complete, in co-operation with my counterparts in the Quebec National Assembly, the work on highways 13 and 19, as well as the broadening of highway 15 to include a public transit lane from Blainville to the Montmorency subway in Laval.
As a government, we note that a strong economy can go along with a better environment.
As I was saying, as a mother of four, I want to leave a clean environment for future generations. Therefore, starting in 2016-17, $62.5 million will be made available to support the deployment of infrastructure for alternative transportation fuels, including charging infrastructure for electric vehicles. This measure is fully responsive to a recommendation made in the pre-budget consultation in my constituency on January 29, when local economic stakeholders made us aware of the cost of charging stations.
This is a direct measure that allows us to move forward on the electrification of transportation. After all, this is 2016.
Yes, Canada is back.
People will remember 2016 as the year when our colleague, the Minister of Families, Children and Social Development , proposed a real reform for families in Rivière-des-Mille-Îles and Canada. Budget 2016 will lift 300,000 children out of poverty thanks to a universal Canada child benefit.
It is therefore quite correct to say that this is not only a sizeable reform, but also the biggest federal social measure in a generation. In tangible terms, it will provide an average of $2,300 more per family per year. What is more, this money will now be non-taxable.
When Canadian families have resources, the entire country does better. It is therefore not abnormal to see another major measure for seniors in budget 2016. We know that seniors were worried in the weeks leading up to the tabling of the budget.
I was able to sound out the seniors in Rivière-des-Mille-Îles, not just during the pre-budget consultations, but also when I went to meet with them. However we are proving once again that no one is being left behind in this budget. It is our responsibility to ensure that a quality retirement is available for our seniors, who worked hard to build the Canada we have today.
I am therefore very pleased about the increase in guaranteed income supplement benefits for our seniors. Not only have we lowered the retirement age from 67 to 65, but a senior citizen living alone will receive an average of $947 more each year. This is an important measure to ensure the financial well-being of elderly people.
I am proud of the measures in budget 2016. I am certain it will benefit the Lower Laurentians region and my constituency of Rivière-des-Mille-Îles. The families, seniors, and middle-class workers in my riding have been heard, and the budget provisions not only address their concerns, but will also restore their self-confidence.
I am very hopeful and confident regarding the people of my region, their aspirations, and their dreams. Together, we will build the Canada of tomorrow.