Mr. Speaker, I rise today to support economic action plan 2014, which is a focused and admirable budget. Economic action plan 2014, a road to balance, is focused on Canada's future. With 2015 in our sights, the Minister of Finance has crafted a budget to deliver job creation, economic growth, and low taxes, leading to a balanced budget in 2015.
The last five years have certainly not been easy on Canadians. The global economic recession has drastically affected the Canadian economy. Our government worked hard to fight the worst global economic turmoil in almost 80 years by delivering a stimulus package which created Canadian jobs, built infrastructure, and kept us internationally competitive. This government has succeeded spectacularly.
I am proud to say that Canada is now one of only a handful of countries in the world that continues to receive a triple-A credit rating with a stable outlook, from all rating agencies. Canada has the best job creation record of all G7 countries, with over one million net new jobs created since 2009. The OECD has forecast that Canada will outpace the rest of the G7 in growth over the next 50 years.
Our financial sector is flourishing. The head of the International Monetary Fund noted that Canada is “a country with one of the strongest financial sectors in the world [...] Canada can teach the rest of the world about how to build a stronger, safer financial system”.
Our Prime Minister gets it. Our finance minister also gets it and has delivered a strong, stable, and fiscally responsible budget for all Canadians.
I will highlight several aspects of the budget that would affect Ontario, and in particular my constituents in Kitchener Centre. These are strong reasons to support the budget.
The government continues to support innovation in Canada, year after year, and budget 2014 is no exception. Since 2006, the government has delivered almost $11 billion in new resources to support scientific research. In 2013 alone, the government's support for innovation exceeded $3 billion for research and post-secondary education.
Economic action plan 2014 would create a Canada first research excellence fund, with $1.5 billion in funding over the next decade. This would help Canadian post-secondary institutions excel globally in research, which provides long-term economic benefits.
Our post-secondary institutions in Waterloo region will continue to excel as leaders in innovation and research. Canadians have long been leaders in quantum research. The University of Waterloo's quantum research department will receive $15 million in funding over three years, beginning in 2014.
Most exciting is that the budget seizes the opportunities of the open data world. Over three years, $3 million will be provided to the Canadian Digital Media Network for the creation of the open data institute, through FedDev Ontario. With advancing technology, it is possible to sort and filter data to identify opportunities for new products and services. This initiative would be spearheaded by the network, but it will be a collaborative effort with partners, which include Waterloo region's own Desire2Learn, OpenText Corporation, Communitech, and the University of Waterloo.
My constituents are concerned about finding jobs. They also want to make sure they find the right jobs for their skills. That is why the budget would create the Canada apprentice loan, which would deliver access to over $100 million in interest-free loans each year to apprentices in red seal trades.
The government will also launch a job matching service, which will automatically match Canadians looking for work with employers who are looking to hire them. This enhanced job matching service will provide job seekers with modern tools to find jobs that match their skills and provide employers with better tools to look for qualified Canadians. The budget starts with $11 million over two years for this, and adds an ongoing $3.3 million per year to launch this enhanced service.
I am proud of the efforts of women in my community: the entrepreneurs, the executives, and the professionals. Budget 2014 is going to deliver $150,000 across the country to increase mentoring among women entrepreneurs.
Kitchener has its fair share of dynamic young women entrepreneurs in companies such as Pebble, Thalmic Labs, Charity Republic, and MappedIn, but despite these success stories, women are significantly underrepresented as a proportion of small business owners. This budget meets that challenge.
I meet too many talented young individuals graduating from university who are not able to find good employment quickly, so budget 2014 is going to reallocate $15 million annually toward up to 1,000 internships for recent post-secondary graduates in small and medium-sized enterprises through the youth employment strategy.
I want to mention The Working Centre in downtown Kitchener, which I am very proud of. It helps many people find work. Earlier this year, I attended an older workers forum there and spoke with people whose skills need to be updated so they can find employment in a changing workplace. The targeted initiative for older workers, which is run out of The Working Centre as well as other Kitchener institutions, such as Lutherwood and Conestoga College, helps older workers update their skills. Budget 2014, I am very pleased to say, renews the TIOW program for another three-year period, representing a federal investment of $75 million. It is very good news for my community.
As the longest-serving member of the parliamentary Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development, I am proud of this government's investments in Canada's natural heritage. I am happy to say that economic action plan 2014 allocates another $391 million over five years to Parks Canada for improvements to bridges and dams in our national parks and along our historic canals.
My constituents enjoy recreational fishing. With the Grand River winding majestically through the city and the wonderful Great Lakes within driving distance, we all benefit from healthy natural waterways. This budget is going to double the annual funding to the recreational fisheries conservation partnership program. It will provide an additional $15 million over the next two years. This is great news for the Grand River Conservation Authority and great news for those who enjoy fishing.
Finally, we need to talk about families. For an ordinary family of four, the tax burden, since 2006, has been cut by close to $3,400 each year. This gives individuals and families greater flexibility to make the choices that are right for them.
Further help for families is going to come in this budget through the investment of $44.9 million over five years to expand the focus of the national anti-drug strategy. Also, the budget is going to deliver an increase in the maximum amount of the adoption expense credit by allowing $15,000 for further tax relief in recognition of the costs unique to adopting a child. The budget will also permit Canadians leaving a defined benefit registered pension plan to receive a payout equal to the lump sum value of their pension benefits, and there are other beneficial changes.
Canadians need to know that this country is succeeding economically. The OECD thinks so. Fortune 500 companies think so. Our friends in the G7 think so. The world's lenders think so. In fact, the only people who do not want to admit that Canada is doing well are the members opposite, who would prefer to see the government spending more of Canadians' hard-earned money. However, the government is not going to do that today.
I stand proud of the Government of Canada and its plan. I stand proud of economic action plan 2014 and our current path to balancing the budget. I urge all members of the House to put aside their partisan interests and to support the best interests of all Canadians. Support this budget.