Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to have the opportunity to rise today to speak Bill C-13, the budget implementation act. The bill intends to provide the legislative framework for the budget that was introduced on May 10 to many cheers from this side of the House, but far fewer down at this end.
Ultimately, it cannot be said enough that this is a budget of missed opportunity. After more than 12 years of broken promises from the Liberal government, this was an opportunity to reinvest in the priorities of Canadians. The only real multi-year plan in the budget is for corporate tax cuts. There is no multi-year commitment to child care, education, training or the environment.
The Liberals hid their broken promises behind claims of huge deficits long after the deficit was under control. The Conservatives are now ignoring the $8 billion surplus expected this year, not to mention the $83 billion surplus expected over the next five years.
These surpluses represent a massive fiscal capacity, a capacity to invest, an opportunity to invest. Instead the Prime Minister and the other members of the House chose to squander over $7 billion in corporate tax cuts.
While we pay record prices at gas pumps as prices continually spike, the Conservatives chose to keep the subsidies to oil and gas companies. The people of my riding know that this is a budget of missed opportunity. My constituents see the loss of federal funding for the best start program, which raised hope and expectation for the people of my community that affordable, accessible, child care would soon be available.
At the same time, as less affordable accessible child care spaces are available, working families will see the elimination of the young child supplement and will see the promised $100 per month taxed down to very few real dollars. They see no real money to fight for the environment such as the Hamilton harbour after decades of industrial pollution.
For Stelco and Dofasco workers, who have been through months and years of uncertainty, there are no changes to EI and no new retraining efforts that will help them as the industry continues restructuring and changing to meet the new challenges.
For students at McMaster University and the parents and families who support our youth getting a post-secondary education, the budget does not propose affordability. The Conservative's solution for the post-secondary crisis is an increased opportunity to acquire debt for education, but no investment to lower tuition fees or introduce grants.
Instead of the steps outlined in Bill C-13, we should be seeing a plan for child care that invests in children and their families. Seventy per cent of children under the age of six have a mother who is in the workplace. There are only enough regulated child care spaces for 15.5% of these children.
In my riding of Hamilton East—Stoney Creek, the best start demo project area would have reached out to over 3,000 children and their families. Cancelling the child care agreements with the provinces amounts to a grab back of $3.6 billion in investment in our communities. Between 2005 and 2008, this was to represent an investment of over $93 million in our province alone.
What does the Conservative government budget cost the families of Ontario? It costs $30 million every year, $30 million that could have created spaces that are desperately needed, $30 million that would have been well spent on a partnership with the parents of Ontario's children.
Health care is the number one priority of Canadians, including the people of my community. It has been completely ignored. In the bill there is no investment to start a national pharmacare program, even though in a few short months our first ministers on health are expected to report back on the issue. In a recent series of mailings to my community, a large number of constituents wrote back to me asking for a national pharmacare program.