Speech on Budget 2018

March 21, 2018

Mr. Speaker, I rise today in support of Budget 2018 Equality and Growth.

This budget is an affirmation of the two elements which drive a healthy economy as well as a free and resilient democracy. Equality and Growth.

In his 1961 address to the U.N General Assembly President Kennedy remarked, “Conformity is the jailer of freedom, and the enemy of growth.”

For too long Canada has sat complacent in the face of pay disparity between men and women. For too long has Canada continued the trend of marginalizing indigenous agency.

Mr. Speaker, empowering these groups will not only restore equity, but add fuel to Canada’s growing economy. Which this government and Budget 2018 are prepared to do.

Equality:

Women represent half of Canada’s population, and their full and equal participation in Canada’s economy is essential to our future growth. Removing the systemic barriers to women’s full economic participation will support the economy, and strengthen the middle class.

This must start with equal pay.  In Canada today, women earn 31 per cent less than men do. Put another way, the median income for women is $28,000, compared with $41,000 for men. The reasons behind the gender wage gap are deep-rooted and complex. Closing the gap will require leadership and a comprehensive approach, involving multiple tools.

One of the main causes of the gender wage gap is the undervaluation of the work that has traditionally been done by women. Requiring equal pay for work of equal value is an effective way to fix this gap. To help address this issue, the Government will bring in a legislated proactive pay equity regime in federally regulated sectors, which would apply to over 1 million Canadian workers.

Furthermore, we must encourage women to pursue careers in male-dominated—and better paid—Red Seal trades. And to ensure that women are increasingly able to model leadership to other aspiring female tradespeople, the Government is allocating $19.9 million over five years, starting in 2018–19, to pilot an Apprenticeship Incentive Grant for Women.

We must not repeat the mistakes of the past; Canada must not grow wealthy to the exclusion of indigenous Canadians. We must advance reconciliation. Budget 2018 makes further steps to improve the quality of life of Indigenous Peoples in Canada and supports a new approach to recognizing and implementing Indigenous rights.

The Government proposes to invest an additional $5 billion over five years to ensure that Indigenous children and families have an equal chance to succeed in life, to build the capacity of Indigenous governments, and to accelerate self-determination and self-government agreements with Indigenous Peoples based on the recognition and implementation of rights

To address the funding pressures facing child and family service agencies, while also increasing prevention resources for communities so that children are safe and families can stay together, Budget 2018 proposes to provide more than $1.4 billion in new funding over six years, starting in 2017–18, for First Nations Child and Family Services.

We must also recognize equity between generations, and the duty we have to ensure that future Canadians may enjoy the same pristine environments that we can today.

Canada has committed to conserving at least 17 per cent of its land and inland waters by 2020, through networks of protected areas and other effective area-based conservation measures. Both protected and conserved areas will ensure healthier habitats for species at risk and improve biodiversity

Growth:

Mr. Speaker growing the economy and protecting our environment go hand in hand. To achieve the growth of both our government has taken action.

Responding to the critical and urgent need to take action on climate change, Canada’s First Ministers, in consultation with Indigenous Peoples, adopted the Pan-Canadian Framework on Clean Growth and Climate Change in December 2016.

To support the implementation of this historic national plan, the Government has allocated $5.7 billion over 12 years, including $2 billion for the Low Carbon Economy Fund, to combat climate change.

When Canadians are at the cutting edge of technology, not just Canada but the world stands to benefit. From the invention of insulin to the Canadarm research in fundamental science has contributed to them all. 

This is why the government proposes to make significant new investments to ensure that Canada’s current and future scientists and researchers have the funding and support they need to do their work. Budget 2018 proposes an investment of nearly $4 billion in Canada’s research system to support the work of researchers and to provide them access to the state-of-the-art tools and facilities they need.

Encouraging innovation is essential to secure the fruits of the future economy. But currently the Government provides supports of all types and sizes through a vast and complicated array of programming.

In an effort to make the services provided more responsive to needs of businesses the government has accepted the recommendation by the Advisory Council on Economic Growth. We will be reviewing all innovation programs that serve the business community to promote greater efficiency and business growth.

In January our government launched Innovation Canada to provide a single point of contact for Canadian innovators and entrepreneurs looking to grow their businesses.

Linking businesses with the right programs can mean the difference between success and failure. The Industrial Research Assistance Program is a perfect example. IRAP has helped thousands of Canadian entrepreneurs and small business owners develop innovative technologies and successfully commercialize them in a global marketplace.

To enable IRAP to support business research and development for projects the Government proposes to invest $700 million over five years, starting in 2018–19, and $150 million per year ongoing. This funding will support hard-working Canadian entrepreneurs to create jobs as they grow and expand their businesses.

Protecting and promoting Canadian Intellectual Property is an essential step to promoting Canadian business. To accomplish this goal, Budget 2018 proposes a new Intellectual Property Strategy to help Canadian entrepreneurs better understand and protect intellectual property, and get better access to shared intellectual property. Budget 2018 proposes to invest $85.3 million over five years, starting in 2018– 19, with $10 million per year ongoing, in support of the strategy.

Furthermore, to better enable firms to access and share intellectual property, the Government proposes to provide $30 million in 2019–20 to pilot a Patent Collective. This collective will work with Canada’s entrepreneurs to pool patents, so that small and medium-sized firms have better access to the critical intellectual property they need to grow their businesses.

This is proof that our government is listening to Parliament as this was the third recommendation in the Technology Transfer report tabled by the House Committee on Industry Science and Technology.

Conclusion:

Mr. Speaker our plan is working. The government’s efforts to support equality and growth have yielded clear results. Nearly 700,000 jobs, an ever decreasing debt-to-GDP ratio, and ending 51 long-term boil water advisories on reserve.

While this progress is laudable progress, our work is only beginning.

As Albert Einstein said, “We cannot solve our problems with the same level of thinking that created them.” Budget 2018 breaks the chain of conventional thinking to prepare Canada for success in the 21st Century.

Thank you Mr. Speaker.