Speech on Budget 2018 Implementation Act

April 23, 2018

 

Mr. Lloyd Longfield (Guelph, Lib.): Madam Speaker, I am pleased to stand and support the proposed budget, Bill C-74, Budget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 1, which really has four areas we have been looking at as a government, taking input from across Canada and working with all parliamentarians looking at growth, progress, advancement, and reconciliation. It is a wide-ranging budget that covers all aspects of Canadian society and business, as well as our environmental needs.

This is the first piece of legislation our government is tabling to implement budget 2018. Budget 2018 continues to prioritize the needs of all Canadians. Over the last two years, Canada's economic growth has been fuelled by a stronger middle class. Canadians' hard work, combined with historic investments in people and communities, helped create good jobs, almost 600,000 of those jobs created since November 2015. This budget means more help for those who need it, those who also then go on to reinvest in their families and businesses in the communities in which they live.

Canada has renewed its relationship with neglected researchers, scientists, and universities and colleges, with the largest commitment to fundamental research in Canadian history. We have also reignited the reconciliation process after the scrapping of the Kelowna accord in 2006. As an example of what we are doing in working with our indigenous partners, 57 boil water advisories have successfully been lifted.

Over the last two years, the environment has been at the heart of our policy and is inseparable from our economic success. By protecting our coasts, we protect our fisheries. By protecting whales, we protect one of our great natural inhabitants that share the country with us. Our tax credits for clean energy are helping to generate clean tech jobs, the jobs of the future.

Women represent half of Canada's population, and their full and equal participation in Canada's economy is essential for our future. Removing the systemic barriers to women's full economic participation will support economic growth, strengthen the middle class, and build a fairer society that gives everyone a real and fair chance at success.

The McKinsey Global Institute estimates that by taking steps to advance greater equality for women, such as reducing the gender wage gap by employing more women in technology and boosting women's participation in the workforce, Canada could add $150 billion to its economy by 2026.

Equality in pay cannot be achieved without transparency. In the spirit of transparency, our government will provide Canadians with more information on pay practices of employers in federally-regulated sectors. The government will commit $3 million over the next five years starting in 2018-2019 to implement this pay transparency policy.

As a member of the Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology committee, I was proud to play a role in reviewing Bill C-25, which is an act to emphasize diversity on corporate boards, getting women around boardroom tables to make decisions on behalf of business in Canada.

Canada's economic success rests not only on the hard work of Canadians, but also on strong trade relationships we have in an increasingly globalized world. Canada is, and always has been, a trading nation. Canadians recognize that done properly, trade can be a positive force for change. The ratification of CETA, which began under the previous government, and also the resurrection of the TPP, which is now the CPTPP, reflect the determination our government has to open markets for Canadian goods.

Our government is also focused on rural Canada. Agriculture is at the heart of our rural economies. To support Canadian farmers, we have introduced the Canadian agricultural partnership. I was pleased to sit on the agriculture committee as we reviewed and make recommendation toward this new policy. This program will provide hundreds of millions of dollars to protect farmers and bring new innovative technologies to Canadian farms, while at the same time increasing innovation and public trust.

To make use of new agricultural technologies, farmers need reliable Internet access. The government is investing $500 million to extend high-speed Internet services to rural and remote communities across the country.

Budget 2018 also proposes additional funding of $100 million over five years for the strategic innovation fund, to support low earth orbit satellites, and develop the next generation of rural broadband. These satellites will be going on a north-south route versus an east-west route, which will help our northern communities and our flying communities in northern Canada.

Federal government scientists enrich Canada's research environment, contributing to research focused on the public interest as well as the kind of discovery science that breeds innovation. To accomplish this goal, budget 2018 announces a reimagined National Research Council and proposes to provide $540 million over five years. Coupled with the largest investment in fundamental research in Canadian history of $3 billion, Canadian scientists now have the tools they need to compete with, and to attract scientists around the world.

This budget also advances Canada on the path to reconciliation with indigenous, Métis, and Inuit peoples. Together, we are working hard to improve the quality of life for first nations, Inuit, and Métis peoples, as well as forging a new relationship based on recognition of rights, respect, cooperation, and partnership.

In addition to the $11.8 billion invested in budgets 2016 and 2017, the government proposes to invest an additional $5 billion over five years. This investment will go to ensuring indigenous children and families have an equal chance to succeed in life, to build the capacity of indigenous governments, and to accelerate self-determination, as was announced by the Prime Minister on February 14.

To date we have removed 57 boil water advisories from reserves across Canada. I am pleased to serve as a champion to the Minister of Indigenous Services working on water on first nations. The government also understands that reconciliation entails a new relationship between the government and Canada's indigenous peoples. That is why budget 2018 proposes to invest $8.5 million over two years to work with first nations, to understand how to make the program more responsive to the needs of individuals and families on reserves.

Budget 2018 also continues the important work initiated in 2016 to build a greener and more sustainable Canada. 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, and to advance clean technologies in Canada.

In November 2016, the government also launched a $1.S billion national oceans protection plan to improve marine safety and responsible shipping, to protect Canada's marine environment, as well as to offer new possibilities for indigenous and coastal communities, which is being discussed in the House a lot lately as we talk about pipelines on the west coast.

One example of how these investments can make a real difference in our communities is the energy neutral waste water treatment project at the city of Guelph. Utilizing a whole-of-government approach, both the federal and provincial governments came together with industry and invested $1.5 million in an initiative to make our waste water plant energy neutral.

We are also using research from the University of Guelph, so that partnerships between the research community, the business community, and our governments at all levels really are advancing the clean technology agenda for Canada. Projects like this demonstrate how this type of collaboration and targeted investments build results for Canadians, results that we can share across Canada, and around the world.

I encourage all members of this house to support budget 2018, our equality and growth budget.

Mr. John Brassard (Barrie-Innisfil, CPC)Madam Speaker, if I may be indulged, I will have to ask the pages for a new pen for all of the zeros I had to write down during the member's speech, and the billions and billions of dollars the government will spend.

This brings up an important point. When the Prime Minister and the Liberal Party ran in the last election, their platform talked about four years of deficits. This year, in 2018, they talked about $6 billion in deficits, so we now know it will be $18 billion. In fact, for a generation, there is no return to a balanced budget.
 
With all of the billions of dollars he talked about spending, how can he go back to the people of Guelph who will have to pay for this, the children, and grandchildren of Guelph who will have to pay for the Liberal Party and the Prime Minister's uncontrolled spending?
 
Mr. Lloyd Longfield (Guelph, Lib.): Madam Speaker, it is not surprising to hear the question from the hon. member for Barrie—Innisfil. We have heard this question many times. We heard it during the election, and we have heard it since in all debates in the House.
 
There are obviously two different ways of approaching Canadians' future. One is to invest in Canada, to invest in Canadians, and to invest in research, and the other is to cut budgets to try to get economic growth, which we know did not work for the last 10 years. We now have unprecedented economic growth because of investments we are making.
 
We also have researchers developing solutions resulting in changes for the whole world to benefit from. Investing in Canadians and investing in our future is the way forward. It is the successful way. It is the way we have shown more growth in two years than the previous government did in 10. We are not going to be changing course back to the hack-and-slash budgets of the Harper government.
 
Ms. Sheila Malcolmson (Nanaimo - Ladysmith, NDP): Madam Speaker, my colleague on the government side describes with pride the dollar investments to protect the coast. We hear about the $1.5 billion oceans protection plan. That is a five-year spending program spread over three coasts, and it is being asked to do all kinds of things, such as protecting us from a spill of bitumen in the event of Kinder Morgan oil tanker traffic damaging B.C.'s coast and economy and solving the abandoned vessels problem.
 
Two weeks ago, the transport minister came to Ladysmith in my riding and announced $64,000 to remove abandoned vessels. It is better than nothing, but honestly, given that the previous vessel removal cost $1.2 million, $64,000 is not much. It probably cost him that much just to travel there to make the announcement.
 
Could my colleague please comment on whether he agrees that this feels to us on the coast like a drop in the bucket?
 
Mr. Lloyd Longfield (Guelph, Lib.): Madam Speaker, the project the member is describing shows how the revised National Research Council will be able to help solve problems such as she is describing on the coast. Funds for the ocean, coastal and river engineering programs are being consolidated under the National Research Council technology development advancement program. We will be attracting money from provinces as well as private industry to leverage funds from the federal government. We have to work together with provinces, industry, and researchers to solve some of the major problems we have on our coast, and we are working on that. I am proud of the work we are doing.
 
Mr. Kevin Lameroux (Parliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons): Madam Speaker, one of the issues I like to talk about is the Canada child benefit and the amount of money that is going into communities. It does not just apply to Winnipeg North. It applies to every riding. Literally millions of dollars are being put into support for the children of our communities.
 
Could my colleague and friend provide his thoughts on that?
 
Mr. Lloyd Longfield (Guelph, Lib.): Madam Speaker, it was staggering to see the numbers for Guelph. Some $8.8 million per month is going into our Guelph economy and helping the families of Guelph as well Winnipeg North. The budget will be indexing those funds starting this July, which will give us future growth for supporting families in our communities and supporting local small businesses, which now have customers coming in the door with additional funds to spend on their goods and services. It is going to help our economy as well as our families. It is a wonderful program, and I am very proud to say that we have developed a winner here.