Mr. Speaker, I am honoured to rise in the House today to speak on Bill C-60, a bill that is focused on what matters most to Canadians- jobs, growth and long-term prosperity. Canada has experienced one of the best economic performances among the G-7 countries, both during the global recession and throughout the recovery. Due to our strong economic policies our global reputation is highly respected and admired by countries around the world and has earned us for the fifth year in a row, the soundest banking system in the world by the World Economic Forum.
Bill C-60 will only enhance this strong record with decisive action in all areas that drive economic progress and prosperity. This includes: connecting Canadians with available jobs, helping manufacturers and businesses succeed in the global economy, creating a new Building Canada Plan, investing in world-class research and innovation, and supporting families and communities. Our government understands that while we have a strong economic reputation, we need to remember that Canada is not immune to the instability of the global economy. We need strong leadership and that is exactly what our government will provide with Bill C-60, as I will outline in my time remaining.
Mr. Speaker in my riding of Oxford, manufacturing is a source of employment for many residents and is one of the key engines of the Canadian economy. Since 2006, our government has supported the manufacturing industry by lowering business taxes to 15%, which allows manufacturers to keep more of their money to invest and hire more employees, investing $110 million to double support to manufacturers and other entrepreneurs through the Industrial Research Assistance Program, eliminating the job killing corporate-tax and much more!
With Bill C-60, we are providing even more support for new investments in machinery and equipment for the manufacturing and processing sector. This will be done by extending the accelerated capital cost allowance for two years, which will increase the support for manufacturers by almost $1.4 billion. I know Mr. Speaker this support will benefit manufacturers in Oxford and across Canada!
Mr. Speaker, our government believes in keeping taxes low for all Canadians. Since 2006, we have cut taxes over 150 times, reducing the overall tax burden to its lowest level in 50 years! That translates into a total savings of $3 200 for a typical Canadian family of four!
We are building on these already astounding savings with even more tax relief for Canadians. In Bill C-60, we are eliminating the consumer tariffs on babies’ clothing, sporting goods and exercise equipment. In total this will provide $76 million in tariff relief for Canadians! We are also introducing a temporary First-Time Donor’s tax credit to encourage more Canadians and those who have not donated recently, to give to charities. This will not only help a plethora of charities, but also provide $25 million in annual tax relief! The savings just keep getting better and better under our government Mr. Speaker!
Youth are the future and that is why our government believes in providing young Canadians with the information and opportunities they need to make smart education and employment decisions. Our investments in youth since 2006 have included expanding the eligibility for Canada Student Loans through a reduction in the expected parental contribution, investing over $330 million per year through the Youth Employment Strategy to help young Canadians get the skills and work experience they need to transition into the workplace, and reducing the in-study interest rate for part-time students to zero, saving them approximatlety$5.6 million per year.
In Bill C-60, we are supporting Canadian youth even more by providing funding of $18 million in multi-year support for the Canadian Youth Business Foundation. This foundation is a national not-for-profit organization that works with young entrepreneurs, between the ages of 18 and 34, by helping them become the business leaders of tomorrow through mentorship, expert advice, learning resources and start-up financing. Over the past ten years, the Foundation has worked with 5, 600 new entrepreneurs, helping to create 22 100 new jobs across Canadian communities.
Mr. Speaker, Canadian farmers are the backbone of our country and an important industry in my riding of Oxford. For generations, our farmers have fed Canadians and the world, while providing jobs and opportunities across Canada. Our government has supported Canadian farmers with strong investments and programs since 2006. We have provided over $7 billion to farmers through a new suite of Business Risk Management programs, including AgriStability, AgriInsurance, AgriInvest, and AgriRecovery, over $2.3 billion towards Growing Forward 2, which invests in innovation, competitiveness and market development for Canada’s agriculture sector, $370 million to the hog industry and support for debt restructuring to help sustain the industry, and much more!
In Bill C-60, we are supporting our farmers across Canada and providing $165 million in multi-year support to genomics research through Genome Canada. This funding will enable Genome Canada to launch new large-scale research competitions over the next three years, support continued participation by Canadian genomics researchers in national and international partnership initiatives, and maintain Genome Canada’s operations and the operations of regional Genome Centre and Science and Technology Innovation Centres until the end of 2016-17.
Mr. Speaker, we owe a lot of gratitude to our Canadian veterans who fought with bravery and courage for the freedoms we enjoy today. We will always be indebted to them for the great sacrifices they made. Our government stands up for veterans and that is why in Bill C-60 we are improving the War Veterans Allowance program. This program will provide assistance to low-income veterans of the Second World War and the Korean War, as well as their survivors. Under the current program, a veteran’s total calculated income includes the disability pension provided by Veterans Affairs Canada. The pension is automatically deducted from the amount of benefits available to veterans and survivors under the War Veterans Allowance. Amendments in Bill C-60, will no longer allow the government to take the disability pension into account when determining eligibility and calculating benefits provided under the War Veterans Allowance. Under this government our veterans will be taken care of and never forgotten!
Mr. Speaker, an investment in Canada’s public infrastructure creates jobs, economic growth, and provides a high quality of life for families in every city and community across the country. Canada’s economic prosperity is supported by a network of highways and roads, wastewater infrastructure, transit system and recreational cultural facilities. This network reaches into every community and touches every Canadian. In recognition of the importance of efficient prosperity and quality of life, our government has made significant investments since 2006 to build roads, bridges, subways, rail and much more!
In Bill C-60 we are continuing this support through the Community Improvement Fund. This fund includes $21.8 billion over 10 years through the Gas Tax Fund payments. Currently, at $2 billion per year, we are proposing that these payments be indexed at 2 percent per year, starting in 2014-2015 with increases being applied in $100 million increments. The list of existing eligible investment categories will also be expanded to include: highways, local and regional airports, short-line rail, short-sea shipping, disaster mitigation, broadband and connectivity, brownfield redevelopment, culture, tourism, sport, and recreation.
The fund will also include $10.4 billion over 10 years under the incremental GST Rebate for municipalities to provide communities with additional resources for the maintenance and operation of existing public infrastructure and facilities. Canada’s Gas Tax Fund provides predictable and long-term funding for Canadian municipalities to help them build and revitalize their public infrastructure assets.
Mr. Speaker, I am proud of the investments that our government is making with Bill C-60. I and the residents of Oxford look forward to a speedy passage of Bill C-60 and I strongly encourage all parliamentarians to seize this opportunity of unity in parliament and give Canadians what they deserve and in many cases what they desperately need. Thank you Mr. Speaker.