Speech to the House of Commons on Budget 2022.
Updated: Jul 28, 2022
Mr. Speaker, it is an honour to rise in the House to
day with the privilege of serving the constituents of Aurora—Oak Ridges—Richmond Hill to speak on the budget: A plan to grow our economy and make life more affordable.
Before I discuss this very solid and progressive budget, I would like to begin by commending all the members in the House who unanimously supported the COVID measures our government brought forward in 2020. It is easy to forget, as we respond to the new challenges we face worldwide, the progress we have made coming out of one of the worst economic crises in our history.
The unanimous support in the House for programs such as CERB, the CBRA and more recently the caregiver benefit and the tourism and hospitality sector benefits have protected Canadians not only from disease but also from the worst of the economic fallout from this pandemic. Every member who supported these measures should be proud of the strong economic position Canada is in today. When we all pull together, we make real progress for Canadians.
Canadians are proud that despite losing over three million jobs since the start of the pandemic, we have recovered not only all of these but added another 300,000, giving us one of the most robust job recoveries in the G20.
My constituents tell me they are relieved and hopeful that our economy is continuing to thrive. Our GDP grew at 4.6% in 2021 and is forecast to continue to grow at about 4% through 2022. Constituents are also encouraged that small business closures were lower and personal savings rates higher when compared with prepandemic times. Again, this is a testament to the programs every member in the House of Commons supported in 2020.
Despite the significant increase in the deficit and the national debt, Canada has continued to maintain a AAA credit rating with the major debt rating agencies.
In budget 2022, we are continuing to protect the safety of Canadians, as COVID still presents challenges, while at the same time focusing on the post-COVID recovery and continuing to implement the platform that we promised Canadians in the last election.
This is a prudent budget in the wake of pandemic spending, but not an austerity budget. We have learned from past experiences that continuing to invest in critical social and physical infrastructure during times of economic uncertainty is wise.
With that in mind, I want to add to the current debate on the budget by discussing two major areas of focus. The first are measures that will make life more affordable for Canadians, in particular moving forward to address housing affordability, the cost of early learning and child care and dental care. The second focus of the budget I would like to address is the measures to preserve and improve Canada's role in the world.
In the first group, we are addressing affordability and continuing to support the middle class and those who are working hard to join it by expanding critical programs, all of which will benefit Canadians across the country and the residents of my riding.
On the housing front, we are proud of the budget 2022 measures to address this crisis. The tax-free first home savings account, and a doubling of the first-time homebuyers' tax credit, will give those young people fortunate enough to be able to save for their first houses a little extra assistance to reach that goal. For those who are not in a position to save for that first down payment, there is support for rent-to-own programs. As well, there are new programs to support our municipal partners in the planning and delivery of housing.
My father, Tom Taylor, was an elected public servant for over 40 years. He served as a mayor for the last 10 years. We have, of course, discussed this budget. The thoughts and experiences he shared with me underscored how important the measures are. We all realize municipal and city officials know their communities best, and control the important zoning and planning functions that are so critical to getting homes built for Canadians.
The accelerator fund and the rapid housing initiative will continue to help municipalities execute their important roles more effectively.
There are further initiatives to end homelessness and expand co-op and other housing programs that are being initiated. Organizations and people in my riding such as Michael Braithwaite at Blue Door, Clovis Grant at 360°kids, Sajida Habib at the Salon Foundation and Lorris Herenda at the Yellow Brick House are just a few examples of those who work tirelessly to help others who need a hand to find a place to stay. We are committed to helping them.
Our goal, as our respected Minister of Finance has said, is to build a Canada where nobody gets left behind. That includes ending homelessness. Of course, there is continued funding for the Canada-wide early learning and child care program. I could say a lot more about this, but I realize my time is being cut short today.
The second thing I really want to talk about is our role in the world, which is so important. In this budget, we see a number of measures that are focusing on our role in the world, both as a partner in promoting world peace and the health of our planet, but also as an economic force contributing to prosperity. Of course, these measures reinforce one another.
For me, the climate crisis is the greatest challenge facing us. Residents in my riding are very concerned with the impacts of this crisis on their communities and our world. There are many measures in budget 2022 to address the climate crisis and to support a transition to a green economy, from incentives to drive electric cars and invest in making our homes more energy-efficient, to protecting our waterways and green spaces and investing in clean tech and energy.
We also know that our commitments to other peoples and nations start with the indigenous people of Canada. We are committed to reconciliation. There is much to be done, but the historic investment of $4 billion over six years to support first nations children through Jordan's Principle takes us another step along this journey.
Lastly, Canada has committed over $8 billion to build our defence sector and to ensure that we are there with our international partners to help maintain peace and world order. We have been there for Ukrainians, providing the support they have asked for, and we will be there to help rebuild Ukraine when it emerges as an independent country at the end of this horrendous and uncalled-for war waged by Putin.
We must be committed allies: strong, secure and engaged. We can and must work together to meet the challenges facing Canadians and our world and to keep Canada a country of which we can be proud.