Mr. Andrew Saxton (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance, CPC)
Mr. Speaker, I want to say to the hon. member that we understand, as a government, the importance of investing in our young people. That is why we are doing precisely that.
I invite the hon. member to take a look at the numbers. I think he will find that the evidence is clear and overwhelmingly supports the actions our government is taking.
Although I hope the hon. member is aware of the difference between federal and provincial jurisdiction, if he had done his research, he would understand that tuition rates are in fact a provincial issue. If he would like to discuss high tuition rates and bigger taxes, I suggest he speak to his premier, Kathleen Wynne.
I am happy to say that Canada's economic action plan is working for students.
Consider the following. Economic action plan 2015 proposes to provide $184 million over four years, starting in 2016, to expand eligibility for Canada student grants to students in short duration programs. The Prime Minister made that announcement in my riding of North Vancouver. Expanded eligibility for the low- and middle-income Canada student grant is expected to help approximately 42,000 additional students per year.
Economic action plan 2015 proposes to provide $119 million over four years, starting in 2016, to reduce the expected parental contribution under the Canada student loans program needs assessment process, making it easier for students to get those loans. The reduction of the parental contribution in the Canada student loans needs assessment is expected to provide increased support to approximately 92,000 students.
Economic action plan 2015 proposes to provide $116 million over four years, starting in 2016, to eliminate in-study student income from the Canada student loans program needs assessment process. We were asked by students to do this, and we are now doing it. The elimination of the in-study income from the needs assessment is expected to increase loan amounts for an estimated 87,000 students.
In case the member opposite was not listening, let me repeat those three important points. First, expanded eligibility for the low- and middle-income Canada student grants is expected to help approximately 42,000 additional students per year. Second, the reduction of the parental contribution in the Canada student loans needs assessment is expected to provide increased support for approximately 92,000 students. Third, the elimination of in-study income from the needs assessment is expected to increase loan amounts for an estimated 87,000 students.
No government has done more than ours to help students. At the same time, we have shown that we can do this in a fiscally responsible manner. We have balanced the federal budget, and we want to help students balance theirs. That means staying true to our commitment to keeping taxes low and supporting families, as we have done year after year since taking office.
Now that our fiscal house is in order, our new challenge is to ensure that the gains we are seeing are truly long-term and sustainable. We need to stay the course to protect the economic interests of Canadians and the security of Canada. Through a series of specifically targeted measures, we are laying the underpinnings of a strong and robust economy.
In case the member was wondering, we are not just helping students short term, either. We will help students stay on top of labour market information to find jobs that are aligned with their particular skills and abilities. We will spend $14 million a year on a new survey that will provide accurate information on demand and wages by occupation and region.
The worst thing we could do for students is follow the NDP/Liberal plan to increase taxes. Our low-tax plan is working and creates jobs for students through trades, training, and tax cuts.
Here is our record. We ended the Liberal practice of taxing scholarships and replaced it with a tax credit for textbooks. Student loan debt has declined by 10% in real terms. We created apprenticeship grants and loans, and over 500,000 have been given out.
Those are just some of the things we have done for students. There are many more I could list, but I see that my time is up.
Subtopic: Post-Secondary Education