Mr. Yves Robillard (Marc-Aurèle-Fortin, Lib.)
Mr. Speaker, it is an honour for me to address the Chair and our fellow citizens on the subject of the latest budget.
Over the past four years, our government has repeatedly proven that investing in the middle class pays dividends for society as a whole. Once again this year, Canadians can be sure that the government's priorities mirror their own.
Over the past four years, the cause dearest to my heart has been seniors. Meeting the men and women who live in phases I and III of the Domaine des Forges and Manoir Thérèse Casgrain has been such a pleasure and has strengthened my dedication to our fellow Canadians in their golden years. That is why it is an honour to belong to a party that, since 2016, has repeatedly demonstrated its dedication to the well-being of our seniors through measures such as increasing the guaranteed income supplement for seniors living alone and restoring the age of eligibility for old age security to 65.
The concerns of our seniors go beyond that. Many of our young retirees still have a lot to contribute to our society, including by extending their career. We have to reward the efforts of those who have already given so much to our country. That is why I commend the decision to increase the GIS exemption. To all those who continue working after they retire, our government is showing that it stands by them and will protect their place in the working world.
In an ever-changing world where automation and digitization threaten so many jobs, we must be proactive to help those who still have a long career ahead of them. Professional training is a fundamental challenge of the upcoming decade. Whether we are talking about skills development or career change, continuing education will help keep the Canadian workforce at the top. The Canada training benefit is a key step toward that goal. It provides money to workers to pay for training costs.
I know how important our skilled workers are. A few weeks ago, I toured the Mecaer Aviation Group plant located in the riding of Marc-Aurèle-Fortin. It made me realize that the quality of a machine counts for nothing without a skilled worker to operate it. These workers are the backbone of our economy and always will be. Canadians are our government's top priority, no matter what sector they work in, and that will never change.
Besides our economy, health is a central theme in this budget. In the short term, we need to focus on the many Canadians who are still being forced to choose between food and medicine. There is no denying that the path to national pharmacare will be rocky, and we cannot allow ourselves to hasten a process that will change people's lives. That is why I commend the creation of the Canadian drug agency, which represents a decisive step towards fair and equitable access to health for all.
Canadians' health is an urgent issue in the short term, but we also know that the effects of climate change are imminent. Doing nothing now costs more than taking action. The key to a successful ecological transition is to change our consumption habits while maintaining our economic gains. The only way we can afford to make a successful ecological transition is by staying on the path to prosperity that our government put this country on.
Transportation is a key issue because it is both an environmental challenge and a pillar of our economy. Millions of Canadians travel by car every day. With this budget, our government will contribute up to $5,000 to the purchase of zero-emission vehicles and expand the network of charging and refuelling stations for them.
I want to tell all Canadians that I have full confidence that our government will keep Canada on the path to prosperity. Based on the fact that 900,000 jobs have been created and 825,000 people lifted out of poverty, I am convinced that this budget will only improve their daily lives.
Topic: Government Orders
Subtopic: Budget Implementation Act, 2019, No. 1