Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my hon. colleague from Tobique—Mactaquac, whose family I have known for many years, for sharing his time with me.
As 2016 draws to a close, I would like to thank the constituents of the most beautiful riding in Canada, Gatineau, for giving me the honour of representing them in the House of Commons. I am pleased to take part in this great shift our new government has undertaken. I was struck by what President Obama said recently. He said that the government is like an ocean liner, and not a little motorboat that can turn on a dime.
If the vessel is on course, it will arrive at its destination, although it may take some patience. That is why I am pleased to rise in support of the most recent bill that will bring about the change initiated by the Minister of Finance‘s budget. This is the first step in bringing about the change that will result in a fairer Canada, a more equitable society, dynamic economic growth, and a modern economy.
We have been in power a little over a year now, and we are starting to see results, both across the country and in our communities and our ridings. My hon. colleague for Tobique—Mactaquac painted an excellent picture of what those results look like in his riding. My other Outaouais and national capital Liberal caucus colleagues did the same. We are seeing results in our regions and across the country.
However, there is still a lot of work to do. We promised the public service that we would restore respect and stability, which has been largely accomplished. We often talk with the President of the Treasury Board, and he has our full confidence when it comes to the respectful negotiations currently underway with the public service unions. Public servants have told me that respect and stability are back. All this makes for a healthy local economy.
Parents in my riding can claim the Canada child benefit. This benefit helps the poorest in our society and will lift 300,000 Canadian children out of poverty. It is getting results in Gatineau and across the country.
In Gatineau alone, 10,600 payments are sent out each month, benefiting 18,480 children, and on average, a Gatineau family receiving the new Canada child benefit, free of provincial and federal taxes, will get $520. Under this bill, starting in 2020 these amounts will be indexed to inflation, which will protect them from cost of living increases.
What revolutionary social policy! Not since health insurance and the major social transformations were brought in during the 1960s by Mr. Pearson and the elder Trudeau have we seen such a social transformation as we have today with the Canada child benefit. The money will be going directly to parents and families in our communities.
Because of the investments our government has been making through the Canada 150 community infrastructure program, Gatineau will be hosting Mosaïcultures, which is destined to be the number one tourist attraction in the national capital region in 2017. There has also been an announcement regarding La Vérendrye Boulevard. The City of Gatineau will not be complete until La Vérendrye Boulevard extends all the way to Lorrain Boulevard. Efforts are being made, and I hope that 2017 will bring us good news about extending the Rapibus line to Lorrain Boulevard. Then, we will start considering extending it to the Gatineau airport.
I was very pleased to welcome the Minister of Veterans Affairs. With regard to my first commitment, my commitment to Gatineau, we have a cenotaph that, quite frankly, could use some TLC. Our veterans, members of the Legion, and our serving members cannot be happy about seeing the cenotaph in such disrepair. After discussing the situation with the mayor and the Minister of Veterans Affairs, we were able to announce a significant amount of funding to repair the cenotaph before next Remembrance Day. I am very proud of that, and more importantly, so will the people of Gatineau.
My colleague from Argenteuil—La Petite-Nation went to Thurso and Masson-Angers last week, and he had every reason to be proud. Thanks to his hard work and the support of his colleagues in the Outaouais, he was able to announce an incredible investment from the Minister of Natural Resources to modernize the forestry industry in the Outaouais.
Our region was built on the forestry industry. The pioneers who founded our cities and towns came here to work in the forests and build huge industries, exporting industries that have innovated. The investments that my colleague from Argenteuil—La Petite-Nationannounced last week signal the next phase, a new era for the Outaouais forestry industry. I am sure there are more investments to come.
Like many Canadian cities, ours had a social housing shortage. My colleague from Quebec City, the Minister of Families, Children and Social Development, listened to people and created a plan that enabled us to announce new housing developments and, most importantly, break ground for new social housing construction projects. We invested in community organizations that fight homelessness.
The fact that our government is doing things differently means greater social equity that will help create social infrastructure and strengthen the social fabric of our cities and towns and our ridings. This will pay off later. This will ensure that our children will benefit, learn, be full citizens, contribute economically, and feel valued. That is why this shift, this change in government, is good for the people of Gatineau and good for Canadians.
We want Gatineau and Quebec to think big. We want Gatineau, as the fourth largest city in Quebec, to step up. We want to start working on meeting these serious needs. With Ottawa, we are the fourth largest city in Canada. We want to be more integrated, to coordinate our transit with Ottawa’s transit. We want to be partners in economic development. My colleagues from the National Capital Region and I will continue working together thanks to the decisions made today in the House, specifically to approve the investments planned in our first budget and in all future budgets.