Budget 2016 was tabled three weeks ago and it takes the first step towards growing our economy for the benefit of every Canadian.
On April 8, I joined my colleague François-Philippe Champagne, parliamentary pecretary to the Minister of Finance, for two post-budget consultations in the riding. The purpose of these meetings was to get feedback on Budget 2016 from stakeholders in different fields of expertise.
At our first round table, held at Université de Saint-Boniface, Mr. Champagne and I met with community representatives in economic development. Overall, Budget 2016 was viewed as an inclusive budget that invests in our future. There was particular interest in the government’s plan to increase investments in innovation and clean technology. We heard that increased investment in a green economy provides more options for business ventures and investment.
Stakeholders shared their thoughts on the need to take research and development successes to market. Budget 2016 provides over $1 billion over the next five years in investments in research and commercialization of new technologies, including up to $800 million to support innovation networks and clusters, and achieve greater impacts for public investments in innovation. More details will be provided in the coming months as part of the government’s upcoming Innovation Agenda.
In addition, the government will invest up to $2 billion over three years, starting in 2016–17, for a new Post-Secondary Institutions Strategic Investment Fund, a time-limited initiative that will support up to 50 per cent of the eligible costs of infrastructure projects at postsecondary institutions and affiliated research and commercialization organizations, in collaboration with provinces and territories.
At the Barbara Mitchell Family Resource Centre on Morrow Avenue, we met with members of community organizations to discuss poverty and housing issues. For those who live in the area along St. Anne’s Road, south of Fermor Avenue, poverty is a very real and urgent issue.
Stakeholders discussed the urgent need for affordable housing, and that such housing needs to be part of a larger community in mixed neighbourhoods. Community representatives also described the desire for an "ecosystem" of community housing, which supports people through training programs and other services. There was also a keen interest in co-operative housing and the important role it can play in community-building.
Budget 2016 proposes to double the current federal funding under the Investment in Affordable Housing initiative, create an Affordable Rental Housing Innovation Fund to test innovative business approaches (such as housing models with a mix of rental and home ownership) and invest in renovations to existing social housing.
In order to help families make ends meet, the government introduced the new Canada Child Benefit (CCB). Hundreds of thousands of children across Canada will be lifted out of poverty thanks to the new, more generous and tax-free CCB. This an important measure that will help provide children a better opportunity at a brighter future. Families in Manitoba will receive $490 million more than before in child benefits during the 2016-17 to 2017-18 period.
Many of you have already written to me to indicate your support of Budget 2016, as well as questions relating to certain initiatives. Your comments are important as we continue to work towards building a better Canada together. You can contact my office at 204-983-3183 or Dan.Vandal@parl.gc.ca