Yesterday, the Minister of Finance Bill Morneau tabled our Government’s second budget. It focuses on innovation and ensuring our modern economy is booming – but it also focuses on ensuring the needs of families and of vulnerable individuals are met.
The biggest investments are designed to help those in need. Our government is investing $7 billion over ten years – to create up to 40,000 new, subsidized child care spaces. These affordable child care spaces for low and modest income families will make it easier for parents to return to work, ensuring they can build a brighter future for themselves and for their children. In addition, our government is making the EI system more flexible for families – who will be able to extend their parental benefits to 18 months, and who will have access to a new caregiving benefit of up to 15 weeks for when they need to support or care for a critically ill or injured family member.
Our government is also committing $11.2 billion over the next 11 years – on top of the $2.3 billion promised over 2 years in Budget 2016 – to ensuring housing is more affordable. I see constituents in my office often looking for help finding affordable housing; I know the need is there. I welcome this incredible investment in ensuring our housing markets remain affordable – and that everyone in need can have a roof over their head. Just a few weeks ago, over $900,000 in funding was announced to support renovations to co-operatives and social housing in Charlottetown. I am proud of our government’s commitment to affordable housing.
Our government is also supporting those seeking to re-train or further their education by making the EI program more flexible for those who go back to school, and by expanding access to Canada Student Grants for part-time students and for those with children.
Budget 2017 also announces funding to ensure our move to clean technology is not just a necessity – but a market opportunity. We have expertise in clean tech on PEI, and our move to make $1.4 billion in financing available to Canadian clean tech firms will undoubtedly benefit the Island. Our bioscience and gaming clusters will also be able to benefit from the new $1.26 billion Strategic Innovation Fund.
Budget 2017 is good news for Prince Edward Island. As the MP for Charlottetown, I am pleased to see a government which recognizes the needs of our most vulnerable while ensuring our economy continues to move forward.