Remarks by the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance on Investing in our Small Businesses and Making Life More Affordable

Speech

Grand Pré, Nova Scotia - August 5, 2022

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Let me start by acknowledging that we are gathered in Mi'kma'ki, the ancestral and unceded territory of the Mi'kmaq People.

I am so happy to be here with my wonderful colleague, Kody Blois, in beautiful Grand Pré.

I really want to thank the Stutz family for welcoming me here and for showing me the work that goes into running this incredible vineyard and this incredible business.

I really believe that small businesses—small, entrepreneurial family-run businesses—are the heart of our communities, they are the heart of our country, they are the heart of our economy. And spending some time here seeing the innovation, the passion, the hard work, and the community spirit that goes into the work here has been really inspiring for me, so thank you very much.

And what a great way to wrap up a visit to Atlantic Canada—in the heart of a community that is home to a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Domaine de Grand Pré is truly a national—and international—treasure.

And I feel very privileged to be here today.

While I’ve been traveling through Atlantic Canada, I have been talking about the importance of industries that our supply chains depend on—industries like trucking, industries like shipping and our ports.

But I am here today because I really understand how important businesses like this one—small entrepreneurial family-run rural businesses—are to the Canadian economy.

Grand Pré and other wineries like this one across Canada are real drivers of tourism. They create great well-paying local jobs in communities like this one.

And that’s why, in June our government announced a $166 million investment in Canada’s wine sector.

This new Wine Sector Support Program will offer support to wineries to help them stay innovative and competitive for years to come.

And I want to remind everyone the application deadline for the first year of the program is August 12th, so please, don’t miss the deadline, get your applications in! We are keen to support wineries across the country.

Canada is home to some of the best wineries and grape growers in the world.

And our government wants to be sure that our wine sector can continue to thrive.

Mr. Stutz has spoken about interprovincial trade, and how much this winery in the Annapolis Valley could benefit from the lifting of all the barriers to interprovincial trade. I want to say to all Canadians who are listening that the federal government 100 per cent supports creating truly free trade across our amazing country.

As Finance Minister I am always thinking: how can we help our economy to grow? How can we create more great jobs? How can we make the cost of living more affordable?

If tomorrow we lifted all barriers to trade between Canadians, if we harmonized all of our regulatory requirements—that would be such a boost to our economy.

And it would help us bring down inflation, too.

The Canadian economy is growing pretty robustly. Our industries, our farms, our tourism sector—they are recovering from the COVID pandemic and the COVID recession.

But I also recognize that inflation is making life more expensive for families here in Kings County—just as it is for people across the country and around the world.

We all know that inflation is a global phenomenon. It’s driven by Vladimir Putin’s illegal invasion of Ukraine, by China’s COVID-zero policies, and by the snarled supply chains that are affecting people and businesses around the world.

I know that Canadians are feeling it when they go to buy their groceries. I know that they’re feeling it when they go to fill up their cars or trucks with gas.

So, for the Canadians who need it most, our government has an Affordability Plan.

This plan will help directly with the rising cost of living.

Our government’s Affordability Plan includes:

  • An enhanced Canada Workers Benefit that will put up to 2,400 more dollars into the pockets of low‑income families;
  • Child care fees, which are being cut by an average of 50 per cent across the country this year. If you have a little kid in daycare, this is making a big difference;
  • A 10 per cent increase in Old Age Security for seniors 75 and over. And that kicked in last month just when our seniors needed it;
  • Dental care for Canadians with income under $90,000 per year, beginning with children under 12 and that support is going to go to these families, to those kids starting this year.
  • A $500 payment to help people who rent and who are struggling with the cost of housing. And again, that support is going to arrive this year. And I know that finding affordable rentals is a challenge in rural communities like this one, so I am really glad that we are going to be able to provide that extra support now;
  • And then, of course, our main support programs—including the Canada Child Benefit, the GST Credit, the Canada Pension Plan, Old Age Security, and the GIS—the Guaranteed Income Supplement—are indexed to inflation and will be increasing.

For a family here in Kings County, with an income of $45,000 and a child in daycare, this Affordability Plan could mean roughly an additional $7,300 on top of existing benefits this fiscal year.

A senior with a disability, living in Halifax, could benefit from over $2,500 more this year than she received last year.

And, it’s really important to remember that these measures are not pouring unnecessary fuel on the flames of inflation.

They are accounted for in our AAA‑rated fiscal framework.

And they were accounted for in the fiscally responsible Budget we tabled in April—one in which we committed to a responsible $9 billion reduction in government spending.

But for the Canadians who need this support the most—the most vulnerable Canadians among us—these measures represent new money that they did not receive last year, and they will make life more affordable at exactly the right time.

This is a difficult time for countries around the world, and it is undoubtedly a challenging time for Canadians.

But, thanks to amazing places like Domaine Grand Pré and the wonderful entrepreneurial people who work here, there is absolutely no better country in the world than Canada to navigate the challenges we face.

Thank you very much.

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